Buffalo Bills quarterback Doug Flutie will be out until at least September after suffering a severe groin injury when he slipped in practice Thursday.
"He's going to be out quite a while, probably into the regular season," coach Wade Phillips said after learning the result of an MRI. "We don't know the timetable yet, but it's a severe injury."
Flutie said he felt as if he had just lost a game.
"It could be a lot worse. Of course it could've been a couple of days, too," he said. "But I'm not missing hopefully too much of the season. Just take it from there."
The toughest part, he said, will be allowing the injury to heal, which means giving it weeks of rest.
"Right now, it's going to be an exercise of patience for me, which is what I'm not good at," said Flutie, who couldn't recall ever missing a day of training camp in his 16-year pro career. "I don't know what else to say except that it's going to be real challenge for me to just be patient and wait."
The injury occurred when Flutie, taking a snap from center, appeared ready to run the ball up the middle, but the turf gave out under his right leg. Flutie went down face-first and grimaced in pain while holding his leg.
"I was just running a quarterback draw, drop step and went and it just gave way," Flutie said. "I thought it was just a nagging pull thing, but I guess not."
He got up on his own after less than a minute, and did not appear to limp as he walked off the field to the trainers' room.
Flutie's injury came the day that starting quarterback Rob Johnson made his first appearance at practice since Monday. Johnson has been battling a stomach virus that forced him to miss three straight days.
Johnson did not participate in Thursday morning's practice, instead watching from the sidelines. He likely won't be ready until Friday, Phillips said.
Johnson picked up the bug over the weekend and required antibiotics to be delivered to his room 2:30 a.m. on Monday.
Noting that Johnson has lost some weight, Phillips said, "We don't want to throw him back too quickly and have a reoccurrence."
While recuperating, Johnson left the Bills training camp facility at St. John Fisher College in Rochester to travel to Buffalo where team doctors conducted a full series of tests, Phillips said.
Johnson did not comment after the morning practice.
"Our quarterback depth has been depleted here pretty quickly," Phillips said. "Like at any other position at camp, we're still going to work the things that we need to work offensively without them. ... But we'll havto come back and recover that again with them when they get back."
The Bills are down to two quarterbacks: Mike Cawley, who is attending his second straight camp with the Bills after spending this past year playing in NFL Europe; and rookie free agent acquisition Phil Stambaugh, a three-year All-Patriot League performer at Lehigh.
"This'll be a good opportunity for Cawley and Stambaugh. In that respect it gets them a little more work," Philips said.
©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
© 2000 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.