If the Buffalo Bills had to play a game at Rich Stadium this weekend, they would be hard-pressed to get the artificial surface, damaged by fans after last Sunday's victory over Miami, ready for use.
Bills General Manager Bill Polian said the team would need every bit of the two open weeks-plus between now and its second-round playoff game to handle repairs made necessary by the thousands of fans who stormed onto the field. In some cases, knives were used to cut away pieces of the turf for souvenirs.
Polian said the biggest concern was eliminating any uneven places in the surface so that it would be as safe as possible for players.
"We'll get it fixed in time for the playoffs, but (Bills director of stadium operations) Steve Champlin and his people are going to have to work night and day to get it ready," Polian said. "It's a lot of work."
The Bills held their second consecutive workout in their practice bubble Thursday.
Offensive guard John Davis, listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Washington with knee and back injuries, and defensive end Bruce Smith, listed as probable with a sore knee, didn't participate.
Quarterback Jim Kelly continues to make strong progress in recovering from his knee injury, and is on target to play in the Bills' first playoff game.
He should begin practicing in about a week.
Wide receiver Vernon Turner, whom the Bills plan to activate from their practice squad this week, could do much worse than have a spot on a Super Bowl contender. He could be playing for the Denver Broncos.
Last spring, Turner signed with the Broncos as a rookie free agent from Carson-Newman College. After struggling to convert from running back, his position in college, to wide receiver, he was released in September when the Broncos reduced their roster to the final 47-man limit.
Turner remained out of football until Oct. 5, when the Bills signed him to their practice squad. Bills assistant general manager Bob Ferguson was impressed with Turner's "jet-quickness" as a return man during the preseason.
"But he's very green as a receiver," Ferguson said. Which is why Turner, filling the roster gap created by Don Beebe's placement on the injured reserve list with a broken leg, will be the fifth and final man at the position for the Bills. Al Edwards is replacing Beebe as the No. 3 man, and Steve Tasker would be the first to take over should anyone else be sidelined.
Free safety Mark Kelso, sidelined since Oct. 7 with a fractured and dislocated ankle, should, once and for all, see playing time Sunday. Head coach Marv Levy said John Hagy would remain the starter at free safety, but that Kelso, active but not used in the last two games, was healthy enough to see action.
The Bills have expressed interest in acquiring former New York Giants wide receiver Lionel Manuel as a free agent for next season, and would consider signing him for the playoffs should rkers busy
they be hit with another injury at wide receiver.
A seventh-year veteran, Manuel had been the Giants' third receiver before being released Dec. 18 for what many believe was a personality clash with head coach Bill Parcells.
Prior to this season, he had been a starter for the Giants, catching 1,029 yards in passes in 1988.Cannot distribute vertically