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Buffalo Bills star linebacker Chris Spielman will miss this week's game against Miami and might be out for an extended period due to a neck injury.

Bills coach Marv Levy said he got a preliminary report on Spielman's injury late Monday and further tests are being conducted to determine the extent of the injury.

"He may have a herniated disk up there (in the neck area)," Levy said today.

If it is a herniated disk in the neck, it could be a long-term injury.

"We haven't talked about (him missing) this week so much as conducting tests to determine the actual extent of it," Levy said.

Spielman, 32, shares the team lead in tackles; he played all of Sunday's game against Denver and made 10 tackles.

His backup is second-year veteran John Holecek, who has seen minimal action on defense this year. He missed the Denver game with an ankle injury but is expected back to practice Wednesday.

A disk is a round, plate-like cartilage between the vertebrae.

The Bills have signed Mark Maddox, a former starter who was not re-signed last summer, to provide depth at linebacker.
Levy on Monday defended the reverse-option play call made in overtime of the loss to Denver.

"When it doesn't work, you always should have done the other thing," Levy conceded.

But Levy said there was valid rationale behind the call.

Andre Reed took a reverse handoff on the play and was about to try to throw, but Denver's Alfred Williams rushed upfield and forced him to fumble. The Bills lost 20 yards on the play, which helped set up Denver's winning field goal.

"The previous times we ran the reverse, they did drop the receiver downfield," he said, referring to defensive backs coming up to play the run and leaving the Bills' receiver open. "And the receiver was dropped this time and was open.

"And we had run several plays where the backside (defensive) end, Alfred Williams, had pursued down the line of scrimmage, which would have given us the opportunity to get Andre out there (to make the pass).

"We had primarily run the ball to that point (in the drive)," Levy said. "But you need a big play along the way. You're not going to grind it all the way down the field. . . . I don't fault the call at all. . . . We rolled the dice and we made the call."
Linebacker Damien Covington set a team record for tackles in one game with 24 against Denver. He had been credited with 22 tackles, 16 solos, after the game. The revised total was made official Monday.

Covington had 20 solo stops. The Bills' tackle records go back to 1982. Spielman had the previous hight with 21 tackles in a game last year.
Steve Christie's 55-yard field goal at the end of regulation was the second-longest in team history.

Christie holds the record of 59 yards, set in 1993 against Miami. That one is tied for fourth longest in NFL history.
Sunday's home game against Miami is sold out. However, the Bills may get some tickets returned from Miami on Wednesday or Thursday. There are 25,000 tickets left for the New England game Nov. 9.
Defensive end Phil Hansen suffered a badly sprained wrist and linebacker Dan Brandenburg had a concussion Sunday. Other mild injuries were suffered by linebacker Marlo Perry (hamstring) and special teamer Mark Pike (quadriceps).

Terrell Davis' 42 carries were the fourth most in a single game ever. The most was 45 by Jamie Morris of Washington in 1988. . . . His 207 yards broke the record of 192 against the Bills, set by the Jets' Freeman McNeil in 1985.

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