Sammy Watkins Injury: Updates on Bills Star's Recovery from Foot Surgery

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) dives for a sideline catch during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)
Bill Wippert/Associated Press

The Buffalo Bills announced on May 16 that wide receiver Sammy Watkins had broken his foot and undergone surgery. The wideout had the procedure in April.

The Bills placed him on the physically unable to perform list on July 29 to open up camp, but he was activated on Aug. 8 and is ready to return to the field.

Continue for updates.

Watkins to Play vs. Redskins

Friday, Aug. 26

Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com reported Watkins is expected to make his preseason debut against Washington.

On Tuesday, Bills head coach Rex Ryan told reporters that Watkins was "scheduled to play" against the Redskins but noted he won't play for much of the game.

Watkins Comments on Recovery

Tuesday, Aug. 2

Watkins told ESPN.com's Stephania Bell he could return to practice as soon as next week, depending on how he feels. 

"With this injury, it's more mental than physical," Watkins said, per Matthew Fairburn of NewYorkUpstate.com. "There's going to be good days and bad days, but I feel great."

On July 25, Watkins said he was sprinting and moving "100 percent" and was "prepared to do everything on the side by myself if I need to,” per Chris Brown of the team's official website (via Sal Capaccio of WGR 550).

Watkins spoke with reporters at his football camp on July 19, saying was "feeling great" but wasn't sure when he'd return to practice at training camp.

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On June 26, Mike Rodak of ESPN provided Watkins' comments on his recovery and potential return:

Mike Rodak @mikerodak

Bills WR Sammy Watkins backed off slightly Saturday from his recent prediction that he... https://t.co/rHRCvR613T https://t.co/1CX1Mcb9wz

"For training camp, I think I’ll definitely be available," Watkins said on June 19, per Mike Hetherington of TSN. "I might sit out two or three days. It’s all about how I feel within those days. The goal is to come back and be prepared for training camp."

Watkins told Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News on June 1 that the walking boot on his left foot would hopefully come off June 2. He also said he wasn't sure what caused the stress fracture.

Watkins went on to provide detail on his recovery timetable, per Fairburn:

Honestly I can't tell you (the timetable). This is an injury where you have to be very careful. Only thing I can do is listen to the staff and take it slow and just really protect myself and they're going to protect me also. We're just going to take the course with the injury. Nobody knows what timetable or when I'm going to be back.

Latest on Watkins' Recovery

Friday, July 8 

Watkins posted an Instagram video of himself running prior to training camp.

Watkins Attends Camp

Tuesday, June 14

Carucci noted on Tuesday that although Watkins only observed practice, he did step onto the practice field without his protective walking boot.

Mark Ludwiczak of Bills Digest noted on May 24 that "Watkins [was] spotted on crutches with a boot on his left foot" at OTAs. 

Whaley Comments on Watkins' Timeline for Return

Tuesday, May 24

The Bills announced on May 16 that Watkins had surgery "but is not expected to miss any regular-season time." On Tuesday, Bills general manager Doug Whaley told reporters that he "doesn't anticipate [Watkins] missing any time in the regular season, but [the] Bills do not have a target for his return set."

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Watkins is "expected to miss [the] preseason."

Watkins Looking to Remain Healthy After 2015 Injuries

Watkins was overshadowed by a number of other rookie receivers—including Odell Beckham Jr., Kelvin Benjamin and Mike Evans—in his first season. His 65 receptions and 982 yards ranked sixth and fourth, respectively, among rookies in 2014.

Watkins looks to be the kind of elite wide receiver the Bills have lacked since Eric Moulds' departure—unless you want to count Lee Evans or Stevie Johnson. Buffalo traded up to draft Watkins, and he has provided a fair return.

His sophomore campaign didn't quite go according to plan, though. First, a glute injury slowed him in the preseason, and then calf and ankle issues forced him to miss three of four games in October.

He returned for good in Week 9 and caught eight passes for 168 yards and a touchdown, but a day later, Rodak reported Watkins was "walking with a slight but noticeable limp."

Watkins' health issues put a slight damper on an otherwise encouraging season in which he registered 60 receptions, 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns.

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