While the Buffalo Bills are undefeated in the preseason and running like a well-oiled machine, injuries are stressing the effectiveness of that machine. Numerous roster moves have been made and new faces have been brought in to get through this game. Below are all the transactions and injuries in how it breaks down prior to this game and the regular season.
Forrest Lamp and Duke Williams
Lamp was placed on IR with the calf injury originally suffered on July 31st.
Duke Williams was dealing with a minor hamstring strain prior to the Lions game but it’s highly likely he suffered another injury that isn’t publicly known.
Both have since agreed to an injury settlement and will go rehab elsewhere and potentially find a new home.
Vernon Butler, Star Lotulelei, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis
All had close contacts with a trainer and despite testing negative, are in a 5-day window that forces them to miss practice as per the NFL protocols. The exact dates each can return depend on when their exposure to the COVID positive trainer was first documented.
Bug Howard, Tyler Gauthier, Tyrell Adams, Tariq Thompson, Lance Lenoir. All were cut down to get to the 81 man roster limit by Tuesday at 4 pm.
Christian Wade (shoulder)
Wade has returned to practice working off to the side, out of his sling and briefly conditioning, but still has not even returned to individual drills. He is set to miss his third consecutive preseason game which all but spells his return to the practice squad on the international player practice squad exemption. He is not expected to play Saturday.
Tommy Sweeney (left foot)
Sweeney continues to miss practice following his foot injury in the first preseason game against the Lions. Details of his injury also have not been disclosed, but I am concerned that this is an aggravation of his foot injury that required surgery from last season. It’s possible he had a Jones fracture last year and he may possibly have suffered a re-injury. There have been no new reports of surgery and he may be a candidate for short-term-IR after roster cut downs. He is not expected to play Saturday.
Isaiah Hodgins (left knee)
Hodgins missed all of last week and the Bears game with possible knee bursitis due to the hit he took on his left knee in the Lions game. Due to the injury and his lack of production when the pads went on doesn’t do him favors in making the roster. I expect him to play Saturday and needs to in order to make the team.
Antonio Williams (neck)
It’s important to note that Williams’ injury transitioned from a stinger to a neck injury which is not all that much different. Peripheral nerves branch off the spinal cord and out between the vertebrae that make up the spine.
When he got hit, there was either some type of compression or stretching to the area that caused pain, numbness, and tingling down that particular nerve or nerves that were affected. His injury designation may be the result of the area of where the pain originated to and potentially has centralized.
There could be a number of reasons his neck could still be hurting including but not limited to a disc bulge, compression of the foramen where the nerve exits, muscle tightness seen in whiplash, or other possibilities unknown at this time. This is a perfect example of how stingers are unique in their recovery. I do not expect Williams to suit up Saturday.
Stefon Diggs (knee)
Diggs has returned to practice looking like he has not missed a step. We don’t have a specific issue that caused him to miss practice close to two weeks, but he is back and looks healthy. Looking back, I suspect some sort of overuse or tendinitis injury for which the training staff was right to conservatively manage. However, I do believe he will play Saturday, albeit briefly.
Jaquan Johnson (knee)
Little is known about Johnson’s knee including which side. He showed up as not practicing Tuesday following the Lions game which makes it difficult to determine what exactly he did. He has not practiced since and it is hard to speculate what he is dealing with without further information. I do not believe he will play Saturday.
Harrison Phillips (left knee)
Phillips continues to be out following his knee injury early on against the Bears. He was seen walking in a sleeve on the sidelines Thursday though not participating in any drills. Based on the video and supported by this angle, I suspect he is dealing with a PCL sprain. These can heal up well on their own and would explain why he did not have a more supportive brace on his knee as the knee is less likely to buckle backwards than forwards with an ACL.
Based on a new angle seen above, it’s possible he could have injured his LCL, he did reach for the back portion of his knee briefly once he got up following the injury, but if that were the case, the recovery time is still similar. Phillips will be one to watch closely but do not expect him to play Saturday.
Dane Jackson (stinger)
Jackson left the Bears game late in the first quarter and was designated as having a stinger. He was reportedly getting an MRI which would confirm or clarify what the training staff is looking at clinically.
As we have seen with Antonio Williams, this could be a more time intensive injury than stingers usually are. Jackson cannot afford to miss anytime as DC Leslie Frazier said that the battle for CB2 is still neck and neck. I do not expect him to play Saturday.
Marquez Stevenson (right foot)
Stevenson left the game immediately after his electric punt return TD with a right foot injury that required x-rays that were ultimately negative. He was seen in a walking boot on the sidelines but without crutches during the game.
During practice, he was off to the sidelines without a boot and in street clothes Sunday and Tuesday, but returned to practice doing conditioning drills Wednesday. Thursday he was a full go in practice which is exciting to see considering the concern right after the injury.
This is incredibly promising that the foot injury does not appear to be worse than the midfoot sprain I thought he suffered, though it could have been a minor one. It appears Stevenson dodged a bullet for now and is on track to play Saturday, especially considering McKenzie is out for the foreseeable future. However, this will be something to watch to make sure it does not linger.
Tommy Doyle (right knee)
Doyle appeared to tweak his knee attempting to stop following Jake Fromm’s sack early in the 3rd quarter before getting it taped up or a brace on to attempt to finish the game. He eventually had to exit the game and was limited Sunday but returned to practice in full later in the week.
