Lawyer Milloy missed the first five games last season with a broken forearm, so the Buffalo Bills safety refused to leave the game against Tampa Bay after breaking his right thumb on the third play. He might not have a choice Sunday.
Milloy could be sidelined against the Atlanta Falcons after undergoing surgery this week on his thumb. He said he cried in the locker room at halftime upon hearing he needed the operation, but he continued playing after the Bills' medical staff stabilized his thumb with tape.
"Whenever you have something taken away from you that you value so much, it hurts," Milloy said Thursday. "When I found out it was broken and the doctors said surgery, I broke down because of how hard I worked to get ready for this season. I was having a pretty good start. It was like, 'Why me?' That's when I decided to just play ball the rest of that game and worry about the consequences later."
Milloy didn't miss a snap against the Bucs and showed no signs the injury bothered him. In fact, he sacked quarterback Brian Griese on the next series and tied Terrence McGee and Takeo Spikes with a team-high 10 tackles. But with 14 games remaining, the Bills might not want to risk further injury this week.
Milloy missed practice Wednesday and Thursday while waiting for the pain to subside. He was listed as questionable Thursday. If Milloy is unavailable, Bills coach Mike Mularkey said Rashad Baker and Coy Wire would share time at strong safety.
"I'm not intending on missing any games, but I said that last year," Milloy said. "It's easy for me to say I'm not going to miss any time, but I have to be smart about it. They taped it up very well during the game, but I have had surgery. Your body reacts different ways to surgery."
Right tackle Mike Williams (ankle) did not practice Thursday. Linebacker London Fletcher (hamstring) and tight end Tim Euhus (shoulder) saw limited action. All three were questionable for Sunday. Roscoe Parrish (wrist) is out.
Falcons quarterback Michael Vick (hamstring) practiced Thursday and was upgraded to probable for Sunday's game. Cornerback Allen Rossum (hamstring), receiver Dez White (hamstring), and defensive end Brady Smith (quadriceps) did not practice and were questionable.
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Bills quarterback J.P. Losman knows players handle criticism differently, but he made it clear to Mularkey and his assistant coaches that he doesn't want to be coddled when he makes mistakes. Give it to him straight, simple and preferably loud.
"I play better when people are yelling at me," Losman said. "It's part of being a leader. I'm telling the coaches, 'Coach me hard-nosed. Let me know.' I want the pressure on me. I play better when the stakes are higher. I play better against better teams, usually."
Losman was responding to questions about getting pulled for backup Kelly Holcomb last week against Tampa Bay after a slow start. Losman was benched for one series in the fourth quarter against the Buccaneers after failing to move the offense. He completed just 12 of 29 passes for 113 yards.
"I don't like coaches to sugarcoat anything," he said. "I don't like you to say, 'It wasn't that bad of a play, J.P.' Tell me straight up, 'That was horrible.' I'm not a shaky guy. I want to know exactly what the problem is. Let's fix it."
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Defenses spend all week preparing for Vick and running back Warrick Dunn, but Bills safety Troy Vincent said Buffalo should look out for tight end Alge Crumpler. Vincent believes Crumpler often gets lost in the Falcons' arsenal.
Crumpler averaged 16.1 yards per reception last season to lead NFL tight ends.
"Great hands," Vincent said. "He's a guy that's been overlooked for many, many years."
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Falcons coach Jim Mora on former Bills receiver Peerless Price, who signed a seven-year contract worth $42 million in 2003 and was cut this year during camp:
"When he was playing with Buffalo, he was playing with Drew Bledsoe. He had (Eric) Moulds with him. He wasn't the No. 1 guy. He ran a lot of little option routes in the slot. When he came here, it was a different style of offense. It just didn't fit. . . . We weren't getting what we thought we were going to get. That's not necessarily Peerless' fault. It's probably the organization's fault."
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The NFL has set kickoff times for the New Orleans Saints' remaining home games. The Bills will play the Saints at 1 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Alamodome in San Antonio.