Edwards returns to practice for Bills; Walker on mend

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards is ready to play after returning to practice on Tuesday, and starting offensive tackle Langston Walker might not be far behind.

2007 Statistics:
Passer rating: 70.4

Passing yards: 1,630

TDs/INTs: 7/8

Edwards returned after missing a week with a bruised right thigh and said he should play in Buffalo's preseason finale against Detroit on Thursday.

"Yeah, this is definitely going in the right direction," Edwards said. "I feel like I'm getting close to 100 percent, which is what I want to get to. And the sooner, I get there, the better."

Edwards sustained a deep bruise just above his knee when he collided with running back Marshawn Lynch in training camp on Aug. 19. Besides missing three practices, Buffalo's starter was also held out of a 20-7 win at Indianapolis on Sunday, when the starting offense played the entire first half.

Edwards said it was important for him to return to practice and get additional time with the first-team offense.

"That's very critical. You've got to be out there making your mistakes and learning from those," Edwards said, noting he's still experiencing some pain in his leg.

As for Walker, he missed practice and is not expected to play against Detroit. But the injury to his left forearm is not as severe as initially feared when he was injured against Indianapolis.

Coach Dick Jauron said tests showed the injury was a bruise. He listed Walker as doubtful to play Thursday, but merely for precautionary reasons.

"It feels fine," Walker said. "I probably could've gone back in the game if really pressed into it."

Walker was injured when he appeared to collide with fullback Darian Barnes while blocking Colts defensive end Ben Ishola in the second quarter. Walker had difficulty moving his arm as he left the field, and was spotted wearing a soft cast immediately after the game. On Tuesday, Walker had much greater mobility in the arm, and even helped backup Demetrius Bell put on his shoulder pads.

That's good news, because the Bills lack depth at tackle.

Walker, normally the starting right tackle, is starting on the left side in place of Jason Peters, who has refused to report to the team over a contract dispute. Reserve tackle Matt Murphy is also out indefinitely with a partially torn left rotator cuff.

That leaves Bell, the rookie seventh-round draft pick, as the interim starter on the left side.

Rookie tight end Derek Fine, the second of Buffalo's two fourth-round picks, also missed practice on Tuesday because of what Jauron referred to as "a fairly serious thumb injury." Jauron said Fine will be out indefinitely.

The Bills also announced Tuesday they released four players, including cornerback Kennard Cox, the third of Buffalo's three seventh-round draft picks this year. Also cut were defensive end Shaun Nua, receiver C.J. Hawthorne and punter D.J. Fitzpatrick.

Fourth-string quarterback Matt Baker was also released after being placed on the waived-injured list.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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