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Buffalo Bills injury report: LeSean McCoy clears hurdle in return from concussion protocol

McCoy returned to practice as a limited participant Thursday

Buffalo Bills Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy, who landed on his head and left the game on the opening drive of Week 7’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts, took another step forward in his quest to play vs. the New England Patriots Monday night.

While McCoy remains in the league’s concussion protocol, he was able to return to practice on a limited basis Thursday, and the hope remains that Buffalo’s most dynamic offensive play maker will return to action when Buffalo hosts its first Monday Night Football game in nearly a decade.

The league’s concussion protocol is a complicated, five-step process, and McCoy has already passed through the first four steps: rest and recovery, light aerobic exercise, and continued aerobic exercise/strength training are the first three hurdles a player must climb before being cleared to play.

Step four is resuming football specific activities, in this case being limited Thursday in practice. So far, McCoy appears to have endured all of these activities without displaying any of the concussion-like symptoms that plagued him after the hit in the Colts game.

The last hurdle for McCoy: full football activity/medical clearance to play. These are all great signs for McCoy, who though he hasn’t scored a touchdown yet this year, is still Buffalo’s best offensive play maker. McCoy has a history of success playing for the Bills vs. the Patriots. In each of Buffalo’s last five showdowns with New England, McCoy has racked up 100-plus total yards from scrimmage, including 147 yards from scrimmage in a Week 16 loss at Foxboro, and 123 total yards from scrimmage the last time these teams met on Monday Night Football: a 20-13 loss Nov. 23, 2015.

In other injury news from Thursday, five Bills were held out of practice: LB Lorenzo Alexander (rest day), quarterback Josh Allen (elbow), RB Taiwan Jones (neck), DE Trent Murphy (knee), and DT Kyle Williams (rest day).

The Bills (2-5) look to snap a two-game losing streak when the rival Patriots (5-2) come to New Era Field for an 8:15 primetime game Monday night. This will be Buffalo’s first Monday Night Football game since a 31-25 road loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 7, 2016, and the first home MNF game since a 29-27 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 17, 2008.

Monday’s game will occur on the 45th anniversary of the first-ever Monday Night Football game in franchise history, a 23-14 win at Rich Stadium over the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 29, 1973.