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Buffalo Bills center Dusty Zeigler, sidelined since suffering a sprained knee ligament in the season-opening loss to Minnesota, returned to practice Wednesday as the team held the first of two bye-week workouts.

He is expected to be ready to start when the Bills play their next game, Oct. 5 against the Detroit Lions.

Zeigler worked on a limited basis on his own Wednesday. He did some running and cutting, and his knee held up well. He was expected to take part in today's drills.

"I haven't really tried everything (on his leg)," Zeigler said. "I tried some basic things, like getting off the ball and doing some pass sets, and those things went well. I'm fired up. I'm ready to play some football."

The Bills were confident enough in Zeigler's progress to waive reserve center Bill Conaty Monday to make room for receiver/return specialist Steve Tasker, who was released Sunday to make room for rookie receiver/return man Mitchell Galloway.

Conaty was re-signed Wednesday to the Bills' practice squad.
Cornerback Jeff Burris was nursing a strep throat Wednesday. As a result, he and his fellow Bills defensive backs plan to re-record their rap version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" for a compact disc of holiday songs by leading Buffalo-area artists and celebrities. Burris' voice was hoarse when they tried it the first time early this week. Proceeds from the project will benefit the Western New York United Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse Foundation.

Other injured players who missed Wednesday's workout were defensive ends Phil Hansen (ribs) and Jim Jeffcoat (knee), linebacker Chris Spielman (ankle), wide receiver Eric Moulds (hip), fullback Tim Tindale (hip) and offensive guard Corbin Lacina (knee).

Coach Marv Levy said magnetic resonance imaging examinations indicated no serious damage to the knees of Jeffcoat and Lacina.
Wide receiver Justin Armour, released by the Bills on Aug. 24, has been signed by the Philadelphia Eagles. . . . Even though he is retired, former Bills center Kent Hull is fulfilling the second part of his two-year term as a vice president and member of the executive board of the NFL Players Association. . . . After today's workout, the Bills' players and coaches will be off Friday through Sunday, then return to work Monday.

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