Owens won't play vs. Steelers

Updated: August 26, 2009, 10:51 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Terrell Owens still isn't ready to play, and the Buffalo Bills' offense has another concern after running back Fred Jackson aggravated a left thumb injury in practice Tuesday.

Coach Dick Jauron ruled out Owens from playing in Buffalo's preseason game at Pittsburgh on Saturday because the receiver still is not fully recovered from a sprained toe. Owens spent 10 minutes working out on his own during practice, the first time he's been on the practice field since taking part in individual drills on Aug. 17.

Owens, who will miss his third preseason game, still hasn't been through a full practice since jamming his foot on Aug. 9, during the Bills' Hall of Fame game appearance against the Tennessee Titans.

Jauron said Owens indicated after the workout that it was the best he's felt since getting hurt.

Wearing a blue shirt and tights, Owens went through a regimen of running and stepping drills. He showed no sign of a limp and was able to push off both feet.

Another encouraging sign was how Owens was able to stand and watch the rest of practice, something the player hasn't previously been able to do after experiencing discomfort in his toe.

Owens declined to talk to reporters as he left the field with about 15 minutes left in practice.

Jauron considered it too early to say whether Owens might be able to play in the preseason finale against Detroit on Sept. 3.

The Bills did get good news later in the day on Jackson; X-rays on his left thumb were negative, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported.

The injury is potentially troublesome because Jackson is slated as the team's starter while Marshawn Lynch serves a three-game NFL suspension to open the regular season.

The Bills added insurance this offseason by signing eight-year NFL veteran Dominic Rhodes in free agency. He's followed on the depth chart by Xavier Omon, who had brief playing time as a rookie last year.

Jackson was hurt during a running play toward the end of the two-hour practice, when he took a pitch to the left. He was hit as he burst through the line of scrimmage, fumbled the ball and fell to the ground in pain.

With several teammates and trainers looking on, Jackson eventually got up and was holding out his left hand while being escorted to the training facility. Jackson's hand already was heavily taped around the wrist and thumb.

Jauron said Jackson was hit in the same spot -- just above the thumb -- where he had been previously injured.

It's not clear when Jackson was initially hurt, but he was bothered by the injury when he lost a fumble in a 31-21 loss at Green Bay last weekend.

Reserve offensive tackle Demetrius Bell missed practice a day after hurting his back. Jauron said Bell is feeling better, but didn't know whether he'd play Saturday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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