FOOTBALL IS BACK!!
The Bills face the New York Jets on Sunday in a much-needed distraction from what 2020 has become. As expected due to the truncated offseason, both teams are entering the game with several injuries. Fortunately, the Bills appear to be the healthier of the two teams. Today’s post will focus on the Bills injuries as they always do. If time was to be spent on the Jets, we would be getting into making this a chapter book. For easy reference, see the Jets injury report below.
As for the Bills, there are several injuries on the defensive side of the ball that could challenge the depth that the front office has worked so hard to build up. Below is each player’s status & injury.
CB Josh Norman (left hamstring strain)
He has officially been ruled out of Sunday’s matchup against the Jets despite injuring his hamstring more than 3 weeks ago. This is regrettable as he appeared to be on track up until this week.
This tells us several things about the injury.
- It was possibly more severe than originally thought. This strain could be a Grade 2 which can take 4-8 weeks on average to recover.
- He may have suffered a Grade 1 but re-injured it on Monday, the last practice that he participated in. He had looked well in video running through drills, but still had the leg wrapped.
- This also potentially resets the timeline of when he will return. 1-3 weeks is a typical timeline for Grade 1 strains, but if it’s a Grade 2, he may only be half better by now. Or if it was a Grade 1 with reinjury, he may have to restart his rehab which could mean that he misses 2-3 weeks.
Defensive backs make up 23% of hamstring strains when compared to other positions and 12% of all training camp injuries are hamstrings. Norman was just outside the 2-week window where re-injury is at its highest but that window is still open for up to 4 weeks from the onset of the injury. Next week will show where he may be in terms of recovery and availability.
These are frequent injuries seen in training camp & occur even without abnormal preseasons. He may not be 100%, but considering he has a specialized role on special teams, he could be effective in limited action. It will be important to note how effective running & cutting can be, especially when cutting to the left, pivoting off the right knee. could be continuing to deal with issues especially cutting, could limit his return ability. Jones has dealt with numerous injuries before, this will be yet another injury he plays through.
DT Vernon Butler (hamstring)
Not much more can be said about hamstrings that haven’t been mentioned already for Butler. He practiced in full which indicates that he is likely to play Sunday. He has the added benefit of being in a rotation on the defensive line which will limit fatigue & overuse throughout the game.
He won’t have to work up to top-end speed like Wallace & Norman do but he will have the responsibilities of trying to drive through and around his blocker which will force the hip into extension. This is a primary function of the hamstring which could cause problems if he does too much. He will likely play but there is concern that he re-injures it.
CB Levi Wallace (hamstring)
Fortunately for the CB2 position, Wallace is active & will get the start Sunday. He suffered his hamstring strain shortly after Josh Norman went down with an injury.
The only difference between Wallace & Norman was the designations upon injury. Wallace was listed day-to-day whereas Norman was week-to-week. Hamstrings continue to be a common injury early in training camps & early-season games. Hopefully, Wallace does not suffer a re-injury due to fatigue & puts this injury behind him.
RB Taiwan Jones (right knee)
Jones has been dealing with the injury since August 26th as camp was wrapping up. Reports indicated that he stepped awkwardly and went down, requiring trainers to tend to him. Without video, it’s hard to get a true gauge on the injury. But based on the wording, he could be possibly dealing with an MCL sprain or meniscus tear. I’m leaning towards the MCL due to the shorter timeframe that he has been limited.
Remaining injuries on IR:
G Jon Feliciano (left pectoral tear)
He continues to work back from his injury, recently ditching the sling early last week indicating that he is on track with rehab. Based on his timeline, he has one month to get in NFL shape & strength which is a really tall order. If the Bills get off to a great start, then this can allow Feliciano to take the time he truly needs to return & not rush back, risking the possibility of re-injury.
TE Tommy Sweeney (left foot fracture)
Sweeney is on the PUP list with the foot fracture & is not able to come back until Week 6 at the earliest. As midseason gets closer, we will have an idea of a Week 7 return is realistic or if he will need more time to fully get back into shape.
This is incredibly tricky due to the fluid nature of the practice squad list. However, there still has to be several inactives.
CB Josh Norman
G Ike Boettger
QB Jake Fromm
RB TJ Yeldon
TE Reggie Gilliam
WR Isaiah McKenzie
Fortunately, the Bills are in much better shape than the Jets coming into the game. The true test will be managing the workloads of all the players & not exacerbating or creating any new soft tissue injuries. I expect a Bills win not only due to talent but overall health. It is simply wonderful that football is back & can provide some sort of normalcy in an already crazy world.