ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Dane Jackson is back on the Bills practice field as a limited participant, nine days after his frightening neck injury required him to be transported from the field by ambulance during Buffalo’s Monday night win.
“Good to get him back out there today and see how he does,” coach Sean McDermott said before Wednesday’s practice.
Jackson’s swift return is a boost for the battered Buffalo secondary, currently missing All-Pro performers Micah Hyde, Tre’Davious White, and Jordan Poyer. Hyde is out for the season with a neck injury. White (knee) remains on the physically unable to perform list. Poyer (foot) also was a limited practice participant Wednesday after he missed Sunday’s loss in Miami.
The Bills reinforced their injury-thinned secondary by signing veteran cornerback Xavier Rhodes to the practice squad on Wednesday.
Rhodes, an All-Pro in 2017, has nine seasons of NFL experience, including the previous two years with the Indianapolis Colts. He had three interceptions in 29 starts with the Colts, and was not re-signed after his contract expired in March. The 32-year-old was selected in the first round of the 2013 draft by Minnesota, and spent his first seven seasons with the Vikings. He is reunited with Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who was the Vikings head coach in 2013.
McDermott described Rhodes as an “experienced player, has played a lot of football, ball production, smart, veteran player. Came in the other day and did a good job, and we’re looking forward to seeing him on the field today.”
Buffalo has numerous question marks at several secondary positions. It’s unclear whether Rhodes can be ready to play Sunday, when the Bills (2-1) travel to face Baltimore (2-1).
Jackson’s status is still uncertain.
“Usually what happens is you ramp them up a little bit, today like we’re going to do with Dane,” McDermott said. “And then see how he is when he comes back in tomorrow, then assess and and try to ramp him even further in the next day.”
Rookie cornerback Christian Benford, who opened the season sharing the starting duties with fellow rookie Kaiir Elam, is expected to miss a few weeks after breaking his hand in a 21-19 loss at Miami last weekend. White is eligible to be removed from the physically unable to perform list as early as Monday, though he’s not expected to be ready to play until after the Bills come out of their bye week, which falls on Oct. 23.
The Bills were without three starting offensive linemen on the practice field Wednesday, as right guard Ryan Bates remains in concussion protocol, and left tackle Dion Dawkins was excused with a non-Covid illness. Left guard Roger Saffold received a veteran rest day. Center Mitch Morse (elbow) was limited.
Also listed on the Bills’ lengthy injury report: defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (hamstring) did not practice, while Ed Oliver (ankle) was limited, and edge rusher Von Miller rested. Wide receiver Gabe Davis (ankle) and Dawson Knox (back/hip) were limited, while Jake Kumerow (ankle) sat out.
The Associated Press contributed to this report