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Mitch Morse, Christian Benford return to practice as Bills-Bengals week begins

Stefon Diggs and Jordan Poyer will miss Thursday’s practice

Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Buffalo Bills are back to practice on Thursday as they prepare for their away game against the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football.

As they head in to the first practice of the week, head coach Sean McDermott delivered some good news in his usual media session. Buffalo’s offensive line will be getting center Mitch Morse back, as the eight-year veteran has cleared concussion protocol and will be a full participant in today’s practice. Morse, who was dealing with the sixth concussion of his career — sustained in the Bills’ Week 15 win over the Miami Dolphins — missed the Bills’ Christmas Eve win in Chicago.

Other good news delivered by McDermott is that the team will be opening the 21-day practice window for rookie cornerback Christian Benford, who has been on the team’s Injured Reserve list since November 26 with an oblique injury. Benford started the season as part of a rookie tandem that was tasked with teaming up to shut down opposing wide receivers while the Bills waited for the return of All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White, who started the season on the team’s PUP list as he recovered from a November 2021 ACL tear.

McDermott did have a short list of players not practicing today, including wide receiver Stefon Diggs and safety Jordan Poyer. Diggs is out with an illness, and McDermott said that they hoped to see him back sooner rather than later. Poyer is nursing a knee injury that kept him out of most of the team’s Week 16 practices, as well, but didn’t hinder him from being ready by game time in Chicago.

Boogie Basham was originally reported by McDermott as not practicing, but the second-year end did end up on the practice field, per reporters on scene. Basham continues to work through a calf injury that he acquired in Buffalo’s win over the Dolphins, and which kept him out of both last week’s practices and the Christmas Eve win over the Bears.

The new name on the list is Taiwan Jones, who McDermott said was dealing with a hamstring issue. Jones is listed as a running back, but primarily sees work on special teams. Additionally, while tight end Dawson Knox didn’t come up in McDermott’s presser, he was spotted on the practice field wearing a red, non-contact jersey. He got dinged up early in Saturday’s win over Chicago, but returned and finished the game.

The Bills posted their official injury update after practice, and there were no real surprises, with Josh Allen (elbow), Jordan Phillips (shoulder), and Matt Milano (knee) continuing to work through some injuries.