Eric Wood, Bills center, pays steep price for injuries

Coming off a second major leg injury in three years, Buffalo Bills center Eric Wood has learned to be patient with his rehabilitation, reports Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News.

"I haven’t tested it in any practice or anything, but a lot of that is just being cautious," Wood recently said of his surgically repaired right knee. "We don’t want to do anything now that’ll set me back. The goal is to be back for the first game. I trust the guys in the training room to get me back to that.”

Coaches Film, only on NFL.com
Purchase NFL Game Rewind and receive access to Coaches Film, which includes camera angles previously only available to coaches, scouts and officials.

Acquiring that patience has come with a rather significant price tag.

As the No. 28 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Wood's five-year rookie contract had a base value of $9.335 million. According to a source with knowledge of the contract, Wood had the ability to add $2.75 million to his 2013 base salary by reaching easily achievable playing-time incentives (75 percent of the offensive snaps) in each year from 2009 through 2012.

For a player who was praised for his durability after starting 49 consecutive games at Louisville, that had the appearance of being easy money.

Instead, Wood broke his leg ten games into his rookie season and missed the last seven games of the 2011 season with the torn anterior cruciate ligament he's currently recovering from, falling short of the playing-time mark and costing himself $1.375 million in base salary escalation for the 2013 season. Wood missed two games in 2010, but cleared the playing-time threshold and his 2013 base salary has increased from $925,000 to $1.6125 million.

If Wood's patience pays off, and he's healthy enough to play in over three-quarters of the Bills' offensive snaps, he can add another $687,500 to next year's salary.