The Buffalo Bills already had depth problems on the offensive line. But if two key players don't get well soon, the team could be perilously thin at the position going into Sunday's home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Starting tackles Jonas Jennings and John Fina were among the walking wounded following the Bills' disastrous 42-26 loss at Indianapolis on Sunday.
Jennings has a pulled hip flexor muscle that caused him to miss the second half. Fina played the entire game after suffering a bruised quadriceps but was struggling to walk after. He was still laboring as he left the locker room Monday.
Meanwhile, coach Gregg Williams said rookie middle linebacker Brandon Spoon is out at least one week with a dislocated elbow. The situation is less definitive on wide receiver Eric Moulds, who has a sprained shoulder and bruised sternum.
Williams is holding out hope that Moulds will play Sunday, but he won't know for sure until the team gathers for practice Wednesday.
Quarterback Rob Johnson (strained hip muscle) and center Bill Conaty (dislocated finger) also got hurt against the Colts but are not expected to miss any practice time.
The main concern is Jennings and Fina. While an official status of injured players isn't released until Wednesday, Williams said the early evaluation has Jennings as doubtful and Fina as questionable.
All the injuries could mean serious lineup reshuffling this week.
"That's one of the things we set aside (Monday night) to do a serious discussion staff-wise on depth and matchups at all the positions," Williams said. "We're going to have to talk about flipping some combinations."
Losing one or both of their starting tackles would be a huge blow to the Bills.
Fina has been one of the most durable players in the league at his position, missing just six games since 1993. He drew criticism from General Manager Tom Donahoe for his poor performance against the New Orleans Saints, but he seemed to bounce back with a better showing against the Colts.
That Fina is the Bills' only experienced tackle and responsible for protecting Johnson's blind side makes a quick recovery more important.
Jennings has quickly developed as a strong blocker. His physical strength, athletic ability and mean streak have been assets, particularly in the running game.
Jennings is optimistic he can return this week but knows he can't rush it. His injury limits his ability to fire off the line of scrimmage, so he can't get on the field unless he's close to 100 percent.
"It's a day-to-day thing," he said. "There's nothing to do about it but let it heal."
Kris Farris will be counted on if Jennings or Fina can't play.
"He's got to be ready to go," Williams said. "Kris has got to step up."
Farris, signed as a free agent in the offseason, was penciled in as the starter at right tackle going into training camp. But his rust from not playing the last two seasons because of a foot injury showed. While he struggled, Jennings flourished and won the job.
Farris replaced Jennings late in the second quarter against the Colts but didn't make much of an impact. He was charged with a false start and a holding penalty, but he feels his play was more of a result of inactivity than inability.
"If I get thrown in there as a starter, I'll get the whole week to work with the first group," Farris said. "I feel good about it. I think I've been coming along. Some of the mistakes I made last week were just due to a lack of reps because we had to get the starters ready. I was pretty pleased for my first game, but I've got a long way to go."
So do the Bills, who can't seem to shake the injury bug. Despite the health problems, Williams said the team must move forward.
"All across the league, people get hurt," he said. "You got to play. The next guy's got to step up and play. Just like when Brandon stepped up and played when Sam (Cowart) got hurt and Kenyatta (Wright) steps up as well. Everybody has to step up and do his part. That's a part of this game."