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Bills QB Josh Allen expected to start; tackle Dion Dawkins tests positive for Covid

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Bills quarterback Josh Allen is expected to play against Carolina.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who sprained his left foot in last Sunday's game, is expected to start this week against the Carolina Panthers. He was a full participant in Friday’s practice and was not listed with an injury status for the game.

Left tackle Dion Dawkins has tested positive for Covid-19, putting his status up in the air for Sunday. Dawkins, who was hospitalized with Covid last summer, could potentially play based off updated protocols from the NFL. Because he is vaccinated, if he tests negative and is asymptomatic, he could be in the lineup.

For Allen, coach Sean McDermott said a big factor was what the medical team has seen. Allen was limited in Wednesday’s walkthrough and Thursday’s practice.

“I'll start with what the medical team has shared with me and that's that they're comfortable with where he's at and he continues to trend in the right direction,” McDermott said Friday. “And then what I've seen through my own eyes at practice, just yesterday (Thursday), he seems to be again, able to execute the job description that goes along with the quarterback position.”

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (knee) was listed as doubtful on the injury report. McDermott said earlier Friday during a radio appearance on WGR550 that Sanders would not play, but Sanders was upgraded to doubtful. He did not practice this week.

Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (toe), running back Taiwan Jones (knee), and defensive end A.J. Epenesa (ankle) are listed as questionable. Epenesa’s injury was new on Friday, and he was listed as a limited participant in practice. Lotulelei did not play against Tampa Bay due to the toe injury.

Defensive end Jerry Hughes (foot) was a full participant in practice, as was tight end Tommy Sweeney (hip). Both were limited Wednesday and Thursday.

The Bills had virtual meetings on Friday as a precaution, as teams around the league has seen a drastic increase in positive Covid tests. McDermott said they even considered not practicing. Linebacker Tyrel Dodson was also placed on the Reserve/Covid list Monday. Dodson tweeted that he was asymptomatic.

“I know a lot of people my age, don’t believe into the severity of Covid,” Dodson tweeted Thursday. “But it’s real, I know we’ve kind of shied away from the seriousness of it as a society but continue to keep others in mind. I am vaccinated (and) still got it. Just keep other in mind.”

McDermott said Dawkins’ summer bout with Covid was at the front of his mind when he heard that the left tackle tested positive for Covid again.

“That's the first thing, the first place your mind goes to, right? How this person will handle it,” McDermott said. “In this case, he's had it before and certainly had some challenges there. So, we're going to do all we can to support him and make sure that, No. 1, he is as healthy as possible, or can get as healthy as possible, as soon as possible.”

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