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ZEIGLER EXPECTED BACK SUNDAY

The Buffalo Bills' offensive line presumably will get a boost this week with the return of center Dusty Zeigler to the starting lineup.

It may only be a little boost, given the fact Zeigler has all of one career NFL start to his name and Jerry Ostroski did a creditable job filling in for him the past three games.

But any boost will be welcome for the Bills' young front five entering Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions at Rich Stadium.

Zeigler, who has a way with self-deprecating humor, was more interested Monday in talking about how he will get ready to return than the wonderful things that return might mean for the Bills' offense.

"I practiced Thursday and it was pretty rough," said Zeigler, who suffered a sprained left knee and ankle in the season opener on Aug. 31. "I don't think I could have knocked a sick baby off a slop jar. I was out there falling all over the place.

"Today, one of our coaches asked me if I was out there looking for loose change on the turf. Hopefully, it will get better on Wednesday."

Zeigler, a second-year player, performed well in the game against Minnesota before getting hurt midway through the fourth quarter. He said his knee feels fully recovered.

"Thursday it was more of a mental thing with the knee and the ankle," he said. "The knee feels real good, although today the ankle still bothered me a little. And I've been away from football for a month and I have to get back into it."

Coach Marv Levy said he expects Zeigler to start, although he would not declare any starters until Wednesday, as is his practice. In Monday's full workout, the Bills' line was back to the rotation it had in the opener, with Ostroski returning to the starting spot at right guard but alternating series with Corbin Lacina.

"It looks favorable for Dusty," Levy said.

This weekend, Zeigler and his linemates will face a defense that ranks 21st in the NFL against the run and 16th against the pass. The Lions are seventh in sacks.

The Bills' line is hoping to pave the way for a better ground game. The Bills stand 18th in rushing yards.

Zeigler said the coaches are stressing the importance of a physical, dictate-to-the-defense attitude among the Bills' linemen.

"That's a big goal, a big thing to accomplish," Zeigler said. "From a player's perspective, that's the whole point of offense. You say, 'We've got two plays, kick their butt right and kick their butt left,' and that's all you need to know."

That's something the Bills' offense was lacking at the start of their last game, when they fell behind the Colts, 26-0.

"Against Indy, they came out and just whipped our butts," tackle Corey Louchiey said. "We were just shell-shocked. We went to the sidelines and our coaches shell-shocked us some more. . . . You have a tendency to get caught up in the details. You get to thinking versus just going out and doing it."

The Bills' linemen say they should have no trouble adjusting to Zeigler's return.

"We're so used to it now, since everybody's played together," Ostroski said. "There really aren't any combinations we can't handle, because we've pretty much done them all."

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