Bills rookie WR Sammy Watkins (Ribs) is listed as 'probable' to face the Bears

The Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills released their official injury reports on Friday, in preparation for their 2014 season opener coming up Sunday at Soldier Field.

Let's take a look at the Bears' injury news first...

Chicago Bears' Injury Report

David Fales, QB (Shoulder): OUT; Did Not Practice

Tony Fiammetta, FB (Hamstring): Questionable; Limited Participation In Practice

Chris Conte, S (Concussion): Probable, Full Participation In Practice

Brian de la Puente, C (Knee): Probable; Full Participation In Practice


The main storyline here is in regards to (much-maligned) safety Chris Conte, after Conte suffered a concussion in the Bears' third preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. Conte passed concussion protocol on Thursday, and fully participated in practice on Thursday and Friday.

Conte appears good to go on Sunday, although Marc Trestman plans to ease the safety back into game action, considering Conte also missed training camp and the first two games of preseason following shoulder surgery. Here's what Trestman had to say about the Bears' safety situation on Wednesday:

“We’re going to roll them in,” coach Marc Trestman said Wednesday. “If Chris is up, we’ll rotate the safeties. We’ll rotate them between Ryan, Danny and Chris. Are we set on who’s going to start? No. But I expect all three of them will play and Brock [Vereen] will get some work as well.”
Source: ChicagoBears.Com

The whole "rotating safeties" thing was an eye-opener, but as ESPN Chicago Bears beat writer Michael C. Wright explains, this appears to be a temporary tactic while Chris Conte gets back into game condition; the Bears envision Conte and Ryan Mundy as the eventual starters:

Fullback Tony Fiammetta is listed as 'Questionable' with a hamstring injury, and appears to be the only starting Bears player in danger of missing the game. Quarterback David Fales has already been ruled out with a shoulder injury, but it's unlikely we see Fales on the gameday roster anytime soon anyway (barring an injury to Jay Cutler or Jimmy Clausen, of course).

Now for the Bills' injury news...

Buffalo Bills' Injury Report

Jonathan Meeks, S (Neck): Doubtful; Limited Participation In Practice

Lee Smith, TE (Toe): Doubtful; Did Not Practice

Anthony Dixon, RB (Hamstring); Questionable; Did Not Practice

Stephon Gilmore, CB (Groin): Questionable, Did Not Practice

Randell Johnson, LB (Ankle): Probable; Full Participation In Practice

Brandon Spikes, LB (Knee): Probable; Full Participation In Practice

Sammy Watkins, WR (Ribs): Probable; Full Particpation In Practice


The Bills also are in pretty good shape health wise, with backup safety Jonathan Meeks and blocking tight end Lee Smith the only players listed as 'Doubtful' to play in the game.

Starting Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore has dealt with a nagging groin injury and is listed as 'Questionable', but is expected to be able to play. Running back Anthony Dixon is also listed as 'Questionable' but is Buffalo's third-string back known more for special teams contributions.

The big news on the Bills' injury front is that wide receiver Sammy Watkins (the fourth overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft) should be able to play on Sunday. Watkins has dealt with a rib injury in the preseason, and even was forced to leave the Bills' fourth preseason game after aggravating the injury. But, the electrifying rookie participated fully in practice on Friday and is expected to start at wide receiver vs the Bears.

Still, the injury has limited Watkins' work in preseason and recent practices, and it usually takes rookie wide receivers a bit of time to be major threats in the NFL. So, the Bears may not face quite the same Sammy Watkins that other Bills' opponents likely will as the year goes on.

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