Football is back! While the Buffalo Bills rolled over the defending Super Bowl champions 31-10 on Thursday, the rest of the AFC East will play Sunday. The New England Patriots traveled down to the Miami Dolphins while the New York Jets host the Baltimore Ravens.
Each team comes in with injuries of concern, leading to many questionable designations. While several players will be forced into action, several others have already stated they expect to play despite their questionable designation.
Below are the full AFC East injury reports for Week 1.
Note: With the AFC East injury reports, not every injury on the report will have a detailed analysis. While I do want to highlight every injury, some don’t have any context. For those that do have context, there will be as much medical analysis as I can provide.
To read about the injuries for the Buffalo Bills that was published prior to Thursday’s game, please click the link here.
New England Patriots
OT Isaiah Wynn (Back)
Wynn has been in and out of practice over the last two weeks with an undisclosed issue, now revealed to be a back injury. The exact specifics of the injury are unknown with minimal details coming out of training camp. Looking back at Wynn’s known injury history on Pro-Football-Reference.com, he has not appeared on the injury report due to a back ailment during his career.
While I do believe every injury reported has some truth behind it, Wynn has also been angling to be traded. This isn’t the first time a player has used an injury to limit practice participation to control the narrative.
Fortunately, Wynn publicly stated that he will be playing Sunday.
WR Jakobi Meyers (Left knee)
Meyers continues to work back from a left knee injury originally sustained in the preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders. At the time of the injury, it was reported as a left leg with Meyers wearing a compression sleeve on the leg during practice.
In the video, you can see him working on a stability drill, focusing on suddenly stopping and maintaining his balance on one leg alternating. This injury is very possibly an MCL sprain based on the updated information available. I have a strong assumption that he will suit up for Sunday.
Ty Montgomery (Right knee)
Montgomery’s injury is a curious one as he originally left the Raiders game midway through the first quarter with a right ankle injury. By video, there was a concern for a high-ankle sprain, potentially keeping him out for several weeks. However, the team has reclassified his injury as a knee.
Interestingly, a high-ankle sprain and MCL knee sprain look similar in regards to the mechanism of injury; sometimes it depends on which joint takes the brunt of the force. It’s also possible that this was an unrelated injury, but even if this is a knee sprain, that will make cutting and pivoting difficult coming out of the backfield.
Considering the stable of running backs playing for the Patriots, it may be best for Montgomery to sit this one out.
S Joshua Bledsoe (Groin)
Bledsoe showed up on the injury report Thursday with a groin strain, appearing to suffer the injury in practice. With only a limited designation, it’s difficult to determine how limited he really was. He may be best suited to sit out due to the high temperatures and stress the position would place on the groin, needing to pivot, cut, and jump.
CB Shaun Wade (Ankle)
Wade appeared on the injury report with an ankle injury Friday. Depending on the severity and depth of the position, may determine whether he suits up Sunday.
TE Tanner Conner (Knee)
Conner injured his knee during the first preseason game and has been on the shelf ever since then. At one point, he appeared to be an IR candidate per reports, but he looks to continue to work through the injury with limited designations all week.
RB Salvon Ahmed (Heel)
Ahmed was limited all week with a heel designation. This suggests that he may have a bruised heel or possible plantar fasciitis. His availability may come down to how many running backs the Dolphins need to dress.
S Eric Rowe (Pectoral)
Other than the questionable designation, the specifics of the injury are not known. If he does play, I expect that he may struggle to wrap up his tackles and battle for 50/50 balls, leading him as a potential target to get picked on in the passing game.
DT Raekwon Davis (Knee)
Davis had a compression sleeve on his right leg at practice Friday, reporting that he got rolled up on at practice Thursday.
Depending on how it was rolled up on and the pain/swelling present, it’s difficult to speculate whether Davis will be able to go Sunday. The hope is that it is a mild MCL sprain and that he can wear a brace for medial support to get through the game.
LB Andrew Van Ginkel (Appendix removal)
Van Ginkel underwent an appendectomy on August 25, fortunately not rupturing per reports. He could very well play, the timeline missed for this procedure is one-to-two weeks. His availability may depend on how healthy Raekwon Davis is for Sunday.
RB Chase Edmonds (Groin)
Limited early in the week, Edmonds was eventually a full participant on Thursday and Friday. With Ahmed dealing with a heel injury, Gaskin with a neck, and Ingold dealing with a hamstring, Edmonds may be pressed into service, potentially stressing the already strained musculature.
RB Alec Ingold (Hamstring)
This injury is notable due to the fact that Ingold is coming off a season-ending ACL in mid-November while with the Raiders. He was able to practice during the preseason on a condensed timeline which is possibly why he is now dealing with a hamstring strain. Lower body strains such as hamstring and groin are common after ACL tears.
