Buffalo Bills Preseason Game 1 Injury Review- Detroit Lions

The Bills have won yet another preseason game, now on a six-game winning streak since last losing in 2018 against the Cincinnati Bengals in the third game. While it’s great to see the Bills win in the preseason, the fact that the team avoided known major injury is infinitely more beneficial. Below are the observed injuries from Friday’s game along with Sunday’s practice updates detailing out any other injuries not immediately known after the game.

In-game injuries:

Isaiah Hodgins (left knee)

Video is limited as the NFL continues to update Game Pass, but from what could be observed, Hodgins caught a 13-yard reception going out of bounds with 14:11 left in the 3rd quarter. He stayed in for at least one more play before exiting and then word came down that he was ruled out for the remainder of the night.

Following the game, Jon Scott of Spectrum TV observed Hodgins walking off the field with a minor limp but in no obvious discomfort. Based on the video, it appears as though he injured his left knee observing his walking pattern. Going back to the play looking at a camera view from the end zone, he landed hard on his left knee, likely causing the injury. 

This doesn’t appear to be anything more than a contusion, but Sean McDermott did say at Sunday’s practice that they’re taking his injury one day at a time as he deals with swelling and such. That wording doesn’t change my initial thoughts, but how much practice he’ll miss remains to be seen. 

Antonio Williams (stinger)

Williams exited the game briefly with what the team designated as a stinger following a fumble with 7:09 left in the 3rd quarter. It is difficult to see whether he was hit in the head or shoulder and which side as he disappeared into a sea of bodies before the ball popped out. Stingers are transient in most cases and the fact that he was cleared to return indicates that this was minor.

Williams doesn’t have a known history of stingers, however, collegiate injury histories are at times incomplete. Hopefully, this was a one-off occurrence and this doesn’t appear again later in the season.

Damar Hamlin (cramping)

Hamlin exited the game briefly with what appeared to be cramping in his legs with 2:25 left in the 4th quarter. He was observed getting stretched by the training staff and quickly returned. As it’s still relatively warm out, cramping, especially late into games is of no surprise. 

Tommy Sweeney (lower leg)

Sweeney missed practice Sunday and was seen in a walking boot. The side was not specified in media reports, but looking at the video, Sweeney exited the game with 7:32 left in the 4th quarter. This was following a kickoff following the second Lions touchdown. 

Sweeney makes a routine block and doesn’t appear to be kicked or stepped on. However, as he walks off the field, he hops onto his right leg and lifts his left foot up in discomfort and does not return. 

By video, it’s difficult to identify the specifics of the injury other than it’s the left side. Further information will have to be revealed, but it is important to note that he had foot surgery last year prior to training camp. Anecdotal reports noted him having a left foot injury, but this was never officially confirmed by the team or media reports.

Hopefully last year’s injury does not have anything to do with this year’s injury. More information will have to be known before coming to such conclusions. 

Other observations:

Duke Williams (hamstring)

Williams was a surprise to see playing in the game despite suffering a hamstring injury earlier in the week. He played in 40 percent of the offensive snaps finishing with 0 receptions on 3 targets. While the severity of the hamstring strain appears mild, the fact that Williams had to play knowing that his roster spot is tenuous at best, indicates that he knows what’s at stake. It’s possible the hamstring lingers as camp continues, but for his sake, he can’t afford any further setbacks. 

Zack Moss (right hamstring)

Moss did not suit up on Friday, but an important note that Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic noted in the pregame commentary stated that Moss was 50-50 to play according to McDermott. This is important considering he injured the hamstring on August 9th.

The fact that he returned to practice Sunday is also an excellent indicator, but something to monitor as camp progresses. Also on Sunday, McDermott went on to state that there’s hope that Moss can play in Saturday’s game against the Bears and that he has a ways to go. 

Finally, Jon Scott of Spectrum News took video of Moss working off to the side showing tape on his right posterior thigh, indicating the injured side. 

Stefon Diggs (knee)

Diggs hasn’t practiced since the second open practice on August 7th and still little is known regarding the specifics of the injury. Sean McDermott doesn’t believe that this is something that will linger into the season, but without more details, it’s hard to say. 

Emmanuel Sanders (foot)

While Sanders has returned to practice, he did not play Friday and is still working through his foot injury sustained on August 4th. Like Diggs, little is known regarding his injury. He continues to do work off to the side which makes it sound like they don’t want to aggravate anything by getting him back into team drills too quickly. 

Christian Wade (shoulder)

He didn’t play Friday but on the post game show of Shout! The Buffalo football podcast, Matt Parrino noted that Wade has been walking around the facility with a sling. However, he did not state how recently this was. He didn’t specify which side but that leads me to believe there is some type of instability which is not a great sign for Wade. 

It has been at least 10 days which would be adequate time for an A/C joint sprain to begin to heal which has me thinking of other possibilities. While this is speculation, it’s curious and at times concerning that Wade hasn’t been able to return to the sidelines in some capacity for working out. 

Mike Love/Bug Howard (undisclosed)

Both did not play Friday and there are reports they were injured but specifics are currently unknown. It isn’t clear whether they returned to practice Sunday.

Overall, while there are injuries, the only ones to really note are Diggs and Moss with a lesser concern regarding Sweeney, Hodgins, and Sanders. More information will have to be made available, but there is just under one month before the start of the regular season which is still a decent amount of time for players to get healthy. 

Top Photo Credit: BillsWire.USAToday.com