While he does need the reps I question how important it is for him to get out there not fully healthy. I expect him to play Saturday.
Spencer Brown (left knee)
Brown appeared to have his leg rolled up on early in the 2nd quarter before ending his day early. He also has returned to practice but on a more limited basis. He has also been observed wearing a sleeve on his knee. Like Doyle, he would benefit from the reps but whether he is fully healthy or not is the big question. I am not certain he plays Saturday.
Treyvon Hester (back)
Hester has been out since late last week with an undisclosed injury that was finally revealed Wednesday. He did not play in the game against the Bears which makes me believe this happened in practice or weight room.
He doesn’t have any publicly reported back injuries in his career, but the hope is that this absence since August 17th is precautionary and not a more pressing issue.
Based on that info, it is simply wait and see as to whether he plays Saturday and his future outlook.
Update: he has since been placed on IR Friday August 27.
Levi Wallace (hip)
Wallace began sitting out this week following the Bears game despite not playing Saturday. This injury also suggests that this was more of a practice injury that the team wants to be conservative about. This could be as simple as a hip pointer injury, muscle strain, or something else entirely. He did some conditioning Thursday with a compression sleeve on his right thigh suggesting that this is the affected side in the video above.
Sean McDermott announced that starters would play Saturday which puts Wallace in the mix. However, not practicing all week really puts into question whether he should. I believe he will see the field briefly Saturday.
Reid Ferguson (back)
This is the first instance that I can recall of Ferguson dealing with a publicly reported injury since I started this back in 2017.
This could be generalized soreness or a minor strain, however the team has not made any moves to bring in a long snapper for this weekend indicating this is a minor issue. There weren’t any notable instances in the game where Ferguson was appeared to be laboring looking at the film.
He will play Saturday and considering his position and time on the field, roster moves will dictate the severity level of this injury moving forward.
Taron Johnson (right hand)
Johnson missed Wednesday’s practice sporting a cast on his right hand according to multiple reports. He is designated as a hand injury which could mean a multitude of possibilities. He did not play in the Bears game which like all the others on this list of new injuries, suggest that this occurred in practice. The cast also suggests a fracture in either the metacarpals or carpal bones.
Considering his position, he could certainly play through this injury with the cast on and still be effective. This will be something to watch regarding how long he has the cast on; that will shed further light on the potential injury. I’d expect him to play Saturday.
Isaiah McKenzie (left shoulder)
McKenzie was seen at practice sporting a standard sling on his left shoulder following his collision with Jordan Poyer Tuesday. He required an MRI following the hit and updates from Sean McDermott indicate that he is between day-to-day and week-to-week. Usually we see the designation as one or the other, but that wording suggests that they want to see how he responds to rehab. This also means he did not break his collarbone.
Based on the reports out of practice as it occurred, it sounds like this is an AC joint sprain and the MRI was to assess for the severity. However, it can’t be totally ruled out as a labrum issue if he reached out to brace the fall with his arm. My guess was that he was hit so hard unexpectedly that he was unable to brace and hit his shoulder.
If it is indeed his AC joint, then this is the best case scenario with rest and rehab allowing him to get fully healthy rather than trying to play through it like Tremaine Edmunds was forced to last year. I expect him to miss practice for several more days and then begin conditioning, eventually progressing to practicing with a brace for support before they reintroduce him to full contact. He is still very much in play to play Week 1, the next week of practice will be key to watch.
New to the roster:
Update: Gafford and Ivie have since been released Friday August 27.
Green Bay Packers notable injuries:
Jordan Love (right shoulder)
Love suffered a right shoulder injury after getting hit from behind that caused a fumble. This occurred in the first preseason game against the Houston Texans back on August 14th. This Saturday will be two weeks since the injury and despite the MRI coming back clean, the team still was conservative in his return to the practice field.
He appears on track to play and get considerable time on Saturday.
Za’Darius Smith (back)
Smith has been dealing with a back injury that initially led him to start camp on the NFI list, but even after getting activated early last week, he still has not been able to do much. Considering this has been lasting for at least a month, this has become a chronic issue that I would be concerned that this could be a disc issue that may need further treatment or surgery.
There are concerns that he will not be ready for Week 1 which indicates that he will not see the field Saturday.
David Bakhtiari (knee-PUP)
Bakhtiari still is recovering from his late season ACL tear just prior to the playoffs. He is still on PUP as he rehabs and the Packers are slow playing this to ensure he is 100 percent. He’s at a weird spot in that he could be activated to be on the roster any day now and play Week 1, or the team keeps him on PUP and he won’t be activated until after Week 6.
He obviously won’t play Saturday, but it will be interesting if they try to push Bakhtiari or let him continue rehabbing until midseason.
Once again, hoping for no injuries. This article is proof that we don’t need any additional injuries. The Bills starters will be playing at some point early in the game, but I hope they exit early and the sooner the game ends, win or lose, the better. The team will have several days to figure out who makes the roster and then corresponding roster moves. Several injuries including Phillips, McKenzie, Sweeney, and potentially several others will force the Bills into some hard decisions Tuesday.
Top Photo Credit: Yahoo Sports