Bills LB Merriman, OT Bell sit out practice after bye week

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Even with a week to heal some wounds to key players, the Buffalo Bills are still hurting.

After enjoying the bye following a disappointing loss to the New York Giants in Week 6, the Bills returned to practice on Monday to begin preparations for their annual "home" game in Toronto against the Washington Redskins on Sunday. But hopes that the time off would help linebacker Shawne Merriman's right Achilles and left tackle Demetrius Bell's shoulder ailment faded when the two were unable to participate in the workout.

Merriman tweaked his Achilles in practice the Thursday before the Giants game, and couldn't play. At the time, Merriman said he didn't think the injury was bad enough to keep him from missing a significant amount of time, but coach Chan Gailey said the Achilles isn't making as much progress as everyone had thought.

"We're going to try and continue to work with him and see where this goes," Gailey said. "If we get to Wednesday or Thursday and things haven't gotten a lot better, then we may have to rule him out for the weekend."

The Bills were also hopeful that starting left tackle Demetrius Bell would be able to play against the Redskins after he missed the past two games because of a shoulder injury sustained against Cincinnati in Week 4. But Bell's still not 100 percent, and likely won't be ready.

"If we get him, that's great," Gailey said. "But we're planning on him."

Making matters worse is Bell's replacement, rookie Chris Hairston, who has a right ankle injury that will keep him out for at least a couple more weeks. If Bell can't play, starting left guard Andy Levitre will slide over to tackle, and backup Chad Rinehart will take over at left guard.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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