ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills’ top receiving threat Sammy Watkins will miss at least eight weeks resting an injury to his surgically repaired left foot after the team placed him on injured reserve Friday.
The move was announced by the Bills a few hours after coach Rex Ryan expressed “major concern” of Watkins potentially missing significant time.
A person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that Watkins won’t require surgery and will instead use the time off to rest the injury. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills have not revealed any details of the injury or Watkins’ rehab process.
The Bills (1-2) had already ruled out Watkins from playing at New England (3-0) on Sunday . Watkins also missed last weekend’s game against Arizona and has been sidelined since a teammate stepped on his foot during a walk-through session last week.
Buffalo’s first-round pick in the 2014 draft missed much of the offseason after having two screws inserted into his foot to repair a stress fracture in April. Watkins has been limited to just six catches for 63 yards in two games.
Watkins was hampered by an assortment of injuries during his first two seasons in Buffalo.
Watkins’ absence is the latest blow to an offense that has gotten off to a sputtering start. Coordinator Greg Roman was fired two weeks into the season and replaced by running backs coach Anthony Lynn.
The Bills responded with a 33-18 win over Arizona last weekend in a game dominated by their running attack and a defense that forced five turnovers and had five sacks.
Buffalo finished with a season-best 208 yards rushing, while quarterback Tyrod Taylor was limited to going 14 of 25 for 119 yards passing.
Buffalo’s 491 yards passing ranks last in the NFL.
The Bills filled Watkins’ spot by claiming receiver Justin Hunter of waivers, a day after he was released by the Miami Dolphins. Hunter failed to make a catch in one game for the Dolphins this season. He spent his previous three seasons in Tennessee, where he had 68 catches for 1,116 yards and eight touchdowns in 35 games, including 13 starts.
Receiver Greg Salas (groin), tackle Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle) and center Patrick Lewis (knee) are also out for Sunday’s game against New England.
Left tackle Cordy Glenn (high ankle sprain) is expected to return after missing the previous two games. Tight end Charles Clay (knee), safety Aaron Williams (ankle) and cornerback Ronald Darby (hamstring) are listed as questionable but expected to play.
AP freelancer Mark Ludwiczak contributed to this report.