Niagara Gazette — ORCHARD PARK — Quarterback EJ Manuel returned to practice Sunday and the Bills are cautiously optimistic about his chances of starting the season opener.
Manuel returned after missing two weeks because of a left knee injury.
He participated in warm-ups and individual drills, where he moved well and did not show any ill effects from the injury. He was wearing a small brace on his left knee.
“He looked good,” Bills coach Doug Marrone said. “I say that not knowing what can happen in the next couple days, but as far as today I think he looked good.”
Manuel had been out since suffering a knee injury in Buffalo’s second preseason game on Aug. 16. He had what the team called a “minor procedure” on the knee on Aug. 18.
Manuel wasn’t the only Bills player to return on Sunday.
Safety Jairus Byrd, who missed all of the offseason after receiving the franchise tag, practiced on a limited basis after getting a second opinion on his injured foot. Byrd said that he is dealing with plantar fasciitis, an injury that affects the sole of the foot.
Running back C.J. Spiller returned to practice after spending a week with his family in his hometown of Lake Butler, Fla. Spiller’s step-grandfather, Hubert Allen, allegedly killed two people and shot two others before committing suicide on Aug. 24.
Manuel topped the list of returning players.
The Bills plan to give Manuel his first reps in team drills since the injury on Monday. Marrone had previously said that he would like the first-round pick to be fully practicing by Wednesday in order for him to have a chance of starting the season opener on Sunday against New England.
“If we can have him practicing on Wednesday and we feel that he’s good enough and mentally ready to play, then he’s going to play,” Marrone said.