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Nelson's status in question

David Nelson says he might be ready to play against the New York Jets, but Bills coach Chan Gailey said that would take "a true miracle" for the rookie receiver to recover by game time.

Nelson suffered a rib injury during the first half of Sunday's loss against New England and didn't return. Nelson fully extended to make a catch and was hit in the rib cage by a helmet.

During his postgame news conference, Gailey said Nelson would miss the Jets game.

"I'm glad he's feeling better, but I don't think that status is going to change," Gailey said on Monday. "[The rib] isn't broken, but it's bad enough that he'll have a hard time playing this week. It would take a true miracle for him to get out there this week."

Nelson, however, said he's still being evaluated and an official prognosis hasn't been determined.

"I don't think that's set in stone yet," Nelson said about missing Sunday's game. "We kind of came back [Monday] and re-evaluated some things and I think the process now is heavy treatment, try and see where it goes and take it day-by-day. I hate missing games and I hate sitting out. I've never been injured and I don't like the sitting out part of it."

Nelson said he wanted to re-enter the game during the second half but wasn't cleared by team trainers.

"They felt it would be better to take it easy and get ready for this week," Nelson said.

Gailey ruled out placing Nelson on season-ending injured reserve, although he indicated he will add another receiver to the active roster. The Bills currently have two wide receivers on the practice squad in Paul Hubbard and Bobby Williams.

"We'll probably get another receiver anticipating [Nelson] won't play," Gailey said.

Meanwhile Gailey said there's a chance center Geoff Hangartner (knee) could play, although he remained cautious. Hangartner has missed the last three games with a knee injury and second-year guard Eric Wood has started in his place.

"We're trying to be smart about that," Gailey said. "[It's] the last game and we don't want to risk it maybe but we'll see how it goes this week. He's got a great chance to be active this week and he certainly gives us the best chance to win, but exposing him to a whole ball game, I'm not sure about that."

Also, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said he's sore but that's been the case for about a month. Gailey said Fitzpatrick could miss Wednesday's practice but anticipates the veteran returning on Thursday. Receiver Donald Jones could miss Wednesday practice and return by Thursday. Jones left Sunday's game with what appeared to be a head injury.

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Running back Fred Jackson needs 108 yards on Sunday to reach the 1,000-yard mark in back-to-back seasons.

Jackson, who rushed for 1,062 yards in 2009, has 892 in 12 starts this season. Wood and the rest of the offensive linemen started reminding Jackson he could hit the plateau a few weeks ago.

"It's something we're aware of and we have to have a big game as a team," Jackson said. "It can be something we can celebrate as a team if we do to go with the W as well."

Gailey said while he cares about the players and their individual objectives, the focus should be on winning the game.

"I have to keep in mind that winning the game is the No. 1 focus," Gailey said. "If the game's won and he needs four more yards are we going to make sure he gets that? I hope somebody will let me know and, yes, we'll get him four more yards."

Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas has the most 1,000-yards seasons in franchise history with eight followed by O.J. Simpson (five) and Joe Cribbs (three). Jackson will try to join a group who finished with two 1,000-yard seasons that includes Travis Henry (2002-03), Willie McGahee (2004-05) and Marshawn Lynch (2007-08).

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Bills linebacker Pierre Woods spent his first four NFL seasons in New England (2006-09), so he admitted it was a little strange being on the opposite sideline Sunday. Because he was around the Patriots for that period, he knows why they have been so successful over the past decade.

"It's always the little things," Woods said. "I looked at it from both sides, and it's not night and day. The guys in our locker room bust our butts for 60 minutes. But at the same time, the attention to detail is a key for us. In order for us to reach the caliber of the New England Patriots we have to put more time and effort in."

e-mail: rmckissic@buffnews.com

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