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Bills running back Lynch to have more tests on sprained ankle

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Marshawn Lynch will have further tests Monday on his sprained left ankle, but Bills coach Dick Jauron hopes the rookie running back will be ready to play against New England this weekend.

Jauron said Lynch is sore, but noted that initial tests showed no broken bones after the player limped off the field after helping secure a come-from-behind 13-10 win at Miami on Sunday.

"There is a concern," Jauron said. "But as (Lynch) said last night, he feels like he'll play. We've got to kind of wait and see on that one. But he's very upbeat."

The Bills (5-4), who have won four straight, are off until Wednesday, when they return to practice to prepare to host AFC East rival New England (9-0) on Sunday night.

Lynch was injured when several players fell on the back of his leg after the running back completed a 3-yard gain to convert a third-and-2 at the Dolphins 25-yard line late in the fourth quarter. The run helped set up Rian Lindell's decisive 34-yard field goal with 46 seconds remaining.

Lynch sparked the comeback earlier in the fourth quarter when he scored on a 3-yard plunge and then completed a 2-point conversion to tie the game at 10.

The first-round pick out of California has been the Bills' most consistent offensive player, and has played a significant role in helping the team rebound from a 1-3 start.

The touchdown against Miami was Lynch's team-leading sixth rushing score this season. With a touchdown passing as well, Lynch has had a hand in seven of 10 touchdowns produced by the offense this year.

Lynch ranks fifth in the NFL with 751 yards rushing, and his 196 carries rank second behind Pittsburgh's Willis Parker.

Without going into detail, Jauron expressed more concern about the status of nickel cornerback Kiwaukee Thomas, who sustained what the team fears to be a severe groin injury against the Dolphins.

"Not optimistic there," Jauron said, referring to the eight-year NFL veteran, who's been credited with 35 tackles and is third on the team with four passes defended.

Without Thomas, the Bills would be down to two reserves -- Ashton Youboty and Jerametrius Butler -- behind starters Terrence McGee and Jabari Greer in preparing for the pass-happy Patriots, who defeated Buffalo 38-7 at Foxborough, Mass., in Week 3.

Jauron also said starting tight end Robert Royal's status is uncertain after he sustained a mild concussion against Miami.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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