Thomas Returns To The Bills

In this photo released by the Israeli Government Press Office, acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, right, talks with American actress Sharon Stone during a meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, March 12, 2006. Stone is on a five-day visit to Israel sponsored by the Peres Center for Peace.
AP/GPO, Amos Ben Gershom

Buffalo running back Thurman Thomas has been cleared to play in the Bills' next game against the New York Giants on Dec. 12.

"I'm psyched. If you had been out as long as I've been, you'd be psyched too," Thomas said Monday.

Thomas will start practicing Wednesday. Buffalo's most versatile player injured his liver and kidneys on the Bills' first play of the season when he reached up to catch a high pass from Doug Flutie in a 31-14 loss to Indianapolis.

The 33-year-old Thomas took a shot to the ribs by Indianapolis cornerback Tyrone Poole. Thomas, in his 12th season with the Bills, has not played since.

"It's a relief more than anything," said Flutie, who blamed his own bad pass for Thomas' injury. "I told him I didn't want to be the one who ended his career."

Thomas said the painful memory of the hit won't cause him to flinch.

"If I don't go full-tilt, that could cause me to have another injury," Thomas said. "I'm not going to hold anything back at all."

Earlier in the day, Thomas said he was told that he would not be able to play against the Giants and might be through for the season. But he said later a radiologist had misread the CT scan.

"It's been healing fine, but it's been going real slow," Thomas said.

Buffalo managed just 92 yards on 34 carries in its 17-7 win Sunday over the New England Patriots.

The offense has struggled without Thomas to relieve or push the inconsistent Antowain Smith, or to provide an outside threat. Flutie is the Bills' best outside runner.

"It's a great lift for all of us, having him back," fullback Sam Gash said. "Thurman is Thurman; he can do it all."

Smith, suffering from a case of turf toe, rushed for 21 yards on nine carries. Jonathan Linton, coming off a knee sprain, gained 67 yards on 17 carries.

Before this year, Thomas had missed two games in a row only once, in 1995.

The Bills are off this Sunday, giving Thomas an extra week to get ready.

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