He can only practice on a limited basis right now, and having the chance to play again this season is still very much up in the air. All of that didn't dampen C.J. Spiller's excitement to get back on the practice field with his teammates Wednesday, just over six weeks since sustaining the clavicle injury that landed him on injured reserve.
"It was an exciting day for me," said Spiller. "Just getting back into football type stuff. Get back into some individual drills, get used to hearing some play calling again. We've been working hard for this day and the day was successful. We'll see how it feels in the morning and continue to build from there."
Spiller's participated on a limited basis doing only individual position drills, but was present for the full practice.
When the Bills put Spiller on injured reserve following his Week 7 shoulder injury in the win over Minnesota, they used the 'designated to return' listing on the running back in the hope that he'd be able to return before season's end. By rule he cannot be brought back onto the active roster until Week 16.
"He's not eligible to come back and play until we play Oakland," said head coach Doug Marrone. "So just to get him out here and have him start running around a little bit is a great sign."
In the next breath however, Marrone cautioned that fans shouldn't get too carried away with Spiller's return.
"We're way ahead of schedule on that one," said Marrone when asked if Spiller is on track to return to the lineup in Week 16. "We're two weeks away for him even having a chance to play. He's just out there, which is a good sign and we'll just take it as we go."
Spiller, who would still need to be cleared for contact, echoed his head coach's sentiments.
"I'm not looking ahead," he said. "Obviously that's the game we're pinpointing, but right now we've got to take it one day at a time and not rush it and see how it goes up until then."
Spiller said he's been working on building strength back into his left shoulder after undergoing surgery on Oct. 20.
"You can get some fatigue in there," he said. "It's all about just getting it moving back around like normal. For the most part it's nothing that's concerning or any setbacks that we have right now. So it feels good."
Marrone described Spiller as excited on Monday and it was rooted in being able to get out of the weight room and onto the field.
"I was just excited that I was able to run this week," said Spiller. "Sitting on the couch and not being able to run and doing the machine workouts, that kind of got boring and old. So I was excited to see how it responded once I started pounding back on it. So that was really the exciting part that we both shared. He could tell I was excited to be back amongst the guys. That's the thing that I missed the most. Just being out there with the guys and seeing their faces and seeing how they've been preparing. That was the thing that was really fun to watch."
Spiller admits there might be a mental hurdle to clear if in fact he's cleared to play come Week 16, but he's confident he'll be able to move past it pretty quickly.
"I don't really second guess it, but that will change obviously if I'm able to come back for Oakland and get that first contact," he said. "Once you get that out of the way then it's all about just playing ball at that point."