Preseason drags on with more and more injuries hitting each team around the AFC East. Several teams appear to withstand some of these injuries with their depth while others are losing any and all experienced players, leaving them thin.
Tuesday also marked the first day that teams could begin moving players from active/PUP to reserve/PUP, allowing them to trim down to 80 players before the 4 pm deadline.
Below are the latest injuries and updates around the division.
CB Nick McCloud (Cheek Laceration)
McCloud briefly left the game following the second kickoff of the game in the first half with a cheek laceration. He was hit by Denver returner Montrell Washington with a knee to the face, opening up a cut on his right cheekbone. Game updates indicated he required six stitches to close the laceration and returned to the game.
While the helmets and face masks do prevent a lot of injuries, events like this still occur when things get inside the face mask. Fortunately, he did not sustain a concussion and the only lasting effect of the injury is a potential scar.
DT Tim Settle (Calf injury)
Settle missed the entire last week of practice after it was revealed that he was dealing with a calf injury. It isn’t clear when he suffered the injury, but he began missing practice on August 17 and did not even suit up for the game Saturday.
Even if the injury was caught on film, it’s difficult to interpret how severe the injury is and how much time he would miss. For comparison, fellow DT Eli Ankou missed 19 days following his calf injury to begin training camp before returning late during the first week of August.
Considering the relative lack of information we have gotten on the injury, it’s unlikely he would head to IR to begin the season and him resting solidifies his roster spot, not that it was in jeopardy. Hopefully, this is more precautionary and he returns to practice sooner than later.
DE Kingsley Jonathan (Ankle)
Jonathan also missed all of practice and the game this week dealing with an ankle injury, at one point observed in a boot on Wednesday.
His ankle injury also isn’t clear when he suffered the injury, either in the game or at practice. As a UDFA fighting for a reserve role as a defensive end and on special teams, missing any time could be a huge detriment to his chances of making the roster. He has flashed at times during the preseason and could be a nice developmental player if he can get healthy in time.
OL Greg Mancz (Left ankle)
Mancz went down in practice on Monday with a left ankle injury after colliding with OL Bobby Hart and DT Brandin Bryant, leaving on a cart. The specifics of the injury are not known at this time, but losing Mancz would thin out the offensive line depth, especially with the recent trade of G Cody Ford.
Hopefully, the injury is minor, they have not ruled him out for Friday’s preseason game, but this is one to watch for additional updates.
OT Tommy Doyle (Right foot injury)
Few details have been provided for Doyle regarding his foot injury other than it is not considered long-term and that he is progressing well.
WR Marquez Stevenson (Right foot surgery)
There still have not been any updates on Stevenson since his announcement that he underwent surgery at the beginning of August, but an IG reel shows him rehabbing, doing dynamic single-leg balance activities in a walking boot.
It’s worth highlighting that he is weight-bearing on the foot, suggesting that the injury was not as severe as it possibly could have been. Details of the injury remain limited and it remains to be seen whether he makes the active roster to be put on IR for the beginning of the season.
S Jordan Poyer (Left hyperextended elbow)
Poyer continues to work his way back from a hyperextended elbow suffered during the first week of August. He continues to wear bracing on the area to prevent aggravation to the elbow or sudden jarring, but he remains on track for Week 1.
G Ike Boettger (Left Achilles tear)
Boettger moved to the reserve/PUP list on Tuesday as he continues to recover from an Achilles tear suffered in Week 16 of last season. While at the time of injury, Week 1 wasn’t out of the realm of possibility, starting training camp on active/PUP was a certainty.
It’s worth highlighting that the team noted that he had a setback; I had noted that he was in a walking boot at times in May and June, suggesting that this was possibly when the setback occurred. However, this was still a numbers game, and moving Boettger over to reserve/PUP to begin the season prevents cutting one player while still giving the possibility to bring him back later in the season.
CB Tre’Davious White (Left ACL tear)
The team still has a week to decide whether they want to move White to the reserve/PUP to begin the season or whether they want to activate him. If he moves to reserve/PUP, he can’t practice for another month and then requires a ramp-up period of three weeks before he can debut.
