Death in family clouds Stevie Johnson’s status for Sunday

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Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson was forced out of the team’s Week Five loss to the Browns with a back injury, but the team felt confident that it would not be something that keeps him out of the lineup.

Now it’s Thursday and Johnson’s status for this weekend’s date with the Bengals is up in the air. The back has nothing to do with the uncertainty, though. Johnson has been in California after a death in his family, missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday (with an expected absence on Friday as well) while he’s been away and leaving coach Doug Marrone without much of an idea about whether or not Johnson will be available to catch Thad Lewis’ passes.

“I’ll get ready to call him here in a little bit. You know, see how he’s doing,” Marrone said, via the Buffalo News. “Obviously he’s working on getting treatment out there. I really don’t know until he comes back and we’re able to talk with him and see how he feels. It’s quite a long travel for him, to Oakland and back, so I really don’t know.”

Johnson hasn’t missed a game since the 2009 season despite suffering a variety of injuries that hampered him in the last few years. If he’s not able to go, the Bills will have Robert Woods, T.J. Graham and Chris Hogan playing major roles at wide receiver.