The Buffalo Bills don't know for sure who will be throwing the ball in their Sept. 10 season-opener against the New York Jets.
They're at least slightly more confident in knowing who will be available to make catches.
Coach Sean McDermott said Tuesday the Bills are "still cautiously optimistic" that wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who hasn't played or fully practiced since suffering a chip fracture of his sternum in his first workout with the team on Aug. 13, will be ready to play in the opener.
"In saying that, he's not full-go yet, he's not full-contact yet," McDermott said. "That said, we like the direction he's going. I think Jordan's had the right mindset, the right approach. I love his energy and he's developing good rapport with the quarterbacks."
Matthews, who joined the Bills in the trade that sent cornerback Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles, is less cautious about his status for the opener. He fully expects to play, while wearing a special shirt under his jersey that has extra chest padding that he said already protected him well while "catching a bullet" from Tyrod Taylor.
"(Tuesday's) practice, I probably would have got the same amount of (minimal) volume (of work), because the ones weren't going to do a lot," Matthews said. "We're getting all the guys that are going for that (preseason game (against Detroit) Thursday ready. ... This actually is a time where, me as a starter, we would have some off, some time to rest our bodies, regardless.
"So, going into this practice and going into a little bit last week, I was already pretty much doing everything that the coaches have asked me to do. It was just, their biggest thing was, 'Hey, be careful going to the ground.' That's it."
Matthews said he isn't feeling much pain, other than when he wakes up after a night's sleep.
"My range of motion, for the most part, has come completely back," he said. "I've never had an injury like this before and what's crazy is I don't think a lot of athletes have. (The Bills') trainers said it's a weird injury. (One of them) said he'd only seen it like twice in all his years of being a trainer. He said the other time was when a hockey player took a hockey stick to the chest.
"It's definitely a unique injury, but if you're going to sustain any kind of injury in the preseason, I think, as much as it hurt, this is the type you want to have because it's not arms, it's not anything that's going to hurt me catching, it's not anything that's going to hurt me running. It's just something that you just have to manage the pain with."
Meanwhile, two of the four quarterbacks on the team, Taylor and third-stringer T.J. Yates, remain in concussion protocol. That left rookie Nate Peterman and newly signed Keith Wenning as the only available QBs for Tuesday's practice.
Veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams missed his second consecutive workout with what the team said was "personal reasons," which McDermott also cited in excusing Williams for Sunday's session.
Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus returned to practice Tuesday after being sidelined with a hip issue.