C.J. Spiller has been a revelation for the Buffalo Bills this year. But his leap to stardom may have hit a big speed bump on Sunday afternoon.
Spiller had to be carted to the locker room in the first quarter of Buffalo's game at Cleveland after appearing to injure his ribs or shoulder while being tackled by Usama Young.
Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick dumped a pass to Spiller while under pressure, and Spiller turned upfield for a 25-yard gain. But Young landed on top of Spiller, driving Spiller's shoulder into the ground. Spiller immediately grabbed for his left collarbone area, then was helped off the field.
Making matters worse for the Bills, a holding penalty on Stevie Johnson wiped out the play.
Spiller stepped into the Bills' lineup in Week 1 after Fred Jackson suffered a knee injury, and he has been a dominant force early in the season. He entered Sunday with 292 yards rushing, 72 receiving and three touchdowns. Spiller added a fourth TD in the first quarter against Cleveland, prior to his injury, on a 32-yard screen pass.
Spiller left the game with a shoulder injury and will not return.
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) September 23, 2012
The Bills will be forced to turn to Tashard Choice on the ground for as long as Spiller is out. Choice rushed 23 times for 70 yards last season and had just 40 yards on 12 carries so far this season, prior to Sunday.
Spiller's injury comes on the heels of news that Fred Jackson is recovering quickly from his knee injury, prompting coach Chain Gailey to say that Jackson "must be a fast healer." The original prognosis was that Jackson would be out for at least a month, but he could be back as soon as next week, when the Bills play the Patriots. That development led people to question how the Bills would handle their RB rotation given Spiller's emergence; if his injury winds up being serious, though, that might not be a concern.