The Bills enter the 2nd half of the season in the friendly confines of New Era Field with 5 of their next 8 games at home and hopes that the 2nd half is better than the first. We all knew that this season would be a step back, but none of us are ever truly ready for the enormity of the situation when a season goes off the rails. However, with a favorable schedule and home field advantage, this is the opportunity that the Bills can use to regain some respect and build for the future. Today’s post will break down the injuries prior to Sunday’s game.
The past several weeks has been tough dealing with several key injuries which has made this season harder to digest. Ruled out already as a result of Monday’s loss include QB Derek Anderson (concussion) & LB Tremaine Edmunds (concussion). Anderson suffered his late in the 4th quarter with the game essentially over and Edmunds sustained his sometime in the first half. Both were unable to practice during the week which is standard protocol while in the concussion protocol until they have worked their way up to tolerating mild exercise without symptom reproduction. The fact that they haven’t practiced doesn’t always equate to a more severe concussion, but rather that each concussion is unique and is on its own timeline. As it was a short week, both players will have another week to recover. It stands to reason that they could be ready next week against the Jets. Starting in place is QB Nathan Peterman & LB Julian Stanford, respectively.
Others ruled out include DE Trent Murphy (knee) & QB Josh Allen (elbow). Murphy suffered a right MCL sprain in the waning minutes of the Colts loss and has not practiced in two weeks. He may be practicing on a limited basis at best this coming week but I really don’t expect to see him return until after the bye. These types of injuries take 2-6 weeks to heal and considering his previous contralateral ACL injury, the training staff is not rushing him back. Thankfully the defense is playing lights out and can absorb his loss until he is ready to return.
The biggest change in the injury report is by far that QB Josh Allen is practicing on a limited basis. If you are reading my articles, you will have seen that he will not be ready until after the bye. This still stands true at this time. The reason he is limited is due to the fact that he is cleared for conditioning as outlined in rehab protocols for conservative management. He is most likely not having pain at rest or with simple movements which would let him to run with a normal motion, allowing the upper body to move naturally. In between this conditioning, he still continues to perform activities and exercises that encourage strengthening of the wrist and shoulder with healing to the medial elbow.
Within the next two weeks, Allen will ideally begin a throwing program, allowing him to slowly ramp up the speed and distance of his throws. If he begins having pain, training staff would back him off and reduce activity until pain is gone with activity and resume the program when ready. At no point will there be an opportunity for Allen to air it out to “see how it feels”. There is a systematic approach towards his recovery and the training staff will not deviate from this. I expect the rookie signal caller to be practicing on a limited basis into the bye. Pending his progress, he could be ready to play but not be 100% for the Jaguars game. The team may also continue to limit him until they are comfortable that he can perform to his maximum ability potentially causing further missed time. Overall, I believe he will return after the bye and regain his starting job.
It does not appear that there are any other injuries that were not on the injury report but could limit player effectiveness. RB LeSean McCoy is still recovering from his cracked rib cartilage from earlier this season, but his ineffectiveness is more due to the offensive line and play calling rather than his maladies. Many other players are dealing with minor injuries that they continue to play through, minimizing their time missed.
The Bills have to get through the bye, heal up a little bit, and can hopefully attack the rest of the season to end on a high note. Injuries are a part of the game, but thankfully we continue to avoid the ACL’s, Achilles, fractures, and freak accidents that can destroy a season. The Bills will get through this, they always do. As the front office build for the future, these losses now will begin to turn into wins in future seasons as their core players continue to gel and they get players to execute the game plan. This season will come to define “The Process” when we look back years from now, hopefully with a Lombardi trophy in view. I believe the Bills will snap this 3 game losing streak and send the Bears to a 4-4 record. Despite its offensive shortcomings, the Bills still have talent that can produce.
This completes another Bills injury preview. Continue to check back for the latest Bills injury news coming out of One Bills Drive. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills, and online at www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!