Buffalo Bills tight end Scott Chandler sure did not look Thursday like a guy who just 4½ months ago was laying on an operating table having major knee surgery.

Chandler was running brisk pass routes and catching throws from rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel in the Bills’ fieldhouse after the team’s spring practice. If you looked closely maybe you could have seen that his cuts were not as sharp as normal. Maybe. He was running hard. He looked good, and he came off the field in a full sweat.

“The knee feels really good,” Chandler said. “I feel great. Running routes, you guys saw, I don’t know that it’s 100-percent but it’s better than most so I’m feeling good.”

Chandler’s full return by the time the Bills open the season in September is important to the team’s offense.

At 6-foot-7 and 263 pounds, he is a big target with a huge wingspan and a security blanket for Buffalo’s quarterbacks. That’s especially key given the Bills’ youth at the wide receiver position, where Stevie Johnson returns as the only sure-fire, proven commodity.

Chandler caught a career-high 43 passes last season, tied for second most on the team. His 571 receiving yards were second only to Johnson’s 1,046. He has 12 touchdown catches over the past two years, the most ever by a Bills tight end over a two-year stretch.

Chandler tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee at Miami last Dec. 23. He had surgery on it Jan. 9. The rehabilitation time for the surgery normally is seven to 10 months. Chandler feels good about his chances of practicing when Bills training camp opens in late July.

“I feel it’s realistic,” he said. “The injury is different than it used to be. The doctors are better. And I have to attribute some of this to I’m a Christian guy. God is the ultimate healer. Just put your faith in him and see how it goes.”

“This is probably my third week,” Chandler said, referring to when he started running pass routes. “I’m just kind of ramping it up each week. I’ve just been running ’em without ball and I started to catch the ball now too. So I feel good.”