Doug Marrone insisted Thursday that it’s still “50-50” as to whether quarterback Thad Lewis will be able to start for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“We’re still not ready to make a decision right now, until we get more information,” Marrone said. “I spoke to Thad. I spoke to the trainers. I know there was a report out there from a league source. I’m hoping the league source is right, because I really don’t know right now. It’s 50-50, trust me.”
Marrone was referring to a report Wednesday night from profootballtalk.com, which cited a league source in saying that Lewis will play Sunday. The quarterback missed his second straight day of practice Thursday.
Backups Jeff Tuel and Matt Flynn continued to split practice reps in place of Lewis, with Marrone not tipping his hand on who might start if Lewis can’t play.
“I’m going to keep that private, just from schematics,” Marrone said. “Both players are taking reps, though, and both of them are doing a nice job.”
While the quarterback situation remains unsettled, the Bills are getting healthier at running back. Marrone said barring a setback in the next couple of days, C.J. Spiller should return to the lineup Sunday after being held out in Week Eight at New Orleans.
“I feel good about C.J. playing,” Marrone said. “In talking with him, without any setbacks, we feel he’ll be ready to go.”
Marrone said the decision to rest Spiller last week accomplished what the team hoped it would in healing the high-ankle sprain he’s dealing with. Spiller was limited in practice Thursday, as was quarterback EJ Manuel (knee), linebacker Manny Lawson (hamstring) and cornerback Brandon Smith, who was a new addition to the injury report because of an illness.
Receiver Stevie Johnson returned to practice on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday, while receiver Marquise Goodwin (elbow) was a full participant after being limited in the first practice of the week.
Running back Fred Jackson (knee) and defensive tackle Kyle Williams (Achilles) were full participants Thursday after being given a rest day.
Receiver Chris Hogan joined Lewis as a non-participant at practice because of a back injury, but Marrone said Hogan should be fine for Sunday.
The Chiefs had a pair of changes to their injury report Thursday. Running back Jamaal Charles (knee) was upgraded from a non-participant Wednesday to a limited participant. He’s expected to play Sunday.
Receiver Dwayne Bowe was downgraded from a full participant Wednesday to being limited Thursday because of a groin injury.
The Bills will host the 2013 Gift of Warmth drive on Sunday. Fans attending the game are asked to bring new winter clothing (especially gloves) or monetary donations that will be collected at the Ralph Wilson Stadium gates. All donations will go to the Salvation Army to help those less fortunate this winter season.
The Bills will host an autograph signing with Johnson, Jackson, Spiller, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and safety Aaron Williams from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the New Era Flagship Store at 160 Delaware Ave.
With a $25 donation to the Kids Escaping Drugs campaign, fans will receive a limited-edition Bills poster and an autograph from each player.
Rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso will be featured on a segment of Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN this week. The show airs at 10 a.m.