Bills getting healthy at the right time

Early November is often a time when injuries start to pile up for some teams. With the season just a little more than halfway over, it can be a stagger to the finish line.

For the Buffalo Bills, though, this season could prove to be the opposite. While it's hard to envision the entire team being as fresh as it was in July, the injury report has continued to shrink over recent weeks.

All signs point to quarterback EJ Manuel returning Sunday from a month-long absence, which would nearly bring the Bills back to full health. Only wide receiver Robert Woods, who will travel with the team to Pittsburgh despite nursing an ankle injury, has yet to practice this week.

With that in mind, it's worth looking back at what the Bills have weathered injury-wise this season:

  • QB Kevin Kolb: placed on injured reserve in August with a concussion

  • QB EJ Manuel: underwent knee surgery in August; sprained LCL in right knee in Week 5 and missed four games

  • QB Thad Lewis: sprained foot in Week 6 debut; suffered a rib contusion in Week 8 and missed Week 9

  • RB C.J. Spiller: suffered quadriceps injury in Week 3 and did not return; suffered high-ankle sprain in Week 4, leading to deactivation in Week 8

  • RB Fred Jackson: sprained MCL in Week 4; aggravated injury in Week 7; has not missed a game

  • WR Steve Johnson: suffered hamstring injury in Week 3; suffered back injury in Week 5; did not play in Week 6; suffered hip-flexor injury in Week 8

  • WR Robert Woods: suffered ankle injury in Week 9

  • WR Marquise Goodwin: fractured hand in Week 1 and missed four games; suffered elbow injury in Week 8; suffered hamstring injury in Week 9

  • OL Doug Legursky: suffered knee sprain in preseason finale and missed four games

  • DL Alex Carrington: suffered knee injury in Week 3 and placed on injured reserve

  • LB Manny Lawson: suffered hamstring injury in Week 6; suffered similar injury in Week 7 and missed Week 8

  • CB Leodis McKelvin: suffered hamstring injury in Week 3 and missed one game

  • CB Stephon Gilmore: suffered broken wrist in preseason and missed five games

  • CB Ron Brooks: fractured foot in Week 1 and missed five games

  • S Jairus Byrd: missed first five games of season with plantar fasciitis

  • K Dustin Hopkins: strained groin prior to Week 1 and later placed on injured reserve

Assuming the Bills are able to avoid a similar run of injuries, they have a favorable second-half schedule that could act as a springboard to improve on their 3-6 record.

Either way, this is the closest the Bills have been to the team that general manager Doug Whaley and his staff designed in the offseason.

Now we'll have a chance to see how they stack up.