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McKelvin suffers broken leg Whitner undergoes surgery on thumb

At the rate this is going, Buffalo Bills trainer Bud Carpenter might need to put in for overtime.

A team that has been decimated by injuries in the first month of the season saw another starter go on the shelf Monday with the announcement that cornerback and kick returner Leodis McKelvin has a broken leg.

There's more: Starting strong safety Donte Whitner was scheduled for surgery Monday afternoon on a thumb injury. Both Whitner and McKelvin were injured in Sunday's 27-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Jauron said Whitner would be evaluated week to week, but would not rule him out for Sunday at Miami. That won't be the case for McKelvin.

"It will be a little longer [than week to week]," Jauron said of a timetable for McKelvin's return. "We'll just have to see how long that will be, but he did fracture a bone in his lower leg."

That bone is the fibula, which runs from just below the knee to the ankle. The fibula is not a weight-bearing bone. Its main function is to provide attachment for muscles. Average recovery time for such an injury is about six weeks.

Drayton Florence is expected to take over for McKelvin, with Ashton Youboty and Reggie Corner also seeing time. Florence made his Bills debut Sunday after missing the first two games with a knee injury.

"A lot of guys have to come in and step up," said cornerback Terrence McGee, the starter opposite Florence. "The last couple years we've had guys falling down left and right with injuries. It's just something you get used to playing football. You go out there and each play could be your last."

McKelvin's injury occurred in the second quarter Sunday. Jauron said it is not related to the fibula injury he suffered in Week Two against Tampa Bay.

"It was one of those freak things," the coach said.

Whitner was hurt in the fourth quarter. Jauron did not indicate whether the thumb was broken, which could be good news. Tight end Derek Fine broke his thumb in preseason last year, and missed nearly two months after surgery.

Starting free safety Bryan Scott was also hurt against the Saints. Scott left just a few plays after Whitner in the fourth quarter. He was scheduled for an MRI Monday afternoon. Rookie Jairus Byrd is expected to start if Whitner can't go, and George Wilson would step into the lineup if Scott is out.

That means there's a chance that the Bills could have three new starters in the secondary against the Dolphins.

"It's hard to say with injuries why they occur, but we certainly have had a rash of them," Jauron said.

Starting middle linebacker Paul Posluszny remains out with a broken arm suffered in Week One against New England.

On the other side of the ball, starting left tackle Demetrius Bell also left Sunday's game with a groin injury. Jauron said the team will have to see how Bell tolerates the week before determining his status for Sunday's game.

Bell's absence would further deplete an offensive line that's already without right tackle Brad Butler, who was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury last week.

e-mail: jskurski@buffnews.com

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