If he makes the active roster, he doesn’t have to play, but he can practice and work back into game shape slowly. It’s important to note that the orthopedic doctor who did his surgery was not affiliated with the Bills which makes the decision more complex.
I fully believe the Bills have a game plan in mind when he wants to return and also that White wants to return if he feels he is ready. I also fully believe that they don’t have a set date because they have to go through a physical and get released by the surgeon. The nine-month mark is on August 25; I had thought that he could return in Week 2, giving him over three weeks to ramp up and just days before the 10-month mark.
White needs to get his feet under him on the field in practice sooner than later, even if he doesn’t play until late September/early October.
I still stand firm that he will be activated to the 53-man roster so that he can begin practicing and incorporate that into his rehab. If he doesn’t, there is an unknown variable.
New England Patriots
CB Joejuan Williams (Right shoulder)
JoeJuan Williams’ season ended after just one preseason game with a shoulder injury that placed him immediately on injured reserve. Reports do not indicate what injury he sustained but considering he immediately required surgery suggested a significant rotator cuff tear or potentially a labrum tear. There is also a distinct possibility that he tore his pectoral tendon, but that would have usually been classified as such.
There are not any timelines given, but if he is looking at a rotator cuff or labrum, this is realistically a 4-to-6 month recovery which would have put most of the season out of reach even if he had been placed on the regular season IR.
CB Malcolm Butler (Hip)
The cornerback depth took another hit with the loss of the veteran after he was put on IR with a hip injury. It’s not clear when he suffered the injury, but it certainly appears significant enough that it warranted placement on IR.
My suspicion is a hip labral tear that requires repair, but there have not been any reports of surgery as of publication.
Update: he has been released with an injury settlement. This could potentially rule out my suspicions, but it will be interesting to see where he lands.
CB Kristian Wilkerson (Concussion)
Wilkerson suffered a concussion during joint practices against the Carolina Panthers back on August 17. While it’s highly unfortunate that he suffered a concussion in this manner, he still has to pass through the five-stage concussion protocol.
Each concussion is unique which means Wilkerson could return as soon as this week or if more severe, keep him out for several weeks.
TE Hunter Henry (Undisclosed)
Henry was out last Wednesday due to a minor injury that necessitated the signing of former Bills UDFA Jalen Wydermyer. Details of the injury are not known, but hopefully, this is an injury that does not linger into the regular season.
WR Tyquan Thornton (Right collarbone injury)
Promising second-round pick Tyquan Thornton is set to miss the next eight weeks with a collarbone fracture sustained against the Panthers Friday night. While it’s not certain that this was the play where he injured the collarbone, he did stay in the game a little longer before leaving.
If he was placed on injured reserve to start the season after making the initial roster, then he could return after four games missed. This would place him at a return against the Green Bay Packers in Week 5, though he may need additional time to regain his conditioning, returning against Cleveland or Chicago.
OT Andrew Steuber (Undisclosed)
Steuber moved to the reserve/NFI list Tuesday with an undisclosed injury, forcing him to miss at least the first four games of the season.
Details of the injury are not available, but this was an injury that occurred outside of football, hence the Non-Football Injury designation. Other than a torn ACL in 2019 at Michigan, Steuber does not have much of an injury history. He may be a name we see later on get activated if the team begins to need extra depth after Week 4 of the regular season.
LB Ronnie Perkins (Undisclosed)
Details of Perkins’s exact injury are not known and he has since been placed on injured reserve. His season appears to be over unless he reaches an injury settlement with the team and finds a new home later once he is fully healed. This comes after being inactive for the first 13 games of the season last year and dealing with an ankle injury on top of that.
TE Adam Shaheen (Knee surgery)
Shaheen’s injury situation is odd considering the Dolphins thought he was 100 percent healthy, shipping him off to the Houston Texans for a 2023 sixth-round pick. In return, the Texans would have received a 2023 seventh-round pick and Shaheen.
