The Buffalo Bills head west to take on the Chicago Bears Saturday evening looking for their seventh consecutive preseason win! While the entire team does travel, there will be a number of players not suiting up once again with several due to injury. Below is all the known information regarding the Bills injuries along with any concerns for Chicago heading into the game.
These are either injuries that the players have not practiced in the past week or are not cleared.
Forrest Lamp (calf)
Lamp has not practiced since July 31st and while there is a lot of training camp left, his time to make a mark is fleeting. It still isn’t known which calf he injured in the first open practice to fans, but whatever the severity is, this isn’t helping his case.
Isaiah Hodgins (left knee)
Hodgins exited Friday’s game following a catch going out of bounds, appearing to land on his left knee. He stayed in the next play before realizing something was wrong and was done for the night.
Sean McDermott noted that he has swelling they are trying to manage and see how he responds before they get him back out there. This would suggest that this was at least a contusion, especially how hard he hit on the turf. He could have injured a bursa sac which assists in reducing friction and cushion pressure points in the joints. A direct blow to this area likely caused localized swelling to the area and if not managed correctly, can become problematic throughout the season.
He will unfortunately miss the game against Chicago but barring new information, should be able to play in the final preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.
Marquel Lee (COVID)
Lee was on the COVID reserve list since August 10th and returned on August 19th. Whether he was vaccinated or not, this missed time only continues to hurt his chances to make the roster, especially with the depth at the position. That amount of time out wouldn’t allow for the ability to play Saturday.
Tommy Sweeney (foot)
Sweeney has not practiced since Friday’s game in Detroit when he left midway through the 4th quarter. This occurred following Detroit’s second touchdown when Sweeney was on kickoff. He was observed walking off the sidelines hopping briefly on his right foot that suggests that he somehow injured his left foot.
He was in a walking boot at practice the next day but the side the boot is on has not been confirmed. If this is indeed the left foot, this appears to be the same foot that he dealt with last offseason that cost him the first half of the season before myocarditis from COVID appeared. More information will have to be known, but this is not good news for Sweeney as he continues to fight for a roster spot.
Christian Wade (shoulder)
Wade finally returned to practice Thursday following being out of practice dating back to August 5th. The only updates prior were that he had been in the facility with a sling on according to Matt Parrino of NYUP.com. To be in a sling that long indicates there is some type of instability that suggests a rotator cuff issue, labrum, or A/C joint sprain. There could be other possibilities, but further information would be required to speculate further.
On Thursday, he was see working on conditioning off to the side. Like others on the list, each day he misses lessens his chance at making the active roster. Hopefully we will see his 2021 debut against the Packers.
Stefon Diggs (knee)
Sean McDermott continues to state that Diggs’ knee injury is not something they expect to have linger into the season, but he has now missed practice dating back to August 9th. Prior to that, he had practiced August 7th, was off August 6th, and practiced in full August 5th.
This was the only report that was publicly known that indicates there was any type of injury to Diggs, but it does not appear to have involved his knee based on the wording below.
Whether this is an overuse injury, minor sprain, or something else, the team isn’t divulging any information. When he has been on the sidelines, he has not had any bracing on the knee or any visible swelling to either knee. He has not been observed doing any conditioning drills or even out at practice this past week. McDermott did note that they’re looking to get him back on the field next week. Teams aren’t required to give injury reports during preseason, but the Bills have at least detailed out what players missed practice and for what reason.
Looking even further, his publicly reported injury history reveals knee injuries in 2016 and 2018, missing a combined one game. He also dealt with knee soreness in the preseason last year, but he quickly returned to practice without further incident. The details of the knee injuries are not specific to which side nor the type of injury he suffered at the time.
The specifics of the knee injury remain murky and publicly reported information provides few leads. More information is needed, something that may not be provided for some time.
These players have not been ruled questionable, rather they have either been dealing with injury recently or it is a true question as to whether they will play.
Mike Love (undisclosed)
Love did not suit up for Friday’s game and has been out of practice since with an undisclosed injury. Friday’s report was the first instance that I had found that there was some type of injury affecting him. He has had a long, complex history with injuries, but he was at least able to participate in conditioning Tuesday.
Mitch Morse (leg)
Morse was off to the side Tuesday with trainers briefly while they addressed his needs before returning to practice without missing a step. According to Matt Parrino, trainers examined and worked on his leg, side not specified, for 45 seconds to 1 minute before Morse returned to practice. Excluding the concussion history, Morse has been relatively healthy which is an overall good thing when it comes to his availability. Unless there is more information, this appears to be a non-factor.
