The Bills showed up and did their job. That’s the most important take away of Sunday. But there were several injuries that really had the fan base shook up, specifically at the linebacker corps. There were also some concerns about the Bills ability to pull away in the second half, letting the Jets get back into the game, albeit briefly. Below are the injuries & severity.
S Micah Hyde (left ankle)
Hyde went down late in the first quarter while attempting to change directions to bat down a Sam Darnold throw & came down with a lower leg injury. Video isn’t the best, but an explosion of rubber pellets as Hyde jumped from the turf shows him attempting to bat the ball to his right. He came down and was having issues with his left ankle, hopping off briefly before returning. He later had it heavily taped up for the second half.
He may have tweaked the ankle just prior to jumping by quickly changing directions. It appeared it was more of a pain issue than anything else because he was moving fairly well the rest of the game. This appears to be a garden variety sprain, whether its lateral or medial, based on how he was jumping, possibly medial. This could change though with other video angles. This is probably not an injury that will end up on the injury report; he may feel the effects of it for a few games but it’s not something that typically causes long term issues despite his position unless he suffers a re-injury which I am not concerned about.
LB Matt Milano (right hamstring)
Milano was a surprise addition to the injury report during the game with a hamstring due to him being shown on the sidelines talking to trainers and then walking slowly into the tunnel later. The initial incident wasn’t apparent until going back to the game footage. With just under a minute left in the 2nd quarter, Milano managed to tackle Jets WR Jamison Crowder out of bounds with his body swinging towards the sidelines as he took down Crowder. He attempted to stay on his feet, keeping his right leg up, landing in a half kneeling position. Considering he was trying to stop the forward momentum, it’s possible this is when he injured the hamstring trying to stop. This may be more of a proximal strain, which means that it’s closer to the buttocks.
The other possibility is the next play where he once again took Crowder down but the tackle doesn’t appear to suggest that he would have strained the hamstring on this play. He may have felt it starting to tighten up and pulled himself out.
Considering the game was just about out of hand, it appeared wise to pull him out of the game. This was also an opportunity to get some of the backups vital reps that they simply did not get during the preseason.
He has since been classified as day-to-day and it’s very possible that Milano misses the next game against Miami. He could return as soon as after 1 game or could miss 2-3 based on severity. Once he strings together some limited and full practices, then we will know how severe the injury was and when he will return. If I had to pick a game to miss, I’d be alright with this one. I’d expect LB Andre Smith to be called up from the practice squad for Sunday.
LB Tremaine Edmunds (right shoulder)
The entire fanbase grew really concerned when Edmunds went to the injury tent midway through the 3rd quarter following the Crowder TD. He fell hard on his right shoulder while trying to make the tackle. He was in on the extra point but didn’t have to do much in the backfield.
He had to remove his shoulder pads to receive a full assessment, eventually going to the locker room before returning without his pads. Based on video, it looks like he suffered a hard fall onto the shoulder. His arm wasn’t out to brace the fall, he didn’t require immediate attention and he did not require any wrap or sling on the shoulder.
He was also observed later in the locker room with the arm at his side but not supported or in obvious distress. He may have fell hard onto the shoulder and it simply be a contusion or it could be an AC joint sprain.
A contusion is more pain limiting, same goes for a mild AC joint sprain. He could get an injection for the AC joint if it’s bothering him next week but it’s something that can be played through.
There are other possibilities such as a labrum tear or rotator cuff sprain, but that won’t be known without further information. The only way we know if there is greater damage is if he’s wearing bracing or reports stating otherwise.
Right now, it appears that Edmunds dodged a bullet and is currently day-to-day.
LB Tyrel Dodson (not specified)
Dodson was the last linebacker to go down with an injury though it isn’t quite apparent what he was dealing with. From the video, it appeared that he simply got the wind knocked out of him trying to complete the tackle. He was down while trainers tended to him but he was able to get up under his own power. This may have been more of a scare due to the lack of depth at the position by that point, but unless more information is released, this doesn’t appear to be of any concern. Once again, he is also day-to-day.
LB Del’Shawn Phillips (quadriceps)
Little is known about Phillips, reports came down shortly after Hyde’s ankle injury that he was questionable to return with a quadriceps injury in the 2nd quarter. It is not readily apparent on broadcast when he suffered the injury. Typically I’ve seen quad injuries as either a strain or contusion. This is just a very meaty portion in the upper leg that can absorb some contact. He has since been listed day-to-day. I believe practice will tell more of his availability for next week.
CB Josh Norman (left hamstring)
A lot changed from my last article when Norman was ruled out of the game to when he was placed on IR. Fortunately the rules are different and allow a player to return after 3 weeks rather than the normal 8 weeks. Had this occurred in a normal season, the team likely doesn’t make this move.
He will have the time to rest & rehab at this point. If this hamstring was more of a Grade 2, then 6 weeks total is more appropriate for him to return closer to 100%. It must be noted that Grade 2 hamstrings can take up to 8 weeks to fully heal. If it was a Grade 1 with reaggravation, then he could also get healthy within the timeframe which could be the more ideal situation. I am concerned for re-injury regardless of each scenario. We will have to see when he gets reactivated & his practice participation to when he can realistically play.
DT Vernon Butler (hamstring)
Butler was held out of the season opener likely as a precaution due to the weather since the rain could have exacerbated the hamstring. He did practice in full last week which is a great sign, but this also likely means that he should be able to play next week in Miami. The big thing for Butler will be to stay hydrated in order to avoid a re-injury due to the heat.
Each injury in itself wasn’t all that concerning when isolated, but seeing 2 out of 3 starters and 4 of 6 total linebackers go down with injury is expectedly scary. All with the exception of Milano should return to play Sunday. Despite the team being conservative with hamstrings, there may be a possibility that Milano suits up. Impossible to determine until the practice report comes out later this week. Even with these injuries, the Bills still have excellent depth to overcome these brief deficits as they head into Week 2 against the Dolphins.
Photo Credit: AP