Browns' HIllis practicing

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BEREA, Ohio (AP) -- Injured Browns running back Peyton Hillis carried the ball in practice and could be close to returning.

Hillis has missed six consecutive games with a strained hamstring he first injured on Oct. 16 in Oakland. He was poised to return three weeks ago, but aggravated the hamstring during practice. Earlier this week, Browns coach Pat Shurmur ruled Hillis out for this Sunday's game at Cincinnati, but the bruising back's status could change.

During the portion of practice open to reporters, Hillis participated in team drills, taking at least one handoff.

Hillis' second season with the Browns has been loaded with drama. He expressed disappointment at not getting a contract extension and missed one game with strep throat on the advice of his agent.