Jaquan Johnson (knee)
Johnson did not practice Tuesday and was seen in street clothes off to the side. He was finally designated as a knee on Thursday despite being able to practice Sunday and Monday along with playing most of the game Friday. He was observed coming off the field with his helmet off following kickoff, but he quickly returned and there weren’t any further updates after that.
There is also nothing easily observed on film that suggests injury which might indicate this setback may have occurred in practice. Johnson is battling for a depth safety role and a place on special teams; ideally he doesn’t miss more time.
Antonio Williams (stinger)
Williams suffered a stinger in Friday’s game that when he was hit, forced a fumble and a brief exit from the game. He quickly returned, then missed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday’s practice. He returned to practice Thursday, though only conditioning off to the side. While stingers can be brief, I expect that he had a lot of soreness and even some difficulty with either head or shoulder movements initially.
Taking the time off of practice to fully rest was the correct move and as long as he doesn’t suffer a recurrence, then there is little concern moving forward. I anticipate that he suits up for Saturday.
Treyvon Hester (undisclosed)
Hester was not at practice Tuesday or Thursday and did not appear to suffer any known injuries in Friday’s contest. More information will have to be made known to determine any type of timeline for Hester.
Cody Ford (non-COVID illness)
Ford missed practice Thursday with a non-COVID illness. Depending on how he recovers will determine if he is available Saturday. Up to this point, Ford has had an excellent camp.
Dion Dawkins (COVID)
Dawkins has been working back into shape since coming off the COVID reserve list last week. He detailed out his harrowing experience with the virus which was really sobering to hear.
Sean McDermott stated that Dawkins would play, though I expect that he only plays several series as he gets his feet under him when it comes to conditioning.
Zack Moss (right hamstring)
Coming off a mild right hamstring strain, it was officially declared that Moss would play Saturday night in Chicago. While this hamstring strain could linger, this appears to be truly a mild case and has a lower chance to occur again. Like Dawkins, I expect that he only sees a few series early on in the game.
Chicago Bears noted injuries:
Justin Fields (groin soreness)
Fields reportedly was dealing with groin tightness earlier this week and the team has been exercising caution as not to aggravate anything. He returned to practice the next day and head coach Matt Nagy reported that he would play Saturday, however, his time may be limited if his groin does not cooperate.
David Montgomery (general soreness)
Like Fields, Montgomery is dealing with some general soreness after briefly playing against the Dolphins last week in their preseason opener. He returned to practice on Tuesday without restrictions.
I would expect Montgomery to get several series and then have an early exit to present any aggravation of a lower body injury. Going back to last year, Montgomery suffered a groin strain early on that slowed him out of the gates, but once healthy, took off for over 1,000 yards.
Roquan Smith (groin)
While Smith did return to practice Wednesday, he is still coming off the groin injury that he has been working through since August 7th. Considering he didn’t play in the first preseason game, I would expect that he gets several series to knock the rust off and to prevent any aggravation of injury.
Robert Quinn (ankle)
Quinn suffered an ankle injury against the Dolphins last week. Along with Roquan Smith dealing with a groin injury of his own, I would expect the team to be cautious in rolling out all their starting linebackers so they will be ready for the season opener. I would not expect to see Quinn in any capacity.
Allen Robinson (hamstring)
Robinson has been working through a hamstring strain suffered last week in camp and has been limited in practice. Considering he is on a franchise tag and this is a meaningless game, I would not be surprised if he sits this one out. He can’t afford to suffer any injuries that will impact his market worth at the end of the season.
Teven Jenkins (back surgery)
Jenkins has been battling a back injury all training camp and has yet to have meaningful snaps. On Wednesday, it was reported that he required back surgery and that he would be out indefinitely, but the goal was to bring him back this season. Based on the wording of the information, it appears as though he had a herniated disc, requiring a microdiscectomy.
He won’t be available for the preseason game and even when he does come back, I would be concerned about his effectiveness to play consistently. I expect that this year will be trying to get up to NFL speed and then get fully healthy for 2022.
The goal once again is to get through the game without injuries. The Bills were fairly close in that last game with exceptions to Hodgins, Williams, and Sweeney. I would like to see more starters play only to get the rust knocked off, but the Bills did just fine last year without preseason games, indicating it is not an absolute. Hopefully this game won’t require late game heroics to win the game like last time they played each other in the preseason.
Top Photo Credit: WKBW