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BILLS' ASSISTANT COACH PITTS SIDELINED AFTER CANCER SURGERY

Buffalo Bills assistant head coach/running backs coach Elijah Pitts could miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery last week for the removal of a malignancy from his abdomen.

The Bills said Friday that Pitts, 59, remains in Buffalo General Hospital, under the care of Dr. Owen Bossman, and has begun chemotherapy for an undetermined period.

"Coach Pitts will require prolonged therapy, and it is uncertain whether he will be able to return to the team this season," the Bills said in a statement released by their media relations department.

Offensive coordinator Dan Henning and tight ends coach Don Lawrence will continue to assume Pitts' duties.

Meanwhile, the Bills' injury list grew a little longer and a little bleaker as the team finalized preparations for Sunday's AFC East showdown against the New England Patriots.

Cornerback Jeff Burris, added to the list Friday, was declared out for the game with a hamstring injury.

Burris was originally injured against Kansas City on Sept. 14 and sat out the Sept. 21 game against Indianapolis.

Marlon Kerner will take Burris' place at left cornerback. With Steve Tasker also out with a hamstring injury, the Bills will have kickoff returner Eric Moulds also handle punts. Moulds has never returned a punt in a regular-season game.

The Bills also announced that fullback/special teams ace Tim Tindale, who had been questionable, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Friday and will be sidelined three to four weeks.

That leaves the Bills with only three healthy running backs -- Thurman Thomas, Antowain Smith and Darick Holmes, who is expected to fill Tindale's fullback role.

Meanwhile, defensive end Bruce Smith, who had been held out of practice with sore knees, took part in Friday's workout.

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