ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Bills linebacker Keith Ellison is out indefinitely with a sprained ankle, and Coy Wire will replace him when Buffalo opens the season against Denver next Sunday.
"It's not good. It's going to be a while," coach Dick Jauron said Sunday.
Ellison was injured in the second quarter of Buffalo's preseason finale, a 16-13 win at Detroit on Thursday. He did not attend practice on Sunday, but was spotted walking on crutches and wearing a protective boot on his right foot in the locker room afterward.
The Bills were counting on the second-year player to take over the weak side spot in a revamped linebacking corps that lost two veterans starters -- Takeo Spikes and London Fletcher.
Ellison, Buffalo's sixth-round pick in 2006, started seven games last season.
Wire is a sixth-year veteran who has experience playing both safety and linebacker, as well as being a key member of Buffalo's special teams unit.
The Bills signed seven players to their practice squad on Sunday. It's a group that includes rookie tight end Derek Schouman, the first of Buffalo's two seventh-round draft picks, who returns a day after he was among 20 players the Bills cut to determine their 53-man regular-season roster.
Five other players Buffalo released Saturday were also signed to the practice squad: receivers Justin Jenkins and Scott Mayle, offensive linemen Christian Gaddis and Nevin McCaskill and defensive lineman Corey Mace.
Rounding out the squad is defensive back Jon Corto, who had been released by the Bills earlier in the week.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press