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Buffalo Bills injury update: WR Gabe Davis back at practice today

RB Damien Harris and CB Cam Lewis will also return — although in a limited capacity

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

As the Buffalo Bills prepare for their second of three preseason games, a matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have been getting consistently good news on the injury front with multiple players returning to practice.

Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips was taken off the PUP list on August 6 and returned to full practice, meaning he was involved in team drills, yesterday. Phillips had offseason rotator cuff repair surgery after first dislocating his shoulder in Week 13 last season and then tearing the rotator cuff in Week 18. Phillips started the preseason on the Bills’ active/PUP list and was working with trainers until recently. Getting the veteran back to bolster the defensive line — let’s be honest, at 6’6” and 341 pounds Phillips takes up a lot of space and makes finding holes for opposing running backs to run through tough — will be a benefit as the Bills move closer to the start of the 2023 regular season.

Tyler Matakevich was also activated off of the PUP list this week, and while it’s likely that McDermott isn’t planning to use the 30-year-old veteran in his defense much this season — Matakevich just played two of his 324 snaps on defense last season — having a veteran leading the charge on kickoffs and punts will be beneficial.

Damien Harris had been sidelined with a knee injury but returned to practice yesterday. The 26-year-old running back, whom the Bills acquired via free agency this spring, is expected to be a big part of Buffalo’s running back room after Nyheim Hines suffered a season-ending, non-football-related injury just days before the start of training camp. Getting Harris back will be key to the Bills’ running game, as coaches will be looking for a complimentary running back to have active on game days alongside second-year back James Cook.

Another training camp injury that put a pause on one of the most-contested competitions in Bills camp this preseason was an injury to linebacker Terrel Bernard. Bernard is working his way back from a hamstring injury that occurred on August 10, just two days before Buffalo’s preseason opener. Bernard has been in a competition with linebackers Tyrel Dodson, Baylon Spector, and A.J. Klein for the team’s starting middle linebacker position. Prior to the injury, Bernard and Dodson were jointly listed as first string at the MIKE position on the team’s official depth chart. On Wednesday, Bernard was seen working off to the side during practice — his first appearance since the injury a week ago.

Baylon Spector, one of the other linebackers who was in the battle for the team’s middle linebacker role early in training camp, missed yesterday’s practice with a back injury. While Spector seems to be looking at a role as a depth player in Buffalo’s linebacker room, missing time is going to be crucial in the development of the second-year linebacker out of Clemson. Spector is expected to return to practice today according to head coach Sean McDermott.

Wide receiver Gabe Davis, who had an underwhelming season last year due to a nagging ankle injury that kept him from playing to his full potential, missed yesterday’s practice with “general soreness.” While it’s still early, Davis has appeared to have recovered from last year’s ankle injury that slowed him down, so McDermott saying that Davis will be back at practice today is great news.

Cam Lewis, who has seen time at both cornerback and safety for the Bills over the past three seasons, also missed practice again with a groin injury. Lewis has been on the sidelines since August 9 with the injury, which was sustained in training camp before the team left St. John Fisher University and headed back to Orchard Park, NY. Lewis was expected to be back at practice this morning — although in a limited capacity.