He was given the return designation when he was placed on injured reserve at the beginning of Week 8 this season. Now two months later, C.J. Spiller will make a return to the 53-man roster this week. Bills head coach Doug Marrone confirmed those plans on Monday.
"He's cleared so I'm looking forward to seeing how he practices during the week," said Marrone, who confirmed he'll be placed back on the roster this week.
Spiller suffered a clavicle injury back in Week 7 at the tail end of a 53-yard run against Minnesota. His injury required surgery. Under the rules of I-R Designate to Return, Spiller was allowed to begin practicing with the team again in Week 13, but was not yet cleared for contact.
Now that he able to participate fully, Marrone wants to see how he performs on the practice field this week before deciding whether he'll be active for Sunday's game at Oakland.
"I'd like to see his participation more before we make that decision," Marrone said.
Spiller could provide a much needed boost for an offense that has had trouble scoring points on a consistent basis. The play in which Spiller was injured back in Week 8 remains the longest run from scrimmage for the Bills this season.
After back-to-back victories in which they scored 38 and 26 points in wins over the Jets and Browns, Buffalo's offense has managed just a pair of touchdowns in their last two games.
"He's a guy that's made plays in the past," said Marrone. "Anytime you can bring back someone who is a potential playmaker, it obviously helps."
The Bills are still in the AFC playoff hunt at 8-6 following their surprising victory over Green Bay last Sunday. When Spiller returned to the practice field a couple of weeks ago he did admit that his legs were fresh having not endured the pounding of NFL games for almost two months. The running back has put his body through a rigorous training regimen in an effort to maintain his game shape as much as possible.
Buffalo's run game hasn't been as productive as it was last year at this time when it ranked second in the league. Spiller's re-insertion into the lineup could provide a valuable late season push.
The Bills will have to make a corresponding roster move to create room for Spiller on the 53-man squad.