Before practice on Thursday, Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott spoke with the media. He provided injury updates on Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde, Marquez Stevenson, Tim Settle, Jake Kumerow, and finally Ryan Bates. The presumed starter at right guard has missed five practices with general soreness but he will be back on the field Thursday.
Bates was inserted into the full-time starting lineup with Ike Boettger went down with an Achilles injury late in the 2021 season. He played really well, solidifying the left side of the offensive line that had been a bit shaky, and did well in the postseason.
Following the year, the Bills placed the Restricted Free Agent tag on Bates, but he signed a multi-year deal with the Chicago Bears that the Bills decided to match, solidifying his position on the roster as a starter.
With the addition of Rodger Saffold, a Pro Bowl left guard, it’s been expected that Bates would transition to right guard. That’s where he started camp, but he’s been out with soreness. (They didn’t get more specific than that.)
While he’s been out, the Bills have rotated several players in at the starting guard spot from Tommy Doyle and David Quessenberry to Greg Mancz and Greg Van Roten. Even Bobby Hart and Cody Ford got some run in the spot.
Also back in the lineup Thursday after some days off are defensive tackle Tim Settle (groin), widely expected to be one of the top four DTs on game day, and special teams wide receiver Jake Kumerow.
It remains to be seen how much each will participate on Thursday, but with the other returns from injury this summer, the Bills have eased them in with individual work only before throwing them into team activities. We’ll update.