Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- To start the practice week, Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller was a member of the non-participant list once again. An ankle injury suffered during the Bills' Week Four contest against Baltimore has left Spiller hobbled and only able to be limited through the past three games.
Head coach Doug Marrone has been telling reporters for the past two weeks that as long as the ankle injury is better at that point than it had been in the prior week, that they felt good about Spiller playing in the game. Through those three games though, Spiller has taken only 44 offensive snaps out of 213 total and has had a noticeable limp after most his runs.
For the first time since the injury occurred, Marrone didn't sound quite as optimistic regarding the team's explosive running back.
"He's working hard, he wants to come back and he wants to play," the coach led off. "But at the end of the day, we've got to make a good decision to see where he's at. We've just gotta get him over this hump, and we haven't been able to do it for three weeks."
So that begs the question, how is Spiller's ankle right now in comparison to last week?
"Probably not as well," Marrone opined.
Signals were apparently crossed at One Bills Drive because not only does Spiller disagree with the assessment, he's on the complete other side of the spectrum.
"A whole lot better. Ten times better," Spiller said when asked the same question. "It's just a couple more hurdles that I have to cross over before I can say that I'm 100-percent. But I definitely feel a whole lot better… than I did last Wednesday."
So then where is the discord regarding the ankle's current condition coming from? Spiller isn't sure.
"He can only really observe what he sees on the film, but I'm sitting here telling you guys I feel better," he said. "I know my body better than anybody on this team, or on this Earth. I know how it feels."
Marrone, who spoke before Spiller on Wednesday, seemed on the fence about the runner's chances for Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
"I think we'll have to make a decision later in the week, absolutely."
It could be nothing more than a player wanting to play and being optimistic about that idea, with a coach attempting to be careful while wanting to get his player back to full health. Whatever the reason, the two sides will come together and make a decision that's in the best interest for the player and team.
Spiller was one of five players not to practice on Wednesday. Running back Fred Jackson (knee), linebacker Manny Lawson (hamstring), defensive lineman Kyle Williams (Achilles) and quarterback EJ Manuel (knee) also did not partake.
It was a merely rest day for Jackson, Lawson and Williams as all three are expected to play against the Saints. To this point, Manuel is the only player that has been ruled out for the upcoming contest.
The Bills get back on the practice field Thursday morning in Orchard Park.