Week 1 is days away & the Bills appear to be healthy after a successful preseason. Despite the team reporting that the roster is mostly healthy, several players are still dealing with the effects of the preseason. Below is a list of players who have suffered injuries through the preseason. This is broken into 3 tiers to identify severity level and what to watch out for in the coming weeks.
Minor but noteworthy:
LB Corey Thompson- Groin
Thompson missed the Panthers as the result of a groin strain suffered during the Colts game. Groin injuries can linger if not addressed with rest & rehab. Considering Thompson is a backup & special teams contributor, the likelihood of re-injury is low.
WR Zay jones- Back soreness/hamstring
According to video, Jones appeared to be working through general back soreness early in camp. This was concerning as he had missed minicamp with undisclosed reasons. It was later revealed that he had been dealing with a hamstring issue that did not get re-aggravated during the preseason.
Jones was able to play a various positions during the preseason & played late into games. As a result, there is always concern that he could suffer an overuse injury. Hydration along with proper warm up will can reduce the chances the hamstring flares up.
S Micah Hyde- Neck
Hyde battled a neck injury early in camp, causing him to miss the Colts game. Looking back now, it appears that he suffered a mild strain. This isn’t likely to be a chronic or recurring issue, but still worth taking note. As he’s such a vital part of the secondary, any injury to Hyde is worth watching.
OG Quinton Spain- Thumb surgery/ankle contusion/foot soreness
Spain has battled several injuries since signing with the team in free agency. He first suffered a thumb injury which required surgery. Once training camp began, he dealt with foot soreness early in camp which forced him to miss some time. He appeared to be on the mend & play well until he got stepped on by RB Frank Gore during the Lions game.
This appears to be a bruise to the area that control the foot arch and help to push off during running. These muscles will also be effective in pushing forward to hold during blocking. For Spain, this shouldn’t be a long term issue. The only limitation will be if pain is still affecting him at that time. This shouldn’t be a problem for Week 1, but we don’t know every single bit of info that goes into the decision.
WR Andre Roberts- Quadriceps
Roberts suffered a quadriceps injury sometime during Monday’s practice. McDermott reports that he day-to-day which bodes well for his availability for Sunday. Considering that practice was stretching and individual drills, I suspect that he suffered more of a quadriceps strain. This could have been during a routine drill, stopping suddenly, or jumping for a ball. Without video or specific injury information, my assumption is that he will play Sunday and is out of precaution to ensure that he is healthy.
Worried but should be alright:
CB Tre’Davious White- Quadriceps contusion
White suffered a quadriceps contusion in the Lions game that initially appeared to be worse at first glance. After the injury, he was observed moving around on the sidelines without much difficulty and has since been able to practice without restriction. The quad contusion actually protects him from further injury at the moment as he may not have 100% function, but he won’t be able to push past it and overwork it. This isn’t something that typically lingers either, needs rest and proper healing.
TE Dawson Knox- Hamstring
Knox missed most of the preseason with a hamstring strain suffered early in camp. Hamstrings are tricky as even though they heal, they can be re-injured if the muscle group maxes out & fails. This is the problem as the player may feel good and then suffer a setback. I hope that Knox doesn’t have any further issues, but it’s far from a guarantee.
CB Taron Johnson- Groin
Johnson’s groin in itself isn’t the biggest concern, but rather his past injury history & his style of play. He missed the 2nd preseason game with the groin injury, but was able to play without apparent issues in the 3rd game. Groin issues can reoccur, especially with the positional demands of the cornerback position. However, with his torpedo type tackles and smaller frame, he may suffer further injuries this season unless he puts some finesse on his game to allow him to stay healthy.
G Spencer Long- MCL sprain
Long missed early parts of the preseason with what was described as “knee soreness”. However, he was seen with a compression sleeve followed by a hinge knee brace that provides lateral support to the knee which indicates he may have suffered a mild MCL sprain. These heal up quite well and as Long is a lineman who works in small spaces, he doesn’t rely on the MCL for cutting as much as a RB or CB would need. He shouldn’t have issues from this injury.
OT Ty Nsekhe- Knee sprain
Nsekhe is another player who suffered a “tweak” in his knee that caused him to miss parts of the preseason. On what the tweak is, hard to say without a mechanism of injury or further details. Considering his age and experience in the league, this may have been more precautionary. He, like Long, works in small spaces and should be able to perform his job without difficulty.
Can play, concerned for further issues:
WR Robert Foster- Turf toe/shoulder
Foster had an emergence last season after getting cut early on before changing his attitude and becoming a favorite target of QB Josh Allen’s. Foster was dealing with a shoulder injury early in camp that didn’t limit him but the turf toe that he has battled in the spring returned. Turf toe is a sprain of the great toe joint which is essential for push off during walking & balance. This is essential for sprinting as most of Foster’s activity is short bursts and pivots. He will most likely need a stiff sole or orthosis to restrict movement in the toe and frequent rehab to heal the injury & to prevent it from getting worse. He should be able to play Week 1, but he is coming in not quite 100%.
DE Jerry Hughes- Ankle/R hand/wrist
Hughes dealt with an ankle injury that limited him early in training camp but didn’t appear to be a factor during preseason games. It may have been general ankle soreness but more of a veteran rest injury. As for his wrist, he has worn a brace on the right side but hasn’t missed practice. It appears he injured it sometime during the win over the Panthers. Reviewing game film didn’t reveal any specific instance of injury. Having the wrist in a brace will limit his ability to hand-fight to get inside but shouldn’t affect the ability provide pressure. Wrist sprains in itself aren’t too concerning & should remedy within the next week barring any new information.
OT Conor McDermott- Concussion
While McDermott has been cleared from the concussion protocol, there is always a greater chance that he could suffer a future one later this season. From what I have found, this is his only documented NFL concussion, but his college career regarding injury is unknown. As he is a reserve player, the chances for concussion are less but still present.
C Mitch Morse- Concussion
Much has been said about Morse’s concussion including the moment when he sustained the injury back in late July. He has since cleared the protocol and returned to practice, but this is now his 4th documented concussion. It’s unknown if he will have further issues this season or if he has another concussion, only time will tell.
TE Tyler Kroft- R foot fx
Kroft has been working back from a fracture in his foot suffered during the first day of OTA’s back in the spring. Despite staying on the PUP all preseason, he made the 53 man roster and has been limited in practice though appearing to take part in individual drills. Video has shown the ability to push off the foot with conviction and pivot to turn up the field in the videos shown below. It appears that he will be ready soon, it may be a conditioning limitation at this point until he is fully ready to go. We may see him as soon as Week 3 for the home opener.
Despite the above mentioned players, outside of Roberts & Kroft, the team is actually very healthy. Understand that it will not stay this way, but there are several teams such as the Bengals who have been decimated by injury before Week 1. This can be a special year, the health of key players mentioned above will determine the course of the season.