The Buffalo Bills have completed their first full week of training camp, culminating with a padded practice on Saturday. Already, they are dealing with several injuries on the roster of varying degrees of severity. While some have positive outlooks, others don’t appear as promising.
Here are injury observations from the first week of camp.
S Micah Hyde (Right Hip/Glute) Hyde sent a scare into Bills fans when he went up for an interception on Friday before losing it and coming down hard onto his right side. Trainers quickly rushed to his side and he was able to walk off with a limp before heading to the locker room via the cart.
Initial reports stated that he was unable to place weight through his right foot which did give some cause for concern. Had he landed on his foot first, there were several injuries that could have been more severe in nature. The team, fortunately, confirmed that this was a hip/glute issue which suggests a general contusion or hip pointer.
They are essentially the same thing, just in different locations. The contusion would be more to the buttocks area whereas the hip pointer would be to the iliac crest, the bony portion of the hip around the waistline.
This is a pain tolerance issue that can affect performance, but several days off should allow Hyde to return to camp without any issues within several days. Had this been during a game, it’s reasonable to expect that he would not miss the following game.
WR Jamison Crowder (Tightness/soreness) Crowder has every practice other than the first day with what the team is describing as tightness and soreness. Unfortunately, they do not specify which body part is affected. He does have a long history of calf, hamstring, groin, and hip flexor strains throughout his career. A strong estimation is that one of these muscle groups is affected.
Missing the last five practices with soreness indicates that this has moved from soreness to an actual strain. Without more information, it’s hard to speculate how long he will be out. Missing the early portion of training camp as a new player doesn’t bode well for his chances to make the roster. While it is best to be cautious in training camp regarding injuries, cautious won’t secure him a spot on the 53-man roster come September.
WR Jake Kumerow (Tightness/Soreness) Like Crowder, Kumerow has missed every day following the first day of practice. Unlike Crowder, he does not have a history of soft tissue injuries and has been relatively healthy over the last several years. He was limited at times during OTA’s for unknown reasons and it’s not clear if this was something that carried over.
Kumerow has more security on the roster considering his role on special teams, but he is far from a guarantee if he continues to miss time.
RG Ryan Bates (General Soreness) Bates has now missed the last three practices (Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday) with what the team termed general soreness.
Considering the frequent shuffling of the offensive line, this will be something to be continued to monitor.
DT DaQuan Jones (Undisclosed) Jones was originally thought to be a veteran rest day Wednesday, but two missed practices over three days suggest otherwise. He returned to practice Saturday once the pads came on.
OT Spencer Brown (Back Surgery) Brown has participated in every practice to date but has not participated in full team drills, only working in with individual or offensive unit drills. Reports indicated in late May that he underwent an undisclosed surgery that prevented him from participating in OTA’s or minicamps.
According to Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News, it was confirmed that Brown underwent back surgery.
Considering that he is still limited during practice, this suggests that he had either a discectomy which removes a portion of the vertebral disc pushing on the nerve root, causing pain and weakness down the leg. This follows the back injury that forced him out of Week 8 and 9 last season.
It’s entirely possible that he attempted to rehab throughout the season but became limited in his offseason program due to recurring back pain and/or radiculopathy. This is further supported by the fact that they waited until May for the procedure.
Lumbar discectomies take 8-to-12 weeks to fully recover from with most players returning to play. 15 percent do require another procedure if there is another herniation at another level or if the first disc re-herniates.
The important thing for Brown to do is to ensure that the disc scars down and that he has no residual pain in the low back or leg. The team doesn’t want to have Brown engage in contact until more time has passed or that he can report getting through practice without any discomfort.
I can’t say for certain that this won’t pop up in the future, but it’s worth highlighting that there is at least a reason why Brown has been limited.
G Rodger Saffold (Cracked Ribs) Saffold continues to work through his cracked ribs originally suffered in a car accident several weeks ago. The team continues to remain hopeful about his recovery and return, though they have not set a timetable on when he will return.
It sounds as though he is trending to return closer to the first or second week of August, depending on how he feels. This isn’t something that lingers but could slow his acclimation to the team.
PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM
G Ike Boettger (Left Achilles) Boettger continues to stay on the PUP list following his left Achilles tear in Week 16. There haven’t been any reports about his progress during camp, but I continue to expect that he will not participate in camp, moving over to the regular season PUP to miss a minimum of four games. For him to play in Week 1 is certainly possible, but with the uncertainty of the offensive line combinations during camp, introducing Boettger as a variable will only complicate things.
Furthermore, Boettger counts towards the 90-man roster but not against the 53-man roster when cut-down day occurs. This means he can move to regular season PUP and be activated if an injury on the offensive line happens later in the season. This is a roster management loophole I fully expect the team to use. He will continue to be an effective depth option when he returns for the 2022 season.
DT Eli Ankou (Calf Strain) Virtually no information has been noted about Ankou other than he injured the calf while performing conditioning drills on Saturday, July 23. Calf injuries take on average 17.4 days to return with team-specific examples below from last season.
I hypothesized Ankou returns in mid-August, but this could linger. He did have a calf injury in 2018 that forced him to miss three games when he was with the Jaguars, but that injury did not cause this most recent injury. However, he may also understand when he feels he is ready to return rather than rushing back.
CB Tre’Davious White (Left ACL) Intense focus has been placed on the All-Pro cornerback as he races to be ready for a potential Week 1 return. To this point, he is “on schedule” per the team, but the video available does support their statements.
It remains to be seen what the team does with White as the regular season inches closer.
Look for a story at Buffalo Rumblings very soon regarding his progress and what can be expected for Week 1 and beyond.
OT Dion Dawkins (Personal Reasons) Dawkins missed Friday and Saturday’s practice for personal reasons with no further updates at this time.
CB Travon Fuller (Waived/Left Team) Fuller did not practice Friday or Saturday with an update coming later that he is done with football. In his place, the team signed CB Jordan Miller. His full injury profile can be found here.
Look for further updates as the team continues to ramp up practices in preparation for their first preseason game.
Top Photo Credit: ESPN