ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) LeSean McCoy was healthy enough to at least watch part of practice from the sideline Thursday, though it's unclear whether the Buffalo Bills top offensive threat can play at Miami on Sunday.
A person with direct knowledge of McCoy's hamstring injury told The Associated Press the Bills running back is ''a game-time decision.'' The person spoke to The AP on the condition of anonymity because the Bills have not revealed their plans regarding McCoy's playing status.
Coach Rex Ryan used the word ''hopeful'' in providing an update a day after McCoy left practice complaining of tightness in one of his hamstrings. Ryan declined to go into detail when asked about the severity of the injury except to say it wasn't ''full blown.''
He also said he didn't know whether McCoy injured the same left hamstring that hampered his production last season, his first in Buffalo.
''I know it scares every Buffalo Bills fan because right away we go back to last year,'' Ryan said. ''Hopefully, it's not to that extent. I don't believe it is.''
The injury McCoy sustained in training camp last year led to him gaining 145 yards in three games before sitting out the next two. The NFL's 2013 yards-rushing leader then missed the final two games of the season due to a knee injury and finished with 895 yards rushing.
Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn wants to be cautious with McCoy's injury after what happened last year.
''I don't want him playing 85 percent, re-injuring the hamstring and then this thing lingers all year,'' Lynn said. ''I want him on the field and ready to go. I want him to be LeSean.''
McCoy was not present for the start of practice Thursday, but was spotted wearing a blue hoodie and carrying a football making his way to the locker room once the session ended.
Ryan had encouraging news in saying he expects rookie linebacker Shaq Lawson to play against Miami (2-4). Lawson is Buffalo's first-round draft pick who has been out since May when he had surgery to repair a right shoulder injury that nagged him at Clemson.
McCoy's injury, however, presents a potential big blow to the Bills (4-2), who have leaned heavily on the running back in building a four-game winning streak - the team's longest in eight years.
McCoy has combined for 470 yards rushing and six touchdowns (including one receiving) in the past four games alone, and Buffalo now leads the NFL with 998 yards rushing.
If McCoy can't play, backup Mike Gillislee would likely start. The third-year player spelled McCoy in a mop-up role in last weekend's 45-16 rout of San Francisco and scored a 44-yard touchdown run.
The Bills other running backs are sparingly used veteran Reggie Bush and rookie fifth-round pick Jonathan Williams.
Buffalo's offense could be further depleted with receiver Robert Woods missing his second consecutive practice because of an injury to his lower right leg. Woods had his right foot in a protective boot on Wednesday, and said he aggravated a pre-existing injury against the Niners. With starting receiver Sammy Watkins out (left foot), Woods leads Buffalo with 25 catches and 240 yards, and also has scored once.
On the bright side, tight end Charles Clay returned to practice after missing Wednesday's session with an ankle injury.
As for Lawson, Ryan said he's impressed with what he's seen from the pass-rushing specialist in two practices.
''Yeah, he looks pretty darn good out there. He's flying around. He looks like the guy that we drafted,'' Ryan said of the player Buffalo selected 19th overall. ''There's a reason we took him in the first round, and he's showing that on the practice field.''
The Bills would have to make a roster move to activate Lawson off the physically unable to perform list.
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