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Buffalo Bills are getting one of their best defensive players back tonight vs. 49ers

Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester) logo Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester) 12/7/2020 Sal Maiorana, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
a group of football players playing a football game: Bills linebacker Matt Milano steps up to the line of scrimmage against the Rams. © JAMIE GERMANO/ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE Bills linebacker Matt Milano steps up to the line of scrimmage against the Rams.

When the Buffalo Bills take the field at State Farm Stadium Monday night to play the San Francisco 49ers, they will do so at close to full health.

The Bills had a remarkably short injury list for this Week 13 game and the only frontline players who won’t be available are wide receiver John Brown and guard Cody Ford who is on the injured reserve list.

And things got even better Monday afternoon when the team activated linebacker Matt Milano from injured reserve.

It’s unknown how much Milano will play, but there’s a chance he’ll see limited action in certain passing down situations while A.J. Klein plays the bulk of the snaps.

When he first tried to play with his pectoral injury after missing two games, he was on the field for only 19 snaps against the Jets and 15 against the Patriots.

More: Prime-time will be where the Bills live for the next month, starting Monday vs. 49ers

Still, whatever Milano can give the defense should be a boost because he’s such a good coverage linebacker as compared to Klein who is better-suited to playing against the run or being used as a blitzer as he leads the Bills with five sacks.

a baseball player pitching a ball on a field: Bills linebacker Matt Milano goes up for an interception on a pass intended for Jets receiver Jamison Crowder. © JAMIE GERMANO/ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE Bills linebacker Matt Milano goes up for an interception on a pass intended for Jets receiver Jamison Crowder.

It is a vastly different situation for the 49ers who have been missing some of their best players for varying amounts of time, several for most of the season. They include quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, tight end George Kittle, and defensive linemen Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, Ezekiel Ansah, and Dee Ford, among others.

They do have wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk back and they will play together for just the fourth time this season. Also, running back Raheem Mostert will be playing in just his sixth game this season and it’s just the third time all year that Samuel, Aiyuk and Mostert have played in the same game.

Buffalo's inactive list includes defensive end Trent Murphy, tight end Tyler Kroft, running back T.J. Yeldon and quarterback Jake Fromm.

This is the third time this year that Murphy has been inactive, while Kroft is inactive as he was last week. There has been enough said about Murphy and the waste of money he has been this season. Rookie A.J. Epenesa has started to make progress, and the Bills clearly feel they're better off getting him some game action as opposed to Murphy who almost surely won't be on the team next season.

Kroft's time in Buffalo has been disrupted by injury and uninspiring play and after seeing some improvement in the running game last week with blocking tight end Lee Smith active, the Bills are sticking with that plan.

As for the playoff race, the Bills need to win to remain in sole possession of first place in the AFC East. Miami improved to 8-4 Sunday with a ho-hum victory over hapless Cincinnati, though even if Buffalo were to lose, it still holds a tiebreaker advantage on the Dolphins.

Right now, the Bills are sitting in the third seed on the AFC side of the playoff bracket thanks to Tennessee’s loss to Cleveland, but again, a loss would knock the Bills back down to fourth.

Sal Maiorana can be reached at maiorana@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana. 

More: Bills to play 49ers on Monday at home of Cardinals, site of Hail Mary loss two weeks ago

This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Buffalo Bills are getting one of their best defensive players back tonight vs. 49ers

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