Two players central to the Buffalo Bills’ 2017 season have undergone surgery.
The team announced Friday afternoon that wide receiver Sammy Watkins has undergone a second surgery on his left foot after consultation with specialist Dr. Robert Anderson. Defensive lineman Shaq Lawson, meanwhile, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery after the season.
Watkins said after the season finale against the New York Jets that he was leaning toward not having another procedure, but that changed after meetings between Watkins, Anderson and the Bills' medical staff.
Watkins, the fourth overall draft choice in 2014, battled through the foot injury all season. He played only eight games, catching 28 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns, all career lows.
He spoke after the New Year's Day game against the Jets about what a full offseason would mean.
"That is definitely what I’m happy about," he said. "I can go to the facility and work on the things I need. Honestly, for the last three years, I’ve just been getting by with talent and the coaches putting me in situations, but now I get to focus on having a legit offseason. I can train with the top receivers, things like that is what I’m looking forward to.
"Getting on that track, being in track shape … so when it’s fourth quarter, I can keep pushing through. Building my body up to take blows. Stuff like that, I didn’t have the time to do that, so I was just always either getting popped up or hurt, injured here, never had an offseason. I think that’s one of the biggest things. You’ve got to have a nice offseason and get as much work in as you can."
Watkins is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, the team said in its press release.
Lawson is expected to be ready for all offseason activities, according to the team. The Clemson product had shoulder surgery in May that caused him to miss the first six games of his rookie season.
"Dealing with that -- coming back trying to get back to the flow of playing football and not really having all the reps you had with OTAs and practice and things like that – made the year start off kind of slow," he said as the Bills cleaned out their lockers.
Lawson finished his rookie season with 13 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble.
"It’s not how I expected it would turn out with the injury and stuff,” he said at the end of the season. “I thought I was just going to come back to be that guy who was drafted” in the first round “and it didn’t end that way.”
“My plan was to be rookie of the year and make it to the playoffs but it ain’t go that way. So next year we’ll see how it goes. The goal is to make the playoffs and be the dominant player I was who they drafted.”