E.J. Manuel returns to practice

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Bills coach Doug Marrone said that quarterback E.J. Manuel would have to return to practice by Wednesday in order to have a chance at playing in the season opener against the Patriots.

Manuel accomplished that mission on Sunday. The team announced that the first-round pick was back on the field for Sunday’s practice session, two weeks after undergoing a surgical procedure on his knee. He started throwing late last week and obviously has made enough progress that doctors cleared him for a bigger workload this weekend.

The concerns now are whether or not Manuel is ready to go full speed after his time off and if his knee can avoid setbacks over the course of the week. If the answer to both is yes, you’d have to expect to see Manuel making his regular season debut as an NFL player a week from today.

If there’s a no, Thad Lewis will likely be elevated from the practice squad to back up Jeff Tuel because there’s not much sense in dressing Manuel for a game that you don’t think he’s healthy enough to start.