Terrell Owens took another step forward in his return from a sprained toe that has kept him out of action for the better part of the last three weeks. The veteran receiver participated in practice for the first time since Aug. 11 as he went through individual position drills, ran routes and caught passes from quarterbacks.
"He looked good to me," said head coach Dick Jauron. "We'll have to see how he tolerates it. As we've said through the whole process, we move forward and see how he feels and how he does. And he was really pushing to get on the field. Watching him it looked like he moved well . That was a good sign. Now we'll just see how he feels."
Jauron already ruled Owens out for Saturday night's preseason game in Pittsburgh earlier in the week. But Buffalo's sideline boss did not rule out the possibility of Owens being cleared to practice fully by early next week.
"The answer really is that he's got to really see how he feels and the medical staff has to see how he feels and examine him," Jauron said. "We'll see. Anything is possible so I would say it's a possibility."
Owens appeared close to full speed, but was taking a couple of extra gather steps on his breaks. Still it was significant progress and being held out of Saturday's game should only help in his recovery.
Fred Jackson had hoped to practice on Thursday, but his thumb and wrist ailment were too sore to participate. As a result his status for Saturday's game is doubtful.
"I don't think you'll see Fred in the game on Saturday," said Jauron. "I wouldn't rule it out totally. He'll probably practice some (Friday)."
Not expected to play in Saturday's game is Derek Fine after suffering a hamstring injury on Thursday. Offensive tackle Demetrius Bell and Aaron Schobel are also not going to play at Pittsburgh.
Maybin set for debutBills top pick Aaron Maybin will make his Buffalo debut at Heinz Field Saturday night after signing a week ago. The defensive end is looking forward to his first NFL game experience.
"I'm really excited," he said. "My first NFL game, even though it is the preseason, you're always excited to get a chance to strap it on and play against another team."
Jauron said Maybin will play, but did not say how long. The head coach still believes Maybin has to finish getting into football shape, as he will have just five practices under his belt prior to the game.
Red zone was a focus in practice early on Thursday and the offense found the end zone a few times.
Lee Evans had a touchdown grab along the far sideline on a pass from Trent Edwards.
Ryan Fitzpatrick hooked up with Steve Johnson for a touchdown and also hit Felton Huggins in the back of the end zone for a score.
Derek Schouman had a pair of touchdowns. One came from Gibran Hamdan with the second thrown by Matt Baker.
Defensively, Terrence McGee broke up a potential touchdown pass for Evans.
Ashton Youboty knocked down a throw intended for Johnson from Fitzpatrick.
Kawika Mitchell prevented a completion from Edwards to Evans over the middle.
Leodis McKelvin had a pass breakup as he raked the ball away from Roscoe Parrish.
And Ko Simpson had his second interception in as many days on a deep pass down the far sideline that was intended for Justin Jenkins.
In and out
Not participating in practice Thursday in addition to Fine and Jackson were Demetrius Bell, Drayton Florence, James Hardy (PUP), Travis McCall, Lydell Sargeant, Aaron Schobel and Pat Thomas.