ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Veteran Bills running back Nyheim Hines will miss the entire 2023 season due to a freak accident on a jet ski, according to multiple reports.

“While sitting stationary on a jet ski, Nyheim Hines was struck by another rider and sustained serious, but non-life threatening injuries,” NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported, adding the injuries will require surgery. The Associated Press confirmed Hines is expected to miss the entire season.

Hines restructured his contract this offseason to remain with the team, receiving a $1 million signing bonus in the process, according to contract website Spotrac. He was expected to be a primary kick returner and secondary option out of the Bills’ backfield, competing for play time with Damien Harris and Latavius Murray behind presumed starter James Cook.

Hines may be most remembered for his special teams prowess, including a two-touchdown game against the Patriots in the regular season finale that gave Bills fans one of the most memorable moments of the 2022 season. On the very first play of the game the week after Damar Hamlin’s on-field cardiac arrest, Hines returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown – causing Hamlin to set “every alarm off in the ICU” while celebrating.

Quarterback Josh Allen said the play was “just spiritual … you can’t draw that one up or write that one up any better.”

From the backfield, Hines actually ended the year with negative-3 rushing yards for the Bills after being acquired at the trade deadline in a deal that sent Zack Moss to the Colts. He also caught five passes for 53 yards.

As far as the Bills depth chart is concerned, the loss of Hines likely elevates Murray’s odds of making the team and could open the door for undrafted rookie Jordan Mims (Fresno State). The team also reportedly set up a workout with Darrynton Evans, a 2020 third-round pick of the Titans who spent last season with the Bears.

Receivers Deonte Harty and Khalil Shakir have experience returning kicks and punts and could step into those roles.

The first practice of Bills training camp is Wednesday.

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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as the Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook, Twitter and Threads. See more of his work here.