Buffalo Bills Preseason Injury Recap- Indianapolis Colts

Buffalo Bills Preseason Injury Recap- Indianapolis Colts
Jun 15, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills cornerback Kaiir Elam (24) looks on during a drill at minicamp at the ADPRO Sports Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills won their ninth straight preseason game in thrilling fashion Saturday evening, kicking a game-winning field goal to win 27-24 over the Indianapolis Colts. At one point, the Bills were down 24-10 before a furious comeback to win in the waning moments of the game. 

In addition to the win, the Bills appeared to avoid significant injuries, but they didn’t totally escape them with several players requiring medical attention. Below are the noted injuries coming out of Saturday’s game and other practice observations. 

In-game injuries

OT Tommy Doyle (Right Foot Injury)

Doyle was a surprise addition to the injury report following Monday’s practice with a right foot injury as seen below.

Looking at the film, Doyle played the entire first half and did not have any notable instances of injury. He did not require attention to the training staff during the game either.

My initial thought is that he got his foot stepped on as he was switching positions from tackle to guard throughout the game, leading to missteps or simply getting tied up at the line of scrimmage.

This injury wasn’t deemed to be a major one which is good news, but more information needs to be known for long term concerns. We will see if he returns to practice this week for his availability on Saturday.

DT CJ Brewer (Leg/Knee)

Brewer also made the injury report with an injury after playing most of the second half.

Like Doyle, the injury is not clear when it happened as he finished the game. Whatever the injury is, he will need to be a quick healer in order to be ready for Saturday as he has a tough path to the roster and every snap counts.

CB Kaiir Elam (Concussion Check)

Elam collided with LB Terrell Bernard with 1:48 left in the second quarter as the Colts scored a TD and went up 10-7. He required assistance in walking off the field with training staff before going into the blue medical tent.

By replay, there was a concern for a concussion which necessitated further assessment by the training staff. Fortunately, he was able to clear testing and return to the sidelines with his helmet.

As it was preseason, Elam did not return to the game as a precautionary measure. 

OL Alec Anderson (Undisclosed)

Anderson briefly left the game with training staff with 12:01 left in the fourth quarter while attempting to tackle the Colts LB Sterling Weatherford securing the interception. He dove onto the ground, missing Weatherford, and had several bodies fall onto him, making it difficult to identify the specific body part injured.

Training staff came out to assist Anderson and he was able to come off under his own power. He quickly returned to the next series to finish out the game. My best assumption at this time is that he got the wind knocked out of him with the multitude of bodies crashing into him. Unless we get more information, this may be more soreness that comes with football.

RB Raheem Blackshear (Left Ankle Injury)

Blackshear punched in the final touchdown of the game with 3:51 left in the fourth quarter to move the Bills to 22-24 before a successful two-point conversion. However, on the touchdown run, Colts LB Brandon King went in for a shoestring tackle, grabbing Blackshear’s left ankle. King hit him from the outside as Blackshear twisted down, crossing the goal line. 

The rookie running back was in visible pain as trainers came out to assess the ankle. By video, there was a chance for a high ankle sprain, though not definitive. The ankle was caught on the ground by the defender and Blackshear twisted to his right, putting the foot into eversion and dorsiflexion due to pinning the foot on the ground.

It’s possible he avoided the dreaded high-ankle if his heel came up off the ground under the defender, leading to more of a generalized sprained ankle. He struggled to walk back to the sidelines with trainers with his walking becoming increasingly difficult, and at one point losing his balance.

Fortunately, Blackshear was able to return to the next series with under two minutes, appearing to have his ankle taped up. He was visibly limping throughout the remainder of the game but was able to finish.

He may be limited throughout the week, but as a UDFA fighting for a roster spot, I don’t blame him one bit for wanting to return. Every play matters for these guys, injuries be damned.

Surgery Updates

WR Marquez Stevenson (Right Foot Surgery)

Stevenson underwent surgery on his right foot after suffering an injury during the first week of August.

He was spotted in a boot and on a scooter last week in the tunnel during the scrimmage at the stadium. This was necessary as he had the surgery that was posted on his IG account but wasn’t known until today.

It’s still not clear why he underwent the procedure and what needed to be repaired. I did find this quote below that could shadow some possibilities as to the specifics.

The way I read this, it implies that he did not have a Lisfranc as that is often season-ending. A Jones fracture could be considered but those take upwards of three months, putting Week 1 with that injury impossible.

Without more information, it is hard to identify a timeline. I suspect a fracture but this is a guess and the specific bone is not identifiable. The coming days and weeks will provide more context as to what the team will do with him this season.

Other observations

Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic highlighted the players that went through a vigorous warmup prior to the game that was unlikely to play.

None of these were surprises as they were either too important to get preseason reps or dealing with an injury.

During the final week of training camp, several players missed several practices due to undisclosed issues or general soreness noted below. 

WR Isaiah McKenzie, WR Khalil Shakir, and CB Taron Johnson each missed two practices due to soreness from last Friday’s scrimmage at the stadium.

CB Tim Harris also missed two to three practices with an undisclosed issue, returning to practice on August 11.

LB Tyrel Dodson missed most of the final week of training camp with a left leg injury as seen in the video below. He is wearing a compression sleeve on his leg suggesting he is dealing with a quad, hamstring, or calf issue. This will be something to monitor throughout the next week. 

WR Tavon Austin missed at least two practices with soreness and also sat out the scrimmage at the stadium with an undisclosed issue.

DT Eli Ankou returned to practice and was activated off the PUP list after suffering a calf injury while performing conditioning drills on July 23 prior to camp physicals. Below are my observations on the timeline, though it will still take some time to ramp him back up to game shape.

S Jordan Poyer was spotted working out with a brace on his left elbow and other times without a brace during Saturday’s game. 

He wears the brace during working out to control and protect from any unexpected movements his arm does when he’s running and jumping. He currently has decreased strength in the left elbow as compared to the right side which means he has less control. What he doesn’t want to do is injure the elbow if he were to lose his balance and fall or even the regular movement of the elbow during running could irritate the healing tissue.

However, he is able to walk around without the brace, performing his regular activities as there is less chance for stress to be placed through the elbow. He continues to heal and remains on track for Week 1.

The Bills are in good shape as they return to practice this week before they have to perform their first cut-down of the season, moving from 90 to 85 players.

They return to Orchard Park Saturday afternoon to play the Denver Broncos as they continue through the preseason as they march towards the regular season. 

Top Photo Credit: Rich Barnes/USA Today Sports

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