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SPORTS WEEKEND | NFL DAILY REPORT / AROUND THE LEAGUE

Aikman Returns to Practice

October 23, 1998| Times Wire Services

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman has returned to the practice field.

Aikman took snaps as the starting quarterback for the first time since he was sidelined because of a broken left collarbone during the second quarter of Denver's 42-23 victory over the Cowboys on Sept. 13.

Aikman said he experienced a little pain when throwing, but otherwise felt "pretty good."

"It's the first day. I'll get more practice time tomorrow [today] and next week. I need all the practice I can get. I feel confident about going out and playing," he said.

Aikman's collarbone won't be completely healed until after the season.

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St. Louis Rams quarterback Tony Banks did a little damage control on his image, saying comments he made after going AWOL for a day were misconstrued.

After a post-practice conversation with Coach Dick Vermeil and team owner Georgia Frontiere, who hugged Banks and told him he should display his emotions more, Banks briefly spoke to reporters.

"I tried to show I was moving on," Banks said. "By no means was I trying to say I don't care. I think my biggest thing is I care too much. I carry a lot of weight on my shoulders."

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After leading the Buffalo Bills to a come-from-behind win over Jacksonville, quarterback Doug Flutie will make his second consecutive start when the Bills play the Carolina Panthers Sunday night.

Regular starter Rob Johnson has not practiced since separating rib cartilage during an October 11 game against the Indianapolis Colts and will not play Sunday.

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The Tennessee Oilers announced that arthroscopic surgery will keep wide receiver Yancey Thigpen out of the lineup at least four weeks, but the damage was less than expected. "Basically, we were very fortunate. We expected significantly more damage than what we found," Coach Jeff Fisher said after doctors repaired Thigpen's knee. . . . Running back Tavian Banks (sprained foot) and defensive lineman Seth Payne (separated shoulder) will sit out Jacksonville's game Sunday against Denver because of injuries. . . . Jeff Nalley's involvement with Curtis Enis when the All-American running back was at Penn State has cost him a two-year suspension by the NFL Players Assn.

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