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DaQuan Jones Possible Return This Season

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The Bills have been playing without three cornerstone defenders for several weeks. Tre’Davious White is out for the season, and no indications have emerged regarding a Matt Milano return. But the other key starter the Bills lost in October does have a path back to the active roster.

Sean McDermott said Monday (via the Buffalo News’ Jay Skurski) DaQuan Jones has a chance to come back from the pectoral injury he suffered in London. Jones is not on track to be designated for return this week, but the Bills have the door open for the defensive tackle starter to return before season’s end.

Buffalo saw both Milano and Jones go down during its loss to Jacksonville in London. Those setbacks came a week after White’s Achilles tear, decimating the Bills’ defense. That has led the team toward the “In the Hunt” sector of playoff graphics, rather than its usual perch atop the AFC East. But the Bills have reestablished some momentum, beating the Chiefs in Kansas City for a third straight season. With the team’s playoff chances still live, a Jones return would make sense — should the veteran interior defender prove able — down the stretch.

When Jones went down, he was reported to have sustained a pectoral tear that required surgery. That injury regularly shuts down players for seasons’ remainders. It is possible Jones did not sustain a full tear; that would explain this somewhat surprising window to come back. Pro Football Focus had slotted Jones third among interior D-linemen through five games; the former Titans draftee had started all 21 games since his two-year, $14MM Bills deal came to pass in 2022.

Despite a plus-104 point differential, the Bills sit 7-6. Games against the Cowboys and Dolphins remain for the three-time reigning AFC East champions. The team’s impressive differential aside, it ranks 19th against the run. Jones making an unexpected comeback would certainly help the cause on this front.

While Jones has a chance to return to practice in the not-too-distant future, Micah Hyde will likely miss some upcoming workouts. McDermott called the veteran safety week to week with the stinger he suffered in Week 14. Hyde made a return from a neck injury this year; the 11th-year defender missed 15 games last season due to that malady. The Bills have better safety insurance this year, having signed Taylor Rapp. Following an inspirational return, Damar Hamlin has not seen much playing time this year. But the 2022 fill-in starter serves as depth as well.

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