No rush for Bills QB Edwards to return

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Concussions are funny.

Not funny, ha ha.

Funny in that they're tough to figure out.

That's why it's so difficult to tell how much Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards is hurting. He suffered a concussion on the third play of Sunday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals, when safety Adrian Wilson bolted through the line and razed him with a clean-but-vicious hit.

Edwards didn't practice on Tuesday, but Bills fans shouldn't worry yet. The Bills are on their bye week, so he would be taking it easy anyway. Backup J.P. Losman would have gotten more reps regardless because that's what happens on the off week.

The Bills haven't released much information on Edwards' concussion. No grade has been revealed. No timetable for his return has been divulged. The Bills aren't required to provide an injury report on bye weeks.

Head coach Dick Jauron has played the classic shell game, telling reporters they'll need to ask head athletic trainer Bud Carpenter about specifics of the team's concussion protocol, knowing full well Carpenter doesn't speak to the media.

But Edwards probably won't practice at all this week. There's an expectation at One Bills Drive he'll play in Week 7 against the San Diego Chargers. I've been told by a couple sources if the Bills had a game Sunday that Edwards probably would play.

The optimism is tempered, however, by the unpredictable nature of concussions.

As Buffalo sports fans can attest, concussions are no laughing matter. They watched Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine leave town because of a medical dispute over his concussions. Buffalo Sabres center Tim Connolly has missed dozens of games because of concussions. Former safety Mark Kelso, now the team's radio color commentator, wore that funky outer-helmet cushion to curtail repeated injuries.

I've covered more concussions that I can count as a former NHL reporter and president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Just last year I covered the strange saga of ex-Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas, whose season ended when he got rear-ended in an otherwise minor, slow-speed traffic accident.

So many times I've written about a player who feels great one day and dismal the next because of the concussion roller coaster.

That's part of the reason it's difficult for the Bills to provide much information at this point.

A quick aside: I find it aggravating and cruel when broadcasters poke fun of athletes who've had their bells rung. NBC Sports commentator Keith Olbermann couldn't resist making a Sarah Palin crack as footage was shown of a dazed Edwards being carted off the field.

It wouldn't be acceptable to mock a player for not being to walk after blowing out his knee or for needing help off the field because of a shoulder injury. But when a player suffers a head injury, it's still OK to use his misery as a joke.