What happens often is the strength in the hamstrings and quadriceps has not yet returned fully, leading to overworking of the muscle when running, causing the injury. He is less than 10 months removed from the surgery, which placed him on a tight timeline to return.
Hopefully, this is the only instance of injury for Ingold, but he may not feel his normal self still. Fortunately, he will be active for this game with a full practice on Friday.
CB Nik Needham (Quadricep)
A rash of injuries has pushed Needham to the top of the depth chart for Week 1 as he works through a quad injury. It’s not clear when he suffered the injury, but he could struggle to stay with his coverage and backpedal during the game if he is still feeling the effects during game day. This could lead to an early day, placing further stress on the already depleted cornerback depth.
WR Jaylen Waddle (Quadriceps)
Waddle has been dealing with an undisclosed injury over the past several weeks, now revealed as a quad injury. The team has been cautious with his reps, limiting him at times to wearing a compression sleeve on the right leg.
Going through two full practices Thursday and Friday provides confidence that he will be able to perform Sunday. This will be an injury worth looking back on if he continues to show up on the injury report.
RB Myles Gaskin (Neck)
A limited practice followed by two full practices appears to give Gaskin the edge at getting snaps at running back for Week 1.
OT Connor Williams (Knee)
Williams appeared on the injury report Friday with a knee injury, practicing in full.
New York Jets
QB Zack Wilson (Right knee bone bruise/meniscus tear)
Wilson is set to miss the first three games of the season due to his right knee injury originally sustained on August 13. The Jets had said all along that they were watching to see how Wilson was progressing with the possibility to play Week 1.
Then on Wednesday, there was an abrupt turn in his timeline with HC Robert Saleh reporting that he would not return until Week 4. The team denied any setbacks but stated that he needed to make sure that he returned at 100 percent.
By this point, the bone bruise is the lingering issue for Wilson and while it is possibly healed, he still needs to work back into shape. Practicing for two or three days and then playing was never going to be an ideal situation. If the Jets were in more of a position to compete this season, I could see Wilson returning sooner, but back-to-back knee injuries over the past two years to your potential franchise quarterback aren’t great.
14 games at 100 percent health are far better than 17 games at let’s say 75 percent with a higher chance to reinjure, give me the former.
OT Duane Brown (Shoulder)
Brown showed up on the injury report with a shoulder injury on Wednesday as a limited participant. On Thursday, it was reported that he was undergoing further evaluation. Friday revealed that he injured the shoulder during Monday’s practice
While a move has not occurred yet, Brown is a strong candidate for injured reserve to start the season. The Jets are expected to move George Fant back to left tackle and start Max Mitchell at right tackle.
DB DJ Reed (Knee)
Reed continues to work through knee soreness dating back to August 26, forcing him to miss the Giants’ preseason game. As a veteran, he has likely learned by now not to act as though he is invincible and ignore those nagging injuries.
He may continue to pop up on the injury report from time to time through the season, but this does not appear to limit him for Week 1.
OT George Fant (Knee)
Fant underwent off-season knee surgery to clean up damage from the 2021 season. It’s not clear if this is the same knee from earlier, but it would not surprise me if he was dealing with some soreness in the area.
Due to Duane Brown’s injury, Fant is expected to play and may struggle due to the knee and not practicing all training camp at his more natural position. Things could get ugly early on.
OL Conor McDermott (Ankle)
McDermott has been through several roster transactions even after suffering an ankle injury back on August 8. It was initially designated as a low ankle sprain, but it is also unclear whether this is a re-injury to the area, or if this is a new issue.
Due to the depth issues on the offensive line, I would also expect him to play Sunday and be available in case of injury.
DB Justin Hardee (Calf)
Hardee was limited Wednesday with full practices Thursday and Friday but still carries the questionable designation due to the nature of calf injuries. They can linger and consider the explosive movements required to start/stop quickly.
The team appears to be concerned he could re-injure the area, further exposing their depth issues. It’s also unknown when his calf issue first arose, making a determination of whether he plays even more difficult.
Meaningful games have not even been played yet and teams such as the Dolphins and Jets are the walking wounded.
The Patriots continue the trend of making everyone healthy for a competitive advantage as they usually do, but they appear to be the healthiest of the bunch other than the Bills who already played on Thursday.
In hindsight, it is best that the Jets did not try and rush back Wilson due to his long-term future and new issues with the offensive line protection.
Continue to check back weekly for the latest AFC East injury updates!
Top Photo Credit: ThePhinsider.com