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Four key Bills players not practicing as Lions game prep begins

Head coach Sean McDermott said everyone else on the roster will practice in some capacity

Buffalo Bills vs Cleveland Browns Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott met with members of the media on Tuesday as his team continues to prepare for their Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Detroit Lions.

To start the media session, which would normally come on a Wednesday but was adjusted due to the Bills’ shortened work week, McDermott said that four key players would not practice: linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, center Mitch Morse, defensive end Greg Rousseau, and defensive end A.J. Epenesa would not practice.

All other players will participate in practice today, per McDermott, as his team prepares for its second game at Ford Field in five days.

McDermott also gave a brief statement on the lingering questions surrounding cornerback Tre’Davious White, saying once again that it’s a team effort to get the former All-Pro back on the field after last Thanksgiving’s ACL injury, and that they are continuing to take things “one day at a time.”

“We’re all encouraging Tre’,” the coach said, indicating that the cornerback could be struggling with the mental aspect of returning to the game. “He’s climbing a big mountain.”

Here’s a look at the full injury report from after today’s practice and what that means looking forward to Thursday’s game

Bills injuries trending up

  • Kaiir Elam (ankle)
  • Jordan Poyer (elbow)
  • Damar Hamlin (neck)
  • Cam Lewis (forearm)
  • David Quessenberry (ankle)

Good news out of today’s practice as both Kaiir Elam and Jordan Poyer completed their second straight day of unrestricted practice. While Poyer was active—and made a big impact in the Bills’ secondary—during the Bills’ 31-28 win over the Cleveland Browns in Sunday’s re-located “snow bowl,” Elam was not.

Elam injured his ankle in Buffalo’s Week 9 loss to the New York Jets and has been inactive for the two games since. Getting the rookie cornerback on the field after only missing two games, rather than what has been the typical three we’ve seen from the majority of the Bills’ ankle injuries this season, will be a big boost for a secondary that has struggled.

Quessenberry going from a walking boot on Sunday to limited practice on Monday to a full participant in practice today is a good sign that his ankle injury is on the non-too-serious side. Whether he plays or not is still a big question, but with center Mitch Morse not trending up, the Bills are going to need all of the offensive linemen they can get healthy in a hurry.

Bills injuries holding steady

  • Josh Allen (elbow)

There’s not much to see here. That’s what Allen seems to be indicating in practice too. While the quarterback was seen throwing today (a first time that has taken place in the open-to-the-media portion of practices since his injury), and he was without either a sleeve or a brace.

Since he hasn’t missed a snap since the injury occurred at the end of week nine, you can bet that Josh Allen will be starting on Thanksgiving Day. Stefon Diggs said that the pass he caught from Allen for a touchdown two days ago was a missile, so maybe he is improving, and we will get to see one or two of those deep shots Thursday. But, since the Bills still have the quarterback listed as limited in practice, we have Allen listed as “holding steady”

Bills injuries trending down

  • Mitch Morse (elbow/ankle)
  • Tremaine Edmunds (groin)
  • A.J. Epenesa (ankle)
  • Greg Rousseau (ankle)

Mitch Morse missed Week 3 with the elbow injury that has been nagging him since the first quarter of this season. The approximately quarter and a half of that first game that Morse was in the locker room for and then the Weel 3 game were a “hot mess” for the offensive line with snaps that were not quite on-target and holes on blocking assignments. And today, during his meeting with the media, McDermott said that Morse was a big part of the offense and that his presence on the offensive line was something that is hard to replace.

Edmunds is a non-participant for the second straight week—although neither week has even been close to a full week between an illness that hit the locker room early last week, the six-plus feet of snow that buried most of Buffalo at the end of the week, and now only three days to prepare for their Thanksgiving Day game. However, the fact that all of that rest hasn’t even moved the linebacker to being limited in practice yet is not a good sign.

Rousseau should be getting close to returning to some form of practice as his injury took place in Week 9. However, while Elam has worked his way back in quickly, the second-year defensive end is still sidelined. This will be his third missed game, assuming he can’t go—and without practicing again this week, I would bet on him sitting on Thursday.

Epenesa just joined the “ankle-injuries-r-us” club that has become the Buffalo Bills training room this season, and it’s looking like the linebacker, who was reportedly in a walking boot as he left Ford Field on Sunday, will be serving some time on the bench for a while.

As for Buffalo’s opponents – the actual occupants of Ford Field this time – the Detroit Lions, they aren’t in great shape either. Here’s a look at their injury trends for this week.

Lions injuries trending down

  • Evan Brown (ankle)
  • Charles Harris (groin)
  • Jonah Jackson (concussion)
  • Jeff Okudah (concussion)
  • Joshua Paschal (knee)

It is highly unlikely that cornerback Jeff Okudah can clear concussion protocol with just one day left before game in this shortened holiday-game week. This could cause trouble for the Lions as they try to keep up with Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. Likewise, offensive lineman Jonah Jackson isn’t likely to get through the league’s protocol before Thursday. Jackson’s absence compounded by fellow-guard Evan Brown not making progress with an ankle injury is spelling nothing but trouble for Lion’s quarterback Jared Goff who may spend his Thanksgiving running from the likes of Von Miller, Ed Oliver, and Matt Milano.

Paschal’s knee injury may turn in to more of a problem for the Lions considering his “next man up” replacement is Charles Harris – who has been inactive all week with a groin injury. Could this mean another good week for the Buffalo ground game? Or could it mean that the Lions won’t have much of a pass rush and quarterback Josh Allen will have plenty of time to pick on an Okudah-less secondary?

Lions injuries holding steady

  • D.J. Clark (ankle)

Clark was active last week in the Lions win over the New York Giants. The wide receiver, who had surgery on a fractured ankle at the end of last season, spent time on the IR after struggling through the first three weeks of this season. Clark was only in the game for eleven snaps last week, and with a short week to recover and get more practice in, it isn’t clear how much – if any – he will be a factor as the Lions host the Bills in two days.

Lions injuries trending up

  • Frank Ragnow (foot)
  • Josh Reynolds (back)
  • Malcolm Rodriguez (elbow)
  • D’Andre Swift (ankle/shoulder)

Linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez and running back D’Andre Swift have been full participants in both of Detroit’s practices this week and there is no reason to not expect them in uniform Thursday. Things aren’t quite as clear for center Frank Ragnow and wide receiver Josh Reynolds who started the week as spectators at practice. Having upgraded their participation to limited today is good news for the duo. It is likely that if it is at all possible to get Ragnow on the field, the Lions will have him in uniform. Losing the entire three-piece center to your offensive line could be disastrous for any team – but especially for one who is on a winning streak for the first time since … can anyone even remember when???