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VILLARRIAL PRACTICES, MIGHT PLAY SUNDAY

It looks like the Buffalo Bills' offensive line might be intact for their most important game of the season.

Right guard Chris Villarrial, who injured his ribs last Sunday in San Francisco, practiced Friday for the first time this week.

Coach Mike Mularkey said Villarrial didn't work the entire practice and he's still listed as questionable on the injury report. But Villarrial did enough to leave open the possibility of playing Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The same can't be said for rookie tight end Jason Peters and running back Travis Henry. Peters did not attend practice for the second straight day due to a bruised sternum. He'll be a game-time decision.

Henry was downgraded from questionable to doubtful Friday, which means he'll miss his fifth straight game. He's still recovering from a torn ligament in his ankle.

Henry said last week that he was hopeful of returning for the Steelers game. The Bills will have to get into the playoffs for him to have a chance at returning to the field this season. But even that is no guarantee.

Meanwhile, the Steelers could be without another key offensive weapon Sunday. Starting wide receiver Plaxico Burress was downgraded from probable to questionable after Friday's practice because of a tender hamstring.

The 6-foot-6 Burress missed four games before returning last week against Baltimore. Since Sunday's game holds little importance for the Steelers, it's possible Burress might not suit up.

Running back Jerome Bettis, downgraded on Friday, will miss the game because of a sprained ankle. Duce Staley is questionable with the hamstring injury that has sidelined him for six of Pittsburgh's last eight games. If he can't play, third-string running back Verron Haynes likely will get most of the carries.

On the plus side for the Steelers, they may have linebacker Kendrell Bell on Sunday. The 2001 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and 2002 Pro Bowler practiced all week. He has been limited to just three games this season because of injuries.

The Bills are profiting from the playoff fever that has swept through Western New York. T-shirts with the word "Billieve" on the front have been selling like hotcakes in the Bills store at Ralph Wilson Stadium since quarterback Drew Bledsoe wore such a shirt during his weekly press conference Wednesday.

The first shipment of shirts were sold out the first days. Baseball caps went on sale Friday.

Fans can buy the T-shirts and hats only at the Bills Store in Orchard Park or online at buffalobills.com. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to one hour after the game Sunday.
e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

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