Unfortunately, he failed his physical, voiding the trade. Shaheen returned to the Dolphins and underwent surgery, ending his season. I’m at a loss as to what the injury was that one team thought he was 100 percent healthy but failed by another team. I know this does happen occasionally during the Combine and medical teams have differing opinions, but this one is strange.
Veteran guard Rodger Saffold had a free agency deal voided by the then Oakland Raiders after he was found to have a torn labrum in his shoulder, but that was not a cloak and dagger approach. We may get more details on the injury in the future, but a knee injury in Miami should affect a player the same as it does in Houston.
CB Nik Needham (Left-hand injury)
Needham briefly left Saturday’s preseason contest in the first quarter with a left-hand injury and was whisked away to the locker room for further x-rays. He later returned to the sideline without bracing or bandage.
This doesn’t appear to be too significant, but considering how thin the cornerback room is currently, especially with Byron Jones still on PUP, every injury is worth highlighting.
It’s also worth noting that Keion Crossen also suffered minor injuries in Saturday’s game, but details of their injuries are not known but is not expected to keep them out for any amount of time.
CB Mackensie Alexander (Groin-IR)
The replacement for Trill Williams after he tore his left ACL, Alexander joins him on injured reserve. Per Pro Football Talk, Alexander suffered a groin injury during Saturday’s game. The fact that they switched him to injured reserve so quickly either states that they did not believe that he would make the 53-man roster or it was significant enough that they knew he would be out for an extended time.
There is the thought that he also suffered a core muscle injury, but those have become stated as such as of late. They are also found later once the groin does not respond to treatment as originally intended.
FB John Lovett (Undisclosed)
Lovett reverted to injured reserve Tuesday with an undisclosed injury.
CB Tino Ellis (Undisclosed)
Ellis was waived with an injury designation back on August 16 before going unclaimed and reverting to injured reserve for the season. He cannot return for the remainder of the season and it’s not clear what the specifics of the injury are at this time.
New York Jets
DT Quinnen Williams (Ankle)
Williams missed most of last week with an ankle injury that was first reported on August 15. He did not play in the preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles which indicates that he suffered the injury in practice. The exact details of the injury are not known, but even if this is a low ankle sprain, Williams has been deemed too valuable to the defense to try and rush back.
He has been seen working off with trainers to the side during practices since then.
DE Vinny Curry (Hamstring)
Curry has been battling a hamstring injury all training camp, appearing to aggravate the injury on August 19 during practice.
The tweet below shows that the hamstring has been a problem since the start of camp as well. It’s highly likely that this is the same injury that is not getting better.
I doubt we see him again this preseason and this absence may extend into the regular season in order to get right.
S Bryce Huff (Oblique strain)
Huff suffered an oblique injury during practice on August 19 as noted above, but this injury is expected to only cost him a few days. Considering most of the starters did not play on Monday night against the Falcons, this was the smart bet to let players such as Huff recover rather than expose them to further injury.
LB Marcell Harris (Hamstring)
Harris is set to miss the next week or two due to a hamstring injury suffered back on August 20. As Harris comes from the 49ers as part of HC Robert Saleh’s defense, his roster spot appears secure as he is listed as first-string on the Jets’ unofficial depth chart on their website.
Despite his roster spot is secure, missing reps even during practice can still hurt team development as the Jets look to turn a corner this season.
WR Tarik Black (Concussion)
Black was assessed for a concussion during Monday’s game against the Falcons with official reports not available at this time. If he is diagnosed with a concussion, he will have to pass through the five-stage concussion protocol before returning to play.
While cornerback appears to be an issue for both the Patriots and Dolphins, hopefully, they can shore up their depth at the position following roster cutdowns. Soft tissue injuries continue to plague the Jets while Buffalo appears to be avoiding many of the bigger injuries seen around the division, though they have accumulating injuries.
A lot of roster moves were made involving reserve/PUP, injured reserve, and several other decisions still are pending until next week.
Roster cut down will take place on August 30, solidifying injured reserve spots to begin the season. This will also tip the hands of each team regarding their depth and several players’ availability coming into Week 1. Continue to follow for the latest updates and news coming out of the preseason.
Top Photo Credit: ThePhinsider.com