Bills' Fred Jackson cleared to return

Updated: September 28, 2012, 8:49 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson has the team doctor's clearance to play this weekend.

Jackson received the OK on Friday, before taking part in his third straight practice since spraining his right knee in a season-opening loss at the New York Jets on Sept. 9.

"(The doctor) said as long as I feel like I'm capable of going, he's going to support what I do," Jackson said.

Despite feeling some soreness, Jackson believes he'll be "ready to go" Sunday, when the Bills (2-1) host AFC East rival New England (1-2).

Jackson is listed as questionable on the injury report, giving him a 50 percent chance of playing. Running back C.J. Spiller (left shoulder) practiced for a second straight day, and is also listed as questionable after he was hurt in a 24-14 win at Cleveland last weekend.

Coach Chan Gailey said both have a "legitimate chance" of playing, and was particularly surprised by how quickly Spiller's shoulder has improved. Spiller didn't speak to reporters but did give a thumbs-up sign when asked how he felt while making his way to the trainer's room following practice.

Gailey said Spiller's potential of playing leaves open the opportunity for the Bills to use their Wildcat formations.

Jackson's recovery is ahead of schedule after he was initially expected to miss at least three weeks. Jackson, however, has kept open the possibility of playing against New England because the Patriots are division rivals. He added he's not afraid of potentially aggravating the injury.

"There's always going to be a risk, you always have to be aware of that," Jackson said. "But that's part of the game. That could happen this week, it could happen Week 13. So just go out there and play."

Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (ankle) and receiver Julian Edelman (hand) have both been ruled out of Sunday's game. Among the 10 Patriots listed as questionable are a couple of key players: offensive lineman Logan Mankins (hip) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (hip).

Mankins missed all three of the team's practice sessions this week, while Gronkowski was new to the injury report Friday. Considering there were no previous reports of a hip injury, it stands to reason that Gronkowski injured the hip during Friday's practice session.

On a separate Bills matter, special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven had his first opportunity Friday to discuss the Bills' decision to cut punter Brian Moorman.

DeHaven declined to go into specifics on what led to the 12-year team veteran being released Tuesday. He instead referred to general manager Buddy Nix, who said the team saw an opportunity to improve the position by signing rookie Shawn Powell, who had been one of the Bills' final cuts before the start of the season.

"I don't want to say anything that would denigrate Brian in any way," DeHaven said. "He had a great career here. He's got a great reputation in town. The move has been made and I don't want to say anything that might be misconstrued as something negative about Brian, to be honest with you."

Moorman's agent, Ron Raccuia, questioned DeHaven's comments.

In a text sent to The Associated Press, Raccuia wrote: "Now isn't the time to discuss Bruce DeHaven, but it's nice to hear that he's done saying things to denigrate Brian."

Raccuia didn't elaborate further.

Moorman and DeHaven never developed a close relationship during their two-plus seasons together in Buffalo.

DeHaven said he wasn't aware of any rift between him and the player.

"I can't speak for Brian, but I know if there was anything there between him and I, it didn't come from me," DeHaven said.

Moorman's departure came as a surprise to his teammates and Bills fans. A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Moorman was a team captain, a respected leader and was popular in the community because of his work with charitable organizations. Moorman has since signed with Dallas.

Moorman's numbers have slipped in part because DeHaven favors more directional punts to limit returns.

DeHaven said he was pleased with three of Moorman's six punts that sailed out of bounds against Cleveland.

Notes

DeHaven said backup QB Tyler Thigpen will take over Moorman's job as being the holder on place kicks on Sunday. ... CB Leodis McKelvin (groin) practiced for a second straight day and is listed as probable.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPNBoston.com was used in this report.

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