Bills activate RB McGahee

Updated: November 5, 2003, 5:54 PM ET

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Running back Willis McGahee was activated by the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday, even though the first-round pick isn't ready to play his first NFL game.

The long anticipated move comes after the former Miami star tore ligaments in his left knee during the Hurricanes loss to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl in January.

While impressed by McGahee's progress, coach Gregg Williams said it's far too early to tell when he could be ready to play, if at all this season.

"It's like a training camp for him right now," said Williams, whose team plays Dallas on Sunday. "He's not ready to play yet. Hopefully, if he continues to work as hard as he has been working, he'll get a chance to get into a game this year."

McGahee called it "a good day," but wasn't sure when he'd be ready either.

"I don't know," McGahee said. "One day my body feels good, one day my body can feel bad. I couldn't even tell you."

While he's anxious to make his NFL debut, McGahee added that it wouldn't be a disappointment if he didn't play this season.

"I have next year to look forward to," he said.

McGahee has spent the past three weeks practicing with the team after opening the season on the nonfootball injury list. Had the Bills not activated McGahee by Wednesday's 4 p.m. deadline, he would have been placed on injured reserve and barred from practicing with the team for the remainder of the season.

One concern is that McGahee still appears to drag and favor his injured leg while attempting to accelerate.

"The big thing is we want to see him get back to full explosiveness on the field so that, No. 1, he's productive enough to help win ballgames for us and, No. 2, it's safe enough for him to play health wise," Williams said.

To make room on their roster, the Bills released third-string running back Ken Simonton.

Starter Travis Henry was happy with the move, even though it means he'll eventually have to share time with McGahee.

"I'm happy for him because of all the rehab he went through and all the hard work," Henry said. "It's a great thing."

Henry added he's impressed by what he's seen from McGahee in practice.

"From what I've seen, I think he's got what it takes to play in this league," Henry said. "And I don't think he's 100 percent, but he still looks good."

McGahee, selected 23rd overall, was considered a top-three selection before being hurt.

Last August, he signed a five-year contract that could potentially be worth $15.53 million. The deal is laden with incentives that more than double a base contract worth just over $7 million, including bonuses.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index