Despite the ugliness of it all, a win is a win as Sunday’s 26-11 victory was over the Miami Dolphins. The Buffalo Bills move to 5-2 with the win and maintain control in the AFC East and are still in play for the number one seed in the AFC.
Unfortunately, the Bills did not escape without injury as they suffered several with varying degrees of severity. Below are the injuries coming out of the game and what it may mean moving forward.
WR Cole Beasley (Ribs/Hip)
Beasley appeared to require attention from the training staff during two different times in the game following shots to the left side of his abdomen and back. The first instance was with 7:38 left in the 3rd quarter following a quick catch to the right side before he got what appeared to be a helmet in the left side of his trunk.
He sat out two plays before returning and did not appear to have any ill effects. He later took a second hit to the same area with 4:21 left in the 4th quarter, wincing in pain as he walked it off.
He stayed in the game until the end and his name did not come up in Monday’s post-game press conference. He may show up on the injury report with ribs or a hip designation due to how close the iliac crest and floating ribs are where he got hit.
A hip designation may suggest a hip pointer injury which is a painful contusion over the bony prominence of the iliac crest or hip bone. He may also not show up if it won’t affect him, but it’s important to note in-game issues if things become a problem later.
G Jon Feliciano (Left Calf Strain)
Feliciano suffered what has later been detailed as a left calf injury late in the 4th quarter on one of the two plays below during the offensive series that led to the last field goal.
He was never given a game designation by the team but was seen sitting on the bench with his left leg extended during the broadcast. Later, he was observed after the game with a noticeable limp as he headed towards the tunnel.
During Monday’s press conference, it was noted that Feliciano would be “week-to-week” with a calf strain. Historically, week-to-week has meant 2 or 3 weeks, if not more. There are not a lot of high-quality studies that I have found regarding NCAA or NFL players, but the timeline for a calf injury can widely vary.
According to the research, possible missed days range from 3-62 days with an average time missed 17.4 days +/- 14.6 days. We already know that Feliciano is week-to-week which means that he is not on the low end of this timeline, but likely trending towards the average and potentially higher.
Looking at how the team has managed calf injuries prior, we don’t have to look far as Jerry Hughes, Forrest Lamp, and Dawson Knox all dealt with the injuries over the past two years. I didn’t find any other instances of calf injuries that cost Bills players to miss time during a quick search over the past several years.
Hughes dealt with a left calf injury that had him start out on the NFI list heading into training camp. He spent two weeks on NFI before being placed on the active roster and it would be another two weeks before he would play in a preseason game against the Packers. What we didn’t know was when the injury occurred which skews the timeline somewhat.
Forrest Lamp suffered a calf injury on July 31st and was then released on August 26th without ever really practicing again after the injury. He was given an injury settlement by the team but still took another two months to sign with New Orleans’ practice squad. It is important to note that he was finally fully vaccinated in late September which may have affected his timeline for signing.
In 2020, Dawson Knox suffered a calf strain that kept him out two games before contracting COVID, forcing him out an additional game. I had noted in the Week 9 preview against the Seahawks that he might have been fully healthy, but when he did return to play, he did not have any further issues with the calf.
Looking at those timelines, Feliciano is looking to miss at least 2, possibly 3 games. He would be an excellent candidate to put on IR, but the concern is who would they call up and then later cut when Feliciano was ready to return. The team already has in-house candidates to take his spot in Ike Boettger and Cody Ford and even more depth on the practice squad if needed with Jamil Douglas and Evin Ksiezarczyk. There are also street-free agents, but I believe that the team would want to find someone with a level of familiarity with the offense.
Looking at the timeline, a realistic timeline could be to return on the short week for Thanksgiving against the Saints in Week 12 or against the Patriots in Week 13. He would have 25 days to return for the Saints game and 36 for the Patriots game which is more than enough time unless it is a very high-grade strain.
It’s possible he could come back sooner against the Colts, that would give him 21 days, but to have a quick turnaround for Week 13 may strongly impact that decision. Looking at things right now, I like his chances to return on the short week against the Saints and then use the mini-bye if he has any flare-up.
This will be something to watch closely as to what they do with his roster spot in the coming days.
TE Dawson Knox (Right-hand Fracture)
Knox missed Week 8 as he recovered from his right-hand fracture, having been ruled out early in the week. Whether he returns to practice will be something to monitor as he has been termed “day-to-day” during Monday’s press conference. He is trending towards playing, just whether the team determines if he is needed or if he is still having pain during any activities.
DT Justin Zimmer (Foot)
After being ruled questionable with a foot injury sustained in practice, Zimmer was ultimately ruled inactive despite a full practice Friday. The team did fine in his absence, but the hope is that he returns to practice in full later this week.
Players to watch closely during practice this week include Spencer Brown, Dawson Knox, Justin Zimmer, and Cole Beasley. This team can afford to withstand several injuries, but any other major ones will stress the ample depth they have, potentially exposing them to further issues and even losses in the future.
The Bills are now 5-0 following the bye during the Sean McDermott era and head down to Jacksonville next week as a -14 point favorite over the Jaguars according to most betting sites. This appears to be a very winnable game especially against a rookie quarterback, but the team still needs to go out and get the job done, not letting the Jaguars hang around like they did the Dolphins this past Sunday.
Top Photo Credit: Buffalo Bills