Tonawanda News — ORCHARD PARK — It’s two steps forward and potentially one step back when it comes to the health of the Buffalo Bills starting offensive line coming out of the bye.
The good news is that starting left tackle Cordy Glenn and starting right guard Kraig Urbik are expected to return on Sunday, when Buffalo (3-4) travels to play the AFC-leading Houston Texans (6-1). Both missed three games with sprained right ankles.
On the downside, Erik Pears’ status is uncertain after the starting right tackle missed practice Thursday.
Coach Chan Gailey said Pears was visiting a specialist to have a nagging hip-groin injury examined. Gailey said the injury is related to the one Pears had surgically repaired this offseason. And he didn’t rule out the possibility of Pears requiring surgery again.
Gailey said he’ll know more regarding Pears on Friday.
Pears has been inconsistent in starting all seven games this season. If he can’t play, reserve tackle Chris Hairston is expected to take over after starting the past three games on the left side for Glenn.
Urbik’s return is well-timed, too, because he’ll reclaim his job at right guard after backup Chad Rinehart sustained what’s feared to be a season-ending injury to his left ankle in a 35-34 loss to Tennessee two weeks ago.
Despite the constant shuffling, the Bills offensive line has been steady. Buffalo is tied for second in the NFL in having allowed just eight sacks this season. And the Bills have the league’s fourth-best running attack.
“The last few weeks, we’ve done a good job, and it’s kind of been patchwork just putting guys in there and trying to move guys around,” quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “But getting some depth there and getting our starters back will be big for us.”