It looks like the Buffalo Bills will be without rookie running back Marshawn Lynch for a second straight game.
Coach Dick Jauron finally confirmed that Lynch has a high left ankle sprain. That injury sidelined linebacker Keith Ellison for the first four games of this season and put cornerback Ashton Youboty on the shelf for five games. It's not known if Lynch's sprain is as severe.
Lynch wasn't in attendance during the first 15 minutes of practice Wednesday, when members of the media were present, though he was spotted in the training room.
While Jauron hasn't completely ruled out Lynch for Sunday's contest at Jacksonville, he indicated Lynch's chances of playing are doubtful.
"He wants to play. He still thinks he should have played last week," Jauron said. "He's just real sore. It's the typical high ankle. We're not particularly optimistic about this week, but once again he came so far so fast last week, further than we thought he would."
Anthony Thomas will likely start again with Dwayne Wright and Fred Jackson serving as backups. The Bills clearly missed Lynch last Sunday against New England. They rushed for only 78 yards on 19 carries in the 56-10 loss.
Jauron is not sure how well the offense will adjust with Lynch out again.
"We've only been one game without him and that game got out of hand fast, so it's hard to tell," Jauron said. "There's no way you're not going to miss a player of his caliber. He's really a good football player and he's just going to get better. I have a lot of confidence in Dwayne and Anthony and Freddie, so we'll see where it goes."
The only other player to miss practice Wednesday was strong safety Donte Whitner, who suffered a blow to the head against New England. Linebacker Angelo Crowell (foot) and cornerbacks Terrence McGee (ankle) and Jerametrius Butler (calf) were limited in practice.
Whitner was hurt during a collision with Patriots running back Kevin Faulk in the second quarter. Faulk left the game with a concussion. Whitner played on, but was affected by the hit later in the contest.
"Donte, at some point in the game, didn't have recollection of things that occurred afterward," Jauron said.
The Bills didn't say Whitner had a concussion, but they erred on the side of caution by holding him out. The team followed the same procedure the last couple of weeks after linebacker John DiGiorgio and tight end Robert Royal had mild concussions.
"Any blow to the head we take very seriously like we did with John and Robert," Jauron said.
Whitner said after practice that he expects to play on Sunday.
The Jaguars will be without two of their best defensive players and perhaps a third.
Jacksonville is already missing Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcus Stroud, who is serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's steroid and related substances policy. Joining him on the sideline is middle linebacker and leading tackler Mike Peterson, who broke his hand in several places during last Sunday's win over San Diego. Coach Jack Del Rio said Peterson will have surgery next week and is out indefinitely.
Meanwhile, Pro Bowl cornerback Rashean Mathis did not practice Wednesday and is questionable with a strained groin. The injury forced him to stay on the sidelines in the second half last week.