PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Bills quarterback Kevin Kolb is showing signs of being a fast healer.
A day after limping through his first practice since twisting his left knee, Kolb came out scrambling and firing one completion after another Tuesday. It was an impressive enough outing for coach Doug Marrone to suggest the seventh-year quarterback is on track to play in Buffalo’s preseason game against Minnesota on Friday.
“I was happy today,” Marrone said. “He looked really good to the point where we’re going to get him ready to play.”
Kolb had missed eight days of training camp and the Bills’ preseason-opening 44-20 win at Indianapolis on Sunday after slipping on a wet rubber mat in practice Aug. 3.
The veteran free-agent addition is competing with rookie first-round draft pick EJ Manuel for the starting job.
The update wasn’t as positive for receiver T.J. Graham, who was held out of practice a day after straining his groin. Marrone doesn’t expect Graham to return until after the game Friday.
The Bills are already down their two most experienced receivers. Starter Stevie Johnson is expected to miss at least another week after pulling his left hamstring on Aug. 2. Brad Smith is also sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Also Tuesday, starting safety Aaron Williams limped off the field and did not return after experiencing what Marrone called cramps. Reserve offensive lineman Thomas Welch twisted his ankle near the end of practice while attempting to catch a pass in the end zone on a tackle-eligible play. Welch was shoved down by linebacker Nigel Bradham before he could make the catch.
Kolb looked like a completely different player than a day earlier, when he hobbled around the backfield and struggled to complete a pass.
Wearing only a sleeve on his left knee on Tuesday, Kolb showed great mobility to avoid being sacked by Alex Carrington. On the next snap, Kolb dropped back and completed a long pass over the middle to Marquise Goodwin. Later, he hit Da’Rick Rogers on another deep pass.
“He had some great reads, some great throws, and loved having him out there,” offensive co-ordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. “It was good to have him back.”
Before practice, the Bills released reserve punter Brian Stahovich, in a move that opened the door for incumbent Shawn Powell to retain his job. Powell enters his second season after replacing long-time veteran Brian Moorman a month into last season.
The Bills had signed Stahovich following a minicamp tryout in April in order to compete with Powell. At Indianapolis on Sunday, Stahovich averaged 41.3 yards on three punts, landing two of them inside the 20.
Stahovich played at San Diego State, and was initially signed with Indianapolis last year. He was cut before the start of the season.
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