ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- It's a good thing the Buffalo Bills kept 11 defensive backs to open the season because they might need all of them as their injuries continue to mount.
Three of Buffalo's four starting DBs missed practice Wednesday, and at least two them -- safety Donte Whitner (thumb) and cornerback Leodis McKelvin (broken leg) -- are expected to miss this weekend's game at Miami. Safety Bryan Scott's status is questionable after he was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain.
They're not the only ones limping. Starting left tackle Demetrius Bell and starting defensive tackle Kyle Williams both missed practice because of groin injuries, and backup defensive lineman John McCargo is nursing a calf injury.
"It's a challenge, no doubt about that," Bills coach Dick Jauron said after spending the first minute of his weekly news conference listing all of the team's injuries. "But there's nothing we can do about it except to take the next step, see how the health is on Sunday and accept that fact that everybody in the league has injuries, and somehow you've got to get through them."
The injuries piled up during a 27-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints last weekend.
McKelvin is out indefinitely, and Whitner will be evaluated on a weekly basis after having successful surgery on his thumb Monday. As for Williams and Bell, Jauron would only say that both players will be evaluated through the week.
Buffalo's defense already is missing starting middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, who's expected to miss another few weeks after breaking his left arm during a season-opening 25-24 loss at New England.
Veteran Drayton Florence, who returned last week after missing more than a month with a sprained knee, is expected to fill in for McKelvin. At safety, the Bills are planning to go with veteran backup George Wilson and rookie second-round pick Jairus Byrd.
The Bills (1-2) will be face a winless Dolphins team that's breaking in a new quarterback, Chad Henne, after starter Chad Pennington sustained a season-ending shoulder injury last week. Though Henne will make his first career start, he's expected to test the Bills' depleted secondary because he's considered to have a stronger arm than Pennington.
"To have three guys go down in one game is definitely tough for any defense to deal with," Wilson said. "You hope for the best and try to adapt and adjust to each and every situation."
With John Wendling as the only other healthy safety on the roster, the Bills had rookie linebacker Nic Harris practice with the safeties Wednesday. A fifth-round draft pick, Harris primarily played safety at Oklahoma, but the Bills were converting him into a linebacker.
Bell's injury could mean yet another offensive line shuffle after right tackle Brad Butler sustained a season-ending knee injury last week. The Bills haven't decided whether Jonathan Scott, who had replaced Butler, or veteran reserve Kirk Chambers would take over at left tackle if Bell can't play.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press