He was practicing with his teammates on Wednesday, much as he had for each of the past two weeks. The only difference now is he's been medically cleared for contact. C.J. Spiller has not yet been added to the 53-man roster from his I-R Designated to return status, but it's anticipated that will take place later in the week.
Bills head coach Doug Marrone liked the way Spiller performed in practice Wednesday.
"I'm not going to sit up here and see he didn't look good. He looked good, but he's still working his way back into the football part of it," Marrone said.
Spiller was limited in practice, which was not in full pads. Those practices typically take place on Thursday, but not many coaches have their players padded up during the practice week knowing the cumulative toll on their bodies this late in the season.
Spiller wore pads for part of the individual position drill portion of practice to get a feel for them back on his body again. A short time later he switched them out for 'spiders' – a foam pad substitute worn on lesser contact days. After practice a reserved Spiller was encouraged by how things went.
"I feel good. We'll see how the rest of the week goes to be honest," Spiller said. "We'll see how I feel (Thursday) when I come in. Hopefully it's a good sign. If it is we'll keep plugging away and I'm pretty sure they'll consult with me and see how I feel and we'll make a decision."
Buffalo has already created a vacancy on the 53-man roster for Spiller to fill after they released FB Frank Summers Tuesday. Marrone indicated he wanted to see more of the talented running back in the practice setting before adding him to the active roster and making a final call on dressing him for Sunday's game at Oakland.
Spiller doesn't deny there is the mental hurdle of trusting that his surgically repaired collar bone can take a hit, but believes he's prepared himself for it. His head coach doesn't seem worried about Spiller playing like he always has provided the decision is to play him this weekend.
"He's been eager to get back on this field for a while," said Marrone. "My conversations prior to this upcoming week he was excited to get back out here and play so I'm sure he's gone through that."
His teammates are excited about the possibility of Spiller re-joining the lineup for the last two games of the regular season, knowing the magnitude of the games with Buffalo still in the AFC Playoff hunt.
"He's a guy that is explosive and has the chance to take it the distance every time he touches it," said Fred Jackson. "So that's a weapon you love to have coming back. I'm excited about it and I know he's excited to get out there. Our (running back) room just got that much more dangerous."
Spiller, who has traveled with the team for every road game despite being on I-R, is fully aware of the importance of the final two games.
"If I'm able to play, I'll play," he said. "I don't need any pep speech to know how big this game is. That's why I play the game. This is the only reason I play the game to play in these kinds of environments to be able to have a chance to go to the playoffs and play with my teammates."