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Jordan Phillips, Ryan Bates practicing as Bills-Bears week begins

Mitch Morse is still in concussion protocol, and Josh Allen was limited for the first time since Thanksgiving week

Green Bay Packers v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills took to the field to practice on Tuesday as they prepare for their Christmas Eve game with the Chicago Bears, and there was good news on the “who’s here” list.

Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, who has missed two games with a shoulder injury he suffered at the end of the Bills’ Week 13 win over the New England Patriots, was back. Phillips has been a non-participant in every practice since the injury — which happened as he made a dive at quarterback Mac Jones after chasing him around in the backfield — and was inactive for Buffalo’s wins over the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins.

Ryan Bates, the Bills’ starting right guard, suffered an ankle injury in Week 14 as Buffalo won their second of three straight divisional games in a rematch with the Jets. Head coach Sean McDermott had said that Bates should be a quick recovery in last week’s press conference, but with a short week last week, Bates — like Phillips — was a DNP through practices and inactive at game time. Now he’s back on the practice field.

Bates’ return is especially good news, as center Mitch Morse left last Saturday’s game early in the third quarter with a concussion, and is working through the league’s protocol for players to be eligible to return. If Morse is unable to suit up in Chicago, the Bills will have Bates — should he be game ready himself — as well as Greg Van Roten to choose from in the pivot.

After the Bills posted their daily injury report, we found that quarterback Josh Allen was limited in practice. Allen injured his elbow in Week 9, but has not missed any playing time. He was limited in practice in the weeks after the injury, but until today, has been a full participant in every practice since the Bills played the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day. While it isn’t something to cause panic, Allen’s elbow is definitely going to be a talking point this week, and his practice status will be something to keep an eye on.

The other notable line on the Bills injury list is that linebacker Matt Milano, who injured his knee in the Week 13 win over New England, was limited in today’s practice. Milano has started each of the last two weeks as a non-participant at practice, before being limited in the team’s final practice before game day. Starting the week practicing — even on a limited basis — would indicate that the linebacker, who hasn’t lost any speed or velocity on the field despite the injury, may be on the mend.

Missing from practice, aside from Morse, was defensive end Boogie Basham, who McDermott has said injured his calf during the Bills’ playoff-clinching game Saturday night. With edge rusher Von Miller on Injured Reserve, the Bills need all the pass rushers they can get, but yesterday’s release of defensive tackle Brandin Bryant would indicate that Buffalo isn’t too concerned about the availability of either Basham or Phillps — or maybe both — when the team travels to Chicago at the end of this week.

Additionally, Buffalo activated guard Ike Boettger from the PUP list on Monday, and it is a possibility that the lineman — who is returning from an Achilles injury suffered in December of last season — could potentially slide into the lineup at guard for Bates should the need arise for Buffalo.