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Reports say no ACL tear for Von Miller, but Bills rule pass rusher out for game against the Patriots

Von Miller beat Lions lineman Penei Sewell early in Thursday's game, but the Bills' pass rusher was out of the game by halftime with a knee injury.Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

Tests on Buffalo Bills star pass rusher Von Miller’s injured right knee showed no tear to the anterior cruciate ligament, a person with direct knowledge of the injury told The Associated Press.

Coach Sean McDermott has already ruled Miller out of next week’s game against the Patriots. The person who detailed Miller’s test results spoke to The AP on the condition of anonymity because the team has not revealed that information.

ESPN first reported the test results on Miller.

Buffalo (8-3) sits atop the AFC East standings and has won two straight since a two-game skid, and it travels to play the Patriots (6-5) on Thursday.

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McDermott on Friday declined to discuss the severity or nature of the injury sustained in a 28-25 win in Detroit over the Lions on Thanksgiving.

“We’re just going to take it one week at a time,” McDermott said. “There will be more testing and whatnot that gets involved. But I’ll just keep it at that for now.”

Miller was hurt late in the second quarter. He was pushing his way through the right side of the Lions’ line when his knee bent awkwardly at the same time center Frank Ragnow stepped on Miller’s right ankle.

Miller walked off the field on his own, and he was examined briefly on the sideline before being carted off. The Bills finished the game with just three defensive ends. Greg Rousseau and A.J. Epenesa didn’t play because of ankle injuries.

Miller is the NFL’s active leader in sacks with 123½, and he ranks 19th on the career list. He leads Buffalo with eight sacks, which was tied for 10th in the NFL entering this weekend.

“He’s a future Hall of Famer for a reason,” McDermott said, when asked how big of an impact Miller’s absence presents. “That said, we’ve got to move forward this week. And the person or the people responsible to step in and step up have got to do the job, and that’s the way it goes.”

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McDermott said Rousseau and Epenesa are improving, but couldn’t say whether they can play next week. He said the same applies to middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (groin/heel) and center Mitch Morse (elbow/ankle), who both did not play on Thursday as well as left tackle Dion Dawkins, who hurt his ankle against Detroit; cornerback Christian Benford is week to week after hurting his oblique.

Miller’s injury will further test the depth of a Bills defense that hasn’t been healthy all season. The strains have shown on defense, which has allowed 300-plus yards in each of its past seven games. It’s the worst stretch since an eight-game run in 2017 during McDermott’s first season as coach.

Buffalo has allowed 21 or more first downs in eight straight games, the worst such run in franchise history.

Justin Fields injured his shoulder late in Chicago's loss last week to Atlanta.John Bazemore/Associated Press

Young QB matchup fizzles out

Sunday’s Bears-Jets game won’t be the spicy second-year quarterback matchup most were expecting when the schedule was announced in May with Chicago’s Justin Fields taking on New York’s Zach Wilson. Instead, both might be watching from the bench — Wilson because of ineffectiveness (Mike White took over as the starter this week) and Fields because of injury.

Before traveling, the Bears were still in wait-and-see mode with Fields, who was listed as questionable for the game after being limited at practice all week with what he said is a separated left shoulder with ligament damage within the AC joint. While it’s to his non-throwing shoulder, Fields was still feeling some pain early in the week during his follow-through.

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“It’s just some movements that I do with my arm, it hurts it,” Fields said.

If Fields sits, the Bears will start Trevor Siemian against the Jets — a team for which the veteran made one start in 2019 before a season-ending ankle injury.

Texans bench Mills for Allen

The Houston Texans benched Davis Mills and will start Kyle Allen at quarterback Sunday in Miami against the Dolphins. Coach Lovie Smith announced the decision.

“Reasons why, it’s like this for all positions … you always look for the best option that gives you the best chance to win,” he said. “And that’s where we are right now.”

Mills, who is in his second year, has struggled as the Texans have lost five games in a row. They are the only NFL team with just one win (1-8-1). Mills has thrown seven interceptions with just five touchdowns during Houston’s five-game skid.

Allen has not played this season, and his last appearance came on Dec. 26 of last season against Dallas while he was with Washington.

Chargers receiver Williams to sit

Los Angeles Chargers receiver Mike Williams has been ruled out for Sunday’s game at Arizona due to a nagging ankle injury.

Williams suffered a high sprain to the right ankle in an Oct. 23 loss against Seattle. He missed the next two games and played the first quarter last week against Kansas City before he re-injured the ankle on a 15-yard reception.

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“We felt like resting him this week would be the best course of action. He’s still day-to-day, but he will be out for this game,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said.

Injured wideouts still out for Broncos

Quarterback Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos’ offense will again be without receivers Jerry Jeudy (ankle) and KJ Hamler (hamstring) for their game Sunday at Carolina.

This will be the second straight game minus Jeudy and third in a row with Hamler on the sideline. Jeudy has caught three of Wilson’s seven touchdown passes this season, while Hamler has provided a deep threat.

“We want them out there when we can get them healthy,” Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said.

Browns to go without Newsome again

Cleveland starting cornerback Greg Newsome II will miss his second straight game with a concussion when the Browns host Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Newsome was injured last week when he collided with a teammate two days before the Browns lost to Buffalo. He hasn’t cleared NFL protocol and will sit out when Cleveland hosts Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.

Rookie Martin Emerson Jr. will make his second straight start in place of Newsome.

Packers rookie Rhyan earns PED ban

Green Bay Packers rookie offensive lineman Sean Rhyan was suspended by the NFL without pay for six games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. The penalty means the third-round draft pick out of UCLA must sit out the rest of the regular season.

Rhyan has participated in only one play this season and for no offensive snaps. He was active and appeared in one special-teams play on Nov. 6 in a 15-9 loss at Detroit. He dressed but didn’t play in five other games.

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Must-watch TV on Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving Day game between the Giants and Cowboys set the mark for the most-watched NFL regular-season game on record with an average of 42 million viewers, according to Nielsen. Average viewer record numbers date to 1988.

The night game between the Patriots and Vikings averaged 25.9 million, the second-highest audience for a Thanksgiving night contest, behind only Bears-Packers in 2015.