The Buffalo Bills won a vitally important game towards remaining in playoff contention against the Kansas City Chiefs 16-10. However, most of the focus was spent on Monday’s report that WR Kelvin Benjamin is out with a torn meniscus and according to HC Sean McDermott, he is “day-to-day.” If you read my previous article, and you should, you will learn that meniscus injuries are not day-to-day, but at best week-to-week. Personally, I believe the Bills are downplaying the injury by trying to keep the fan base engaged and hopeful. Benjamin has not been a factor in the offense during the games he has been active. Yes, the Bills do lose a potential play maker, but his loss is less worrisome than when TE Charles Clay or CB E.J. Gaines went down with their respective injuries. The Bills sure do know how to sell hope; it’s their best asset after 17 years of subpar football.
Thankfully, the Bills did not lose anyone additional following the win. Those listed on the injury report not practicing today are as follows: OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), G John Miller (ankle), RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring), TE Nick O’Leary (back) and DE Eddie Yarbrough (chest). Those limited in practice are: TE Charles Clay (knee), WR Jordan Matthews (knee). Those full participants are: FB Patrick Dimarco (ankle).
For those not in the Buffalo area, the NBC news affiliate WGRZ had an article on tonight’s news with video of WR Kelvin Benjamin performing ladder drills on the sideline. This tells us two things. First, this indicates that he has not had surgery to the right knee. Second, this states that the meniscus tear is smaller in nature and improves the outlook for return to play. Depending on the location of the meniscus tear which I can safely assume is in the red-red or at worst, red-white area. This is areas with the greatest blood supply, allowing for a better chance at recovery for return to play.
When interviewed by WGRZ, Benjamin states that he is feeling better and will definitely play later this season. I believe this still to be the case if he heals up and if the Bills are still in contention for a wild card spot. Benjamin can walk and run right now with a meniscus tear including performing ladder drills. If he attempts to pivot, sprint, jump, or try to extend his knee to land, his knee may lock up or catch, causing immediate pain and could worsen the meniscus tear, leading to a more complex rehab process. This is not a pain issue, but a functional issue that can worsen if not managed correctly. He could come back at the earliest for the Colts or Dolphins game if things progress really well.
Cordy Glenn may be able to come back soon as he has missed the past three games indicating that this may be a re-aggravation of whatever he has going on. However, reports state that he may also be shut down for the season. This clearly shows that he is not healthy. As the team is tight lipped on what is occurring it is hard to speculate what a viable return to play protocol can be for him. I will continue to monitor and determine if there is any change in his status or information regarding his injury.
Miller continues to be a non-factor and it appears he injured his ankle in a practice which has limited his availability. Tolbert continues to nurse a hamstring pull sustained in the Saints game, but with the change of pace play of RB Tarvaris Cadet, he has become more expendable and does not appear to rushing back to play. The Bills also have FB Patrick Dimarco which allows Tolbert to return to full health, but could potentially leave him jobless in the off-season.
O’Leary is a new addition to the injury report with a back injury. Upon video review, O’Leary was able to catch a pass halfway through the 4th quarter and then did not appear to be any other chance at injury. He may be dealing with general back soreness or recovering from a hit that precluded him from practice as a precaution. I do not expect him to miss any time for next week.
Yarbrough is also added to the injury report with a chest injury. He left at the end of the 3rd quarter and did not return. Upon video review, there was no instances where he was down on the ground or saw that he suffered any injury to his chest. Speculating on why he did not practice, he may have pulled his pectoral muscle which assists with pushing and horizontal adduction or pulling his arm in towards midline. He may have also suffered a contusion to the area; he did pressure QB Alex Smith several times and laid a solid hit on him late in the 3rd. I do not anticipate that he will miss any time.
Clay does not appear to be 100% recovered from his knee injury sustained in the Cincinnati game, but his game has not been affected as a result. He may be dealing with the chronic knee issue that he dealt with all last season, but considering that Clay’s type of injury usually takes longer to be 100%, it is most likely the most recent one. His play suggests that limited participation in practice is related to getting him the reps he needs but limit the chance of re-injury.
Matthews appears to be on the med after injuring his knee a few weeks ago but does not appear limited in running his routes or coming up lame in any of his plays. He was able to play in 62% of the offensive snaps and appears on the better side of the injury he is currently dealing with.
Finally, FB Patrick DiMarco is listed with an ankle injury but was a full participant. Looking at video and snap counts, he played in 25% of the snaps plus saw time on special teams. There wasn’t anything on video that suggested any injury and may just be dealing with a tweaked ankle which requires observation without limitation in practice.
Going into Sunday’s game against the Patriots at home allows for the Bills to have a shot at winning, but everyone must be healthy, the team must play above it’s abilities, and some luck will be required. The Patriots are beatable, this is the NFL, its any given Sunday! Despite all that is wrong with this season, the Bills are still relatively healthy compared to other teams in the league. The difference is when the Bills starters go down, the backups are not high quality as you would find on other teams such as the Patriots, Steelers, or Packers. Hopefully this will change in the coming years, but the Bills are not there yet.
Continue to check back for regular updates and future articles. Follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88 for real time updates and my thoughts as news breaks. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!