Bills edge Vikings, but lose starting backfield

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Bills edge Vikings, but lose starting backfield

The one-two punch in the Buffalo Bills offensive backfield just got knocked out.

Running back C.J. Spiller is out indefinitely - and could miss the rest of the season - after surgery Monday to repair an injury to his collarbone. And co-starter Fred Jackson revealed during his weekly radio show on Buffalo’s WGR that he could miss up to four weeks with a groin injury.

Both players were hurt about 10 minutes apart in the first half of a 17-16 win over Minnesota on Sunday.

The injuries leave Buffalo (4-3) turning to backups Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown to carry the load for the near future.

The Bills play the New York Jets (1-6) on Sunday before their bye week.

The injuries nearly overshadowed a dramatic victory, in which Kyle Orton capped a 15-play, 80-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins with one second left.

Coach Doug Marrone confirmed Spiller had surgery, but declined to discuss the nature of the injury. As for a timetable, Marrone said he’s waiting for doctors to provide a prognosis before determining how much time Spiller might miss.

Marrone noted “all options are on the table,’’ including placing Spiller on the injured reserve/designated to return list. Under that designation, Spiller wouldn’t be eligible to play until Week 16.

Spiller was hurt after a 53-yard run in the second quarter, when he was tripped up from behind and fell hard on his left shoulder along the left sideline. He was carefully loaded into a cart and was in tears while driven off.

The injury has the potential of ending Spiller’s tenure in Buffalo. The Bills 2010 first-round draft pick is completing the final year of his contract, making him eligible to become a free agent this offseason.

Jackson was already in the locker room when Spiller was carted in.

“I didn’t say anything to him. I just kind of gave him a big hug, put my arm around him and told him I was there for him,’’ Jackson said.

Jackson was hurt in the first quarter, when he felt something pop upon taking a handoff on a third-and-one play. He took a few steps before falling and then immediately grabbed the inside of his left leg.

Jackson said doctors informed him the pop was a muscle being pulled about a centimeter off the bone.

“It’s typically a four-week injury, but we’ll try to do some things to get it sped up,’’ Jackson said. “Hopefully I can get back a lot sooner than that.’’

Marrone was not pleased with Jackson going public with his injury and wouldn’t say whether the four-week prognosis is accurate.

Either way, Buffalo’s running-back rotation is going to have an altogether new look.

Dixon, an offseason free-agent addition, is expected to get additional playing time after he had 13 carries for 51 yards against Minnesota. Brown, acquired in a trade with Philadelphia in May, will finally get a chance to play after being listed as inactive through the first seven games.

The Bills also have fullback Frank Summers. AP
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