Inside The Bills

Marrone: Hopkins to practice next week

Posted by Chris Brown on October 4, 2013 – 3:22 pm

He only began to practice on a limited basis last week, but rookie kicker Dustin Hopkins looks closer than ever to returning from a groin injury suffered days before the season opener. Head coach Doug Marrone gave indication that Hopkins will be fit to fully participate in practice next week.

“Hopkins we’re looking at coming back,” said Marrone Friday.

Hopkins began kicking a couple of weeks ago with athletic trainers. First, with a nerf ball, then with a less than fully inflated regulation football. He began kicking a fully inflated ball this past week attempting field goals and extra points.

The last hurdle is kickoffs, one of the main reasons the Bills made him a sixth-round draft pick.

Hopkins is expected to attempt kickoffs, which require the most leg power coming off his groin injury.

His replacement since the injury, Dan Carpenter, has performed admirably in Hopkins’ absence. The veteran kicker is 11-12 on field goal attempts for Buffalo including a 52-yarder last night and a 55-yarder in the season opener. His touchback percentage while still low by league average standards has improved the past two weeks as well.

Still, Carpenter’s leg strength pales in comparison to Hopkins, who will be a weapon that prevents returns on kickoffs. So provided Hopkins comes through the week of practice strong it’s likely that he’s kicking a week from Sunday against Cincinnati.

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