ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -Backup running back Anthony Thomas' season is over, but the Bills could have starter Marshawn Lynch back for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins.
Thomas was placed on injured reserve Thursday, two weeks after he tore a calf muscle in a 36-14 loss at Jacksonville. The NFL rookie of the year in 2001, Thomas was in his second season with Buffalo and being used in third-down situations and as a backup.
Thomas had 36 carries for 89 yards and added 15 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown in 10 games, including two starts this year.
He became the 13th Bills player placed on IR this season, with the move coming as Buffalo (6-6) prepares to host the Miami Dolphins (0-12) this weekend.
The good news is Lynch could be ready to return after missing the past three games with a sprained left ankle.
Lynch practiced Thursday in full pads for the first time since he was hurt, leading coach Dick Jauron to say he's ``optimistic'' the rookie first-round pick will be ready to play.
Jauron noted that Lynch's ankle showed no signs of swelling after he had a limited role in practice a day earlier.
``I'm optimistic, too,'' said Lynch, who was hurt in helping the Bills secure a 13-10 win at Miami on Nov. 11. ``It's getting better every day.''
Lynch's ankle also held up as the Bills spent part of their session in the frigid outdoors, where temperatures dropped below 30. He split practice time with Fred Jackson, who made his first career start in a 17-16 win at Washington last weekend.
Lynch leads the team with six touchdowns rushing and, with another passing, has had a hand in seven of 13 TDs the offense has produced this season. He has 751 yards rushing, which still ranks 15th in the NFL.
Starting left tackle Jason Peters practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day after he hurt his groin last weekend. The Bills injury reports lists Peters having a hip injury, but Jauron referred to it as a groin on Thursday.
Starting right tackle Langston Walker left practice because of an illness. Safety Donte Whitner missed practice due to illness.
To fill Thomas' roster spot, the Bills re-signed linebacker Leon Joe two weeks after the team released him. Joe, who appeared in five games with Buffalo this season, rejoined the team after he was released by Jacksonville on Friday, a few days after the team signed him.

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