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Butler may be out a while; Schouman optimistic on injury

The Buffalo Bills may have suffered at least one serious injury in Sunday's home-opening win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Starting right tackle Brad Butler went down with a right knee injury late in the second quarter and didn't return. Starting tight end Derek Schouman suffered a right knee injury as well late in the third quarter.

Also knocked out of the game in the first half were starting cornerback Leodis McKelvin with an ankle problem and rookie backup tight end Shawn Nelson with a sprained shoulder.

Coach Dick Jauron did not have an update on the injured players after the Bills' 33-20 victory.

"They're all going to need a little time to evaluate," Jauron said. "I never think the worst. We'll just wait and see what happens."

Schouman, who was carted off the field, was walking without a noticeable limp in the locker room. He expressed some optimism about his injury, saying the initial examination on his knee did not reveal any torn ligaments, a minor miracle considering how his leg stuck in the turf and then bent underneath him as he got tackled by Buccaneers safety Will Allen. It is still possible that Schouman's knee is sprained, which would sideline him for a few weeks.

McKelvin and Nelson did not show any ill effects of their injuries as they left the stadium.

Butler might not be so lucky, however.

He was in pass protection when Tampa Bay defensive end Stylez White fell and rolled into the back of Butler's legs. He was barely able to put weight on his right leg as he was helped off the field by team trainers.

Butler was making his second career start at right tackle after starting at right guard the last two seasons. He was replaced in the second half by journeyman Jonathan Scott, who was acquired by the Bills late last season.

Jauron liked what he saw from Scott.

"Watching him off and on, obviously I can't watch him every play, I thought he did a nice job," Jauron said.

With Schouman and Nelson out, the Bills had to finish the game with one tight end -- Derek Fine -- on the active roster. If Schouman, Nelson or both are out for a while, the Bills will likely call up Jonathan Stupar from the practice squad again.

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Fans had a chance to celebrate the Buffalo Bills' 50-year history as members of the all-time team were introduced at halftime. The team was chosen by fans in an online vote.

Taking their bows were four Pro Football Hall of Famers -- former coach Marv Levy, running back Thurman Thomas and offensive guards Billy Shaw and Joe DeLamielleure. Two other Hall of Famers -- quarterback Jim Kelly and defensive end Bruce Smith -- were unable to attend.

Other offensive players in attendance were wide receivers Andre Reed and Eric Moulds, tight end Pete Metzelaars, center Kent Hull and guards Jim Ritcher and Ruben Brown and place-kicker Steve Christie.

The defense was represented by nose tackle Fred Smerlas, linebackers Mike Stratton, Darryl Talley, Cornelius Bennett and Shane Conlan, cornerback Butch Byrd, safeties George Saimes and Henry Jones and punter Brian Moorman.

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Wide receiver Lee Evans' 32-yard touchdown in the first quarter made him the fifth player in Bills history with 300 career receptions.

Evans joins Andre Reed (941), Eric Moulds (675), Thurman Thomas (456) and Pete Metzelaars (302) in the 300 club.

Evans' touchdown reception was the 33rd of his career. Only Reed (86), Moulds (48), Elbert Dubenion (35) and Bob Chandler (34) have more on the Bills' all-time list.

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The Bills' inactives were wide receivers Steve Johnson and Justin Jenkins, cornerbacks Ellis Lankster and Drayton Florence, linebacker Paul Posluszny, offensive tackle Kirk Chambers and defensive end Chris Ellis. Florence missed his second straight game with a sprained knee. Posluszny was out with a broken arm.

e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

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