Bills LB Ellison returns to practice

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Bills linebacker Keith Ellison returned to practice Thursday, a day after the starter was held out because of a sore ankle, and is likely to play Sunday when Buffalo hosts San Francisco.

Coach Dick Jauron said Ellison was feeling better, which was good news for an already depleted linebacking corps that could be without top reserve Teddy Lehman, who missed a second straight day of practice with a hamstring injury.

Safety Donte Whitner, who missed two of the past three games with a separated right shoulder, practiced for a second straight day. And reserve defensive end Bryan Copeland returned after missing practice Wednesday to rest a foot injury.

Jauron said it's too early to determine whether Whitner will be ready to play when the Bills (6-5) play the 49ers (3-8).

The Bills, who snapped a four-game skid with a 54-31 win at Kansas City last weekend, could be depleted at tight end. Starter Robert Royal (hamstring) missed his second straight practice, while reserve Derek Schouman (hamstring) was added to the injury report after practicing on a limited basis.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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