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Lynch's injury opens the door for rookie Wright

Unknown running backs have made a big impact in the NFL this season.

Maybe Buffalo Bills rookie Dwayne Wright can continue the trend.

Wright is likely to get a lot of action for the Bills on Sunday against the New England Patriots because Marshawn Lynch is not likely to play.

Lynch suffered a sprained ankle in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's win at Miami and he was not at practice Wednesday.

Bills coach Dick Jauron said he was not optimistic Lynch would face the Pats.

"It's very sore," Jauron said of Lynch's ankle. "It's very sore right now, and I would say we're not overly optimistic. But we'll just kind of go through the week and see what happens. But we're not optimistic about it."

Jauron added that it's possible Lynch's injury could keep him out of the lineup for more than a week. Jauron would not say if Lynch had what is called a "high-ankle sprain," which often keeps players out of action for a month. However, the coach did say Lynch's injury is worse than a routine sprain.

"The trainers use the term a basketball sprain," Jauron said. "It's not a basketball sprain, unfortunately. It's more severe than that. . . . We've all seen people heal real fast, particularly when they're that young. He is a little bit different. So we'll hope and see what happens."

Wright, the Bills' fourth-round draft choice out of Fresno State, has seen spot duty this year. He has carried 25 times for 76 yards. Veteran Anthony Thomas has carried 10 times for 12 yards.

Jauron was not saying how those two would split carries. It's likely Wright would see much of the work on first and second downs, and Thomas would see most of the work in obvious passing situations.

Unheralded backs have been popping up every week in the NFL. Of last weekend's top five rushers, four were undrafted -- Miami's Jesse Chatman, Green Bay's Ryan Grant, Denver's Selvin Young and Pittsburgh's Willie Parker.

Wright is a 5-foot-11, 228-pounder.

"I have to pick up the flag and just carry it," Wright said. "Marshawn went down and I was drafted for that purpose -- to come in and give him a blow here and there. Now it's my turn so I'm going to have to pound the defense and help Anthony out and help the team."

Said Jauron on Wright: "He's tough. He's got good balance. He's got good feet to the hole and through the hole. He's hard to tackle because he's a big man. He's not a tall back. He and Marshawn are about the same height. Of course Dwayne is about 15-20 pounds heavier. He's a different type of back. He's a tough runner. He's learning how to run. He needs to keep his pads down all the time. If he does that he's a tough guy to bring down."

e-mail: mgaughan@buffnews.com

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