We knew the Buffalo Bills were confident heading into the 2022 season, but to show up at the defending Super Bowl champions and boat race them was unexpected!
Winning 31-10 to kick off the NFL season, the Bills left no doubt who the more talented team was Thursday as they moved to 1-0. As with nearly every football game, there were several injuries to highlight that could affect the availability for Week 2.
Below are the in-game injuries and observations following Thursday’s game.
DT Ed Oliver (Right ankle)
Oliver required attention from training staff with 6:48 left in the first quarter due to a right ankle injury. As observed in the video clip below, Oliver has to double back quickly to grab Cooper Kupp, pivoting on his right ankle.
While Oliver was bringing Kupp down, several other members of the defense came to assist him, leaving Oliver at the bottom of the pile. By video, it looks as though he suffered a medial ankle sprain, injuring the deltoid ligament on the inner portion of the ankle.
He was ruled probable to come back into the game, returning briefly in the third quarter for three plays. He was then hit in the ankle by friendly fire from DaQuan Jones, ending his night.
Later, he was observed leaving the stadium in a walking boot which is normal protocol following an injury such as this. Oliver also stated that he felt the “weight of the world” come down on him trying to tackle Kupp.
Fortunately, the deltoid ligament is quite strong, limiting excessive movement. Head coach Sean McDermott noted that Oliver was sore but had no other updates at this time.
Practice participation will be a key indicator of whether he plays Monday. A study on NCAA athletes showed that the average time lost for a deltoid ligament injury was 8 days
Within the study, for men’s football, the recurrence rate was 5.7 percent. Mild injuries were considered to be 1-6 days missed, moderate injuries 7-21 days missed, and severe injuries 21+ days missed. Considering that he was able to return to the game before leaving again suggests that this is on the lesser side of moderate.
Fortunately, the team had 11 days in between games, there is a fairly good chance that he could play against the Titans. We need some practice participation information on this one to change my mind, but I am optimistic that he plays.
FB Reggie Gilliam (Wind knocked out)
Gilliam briefly required medical attention after a brutal hit going across the middle, courtesy of Bobby Wagner. He appeared to get hit in the shoulder/face mask area, jarring his head and causing him to fall, as seen below.
After having several moments to gather himself, he was able to return and finish the game. Other than knowing that he can take a hit from Wagner and live to tell the tale, there are no concerns.
G Rodger Saffold (Right eye)
Saffold temporarily left the game Thursday with 38 seconds left in the third quarter. During the play, he got hands to the face with the defender’s fingers poking him in the eye.
He took a knee in order to let the pain wear off before squirting his eye with water as he walked off the field. Absolutely zero concerns moving forward.
DT Tim Settle (Right calf)
Settle briefly spoke with trainers on the sideline during the first half before returning to the game. He was on the injury report all week practicing in full with a calf strain originally sustained against the Indianapolis Colts in the preseason.
Coming out after the half, Settle had a compression sleeve on his right lower leg, suggesting that this was the calf he originally injured. At times, he could be seen walking around with effort after plays
The extra days off can certainly help him, but I expect to see him on the injury report with a calf designation again. Regrettably, calf injuries do linger, even after the appropriate amount of time has passed for healing. The team has the depth to account for him if he misses time, but certainly isn’t a good start for Week 1.
TE Quintin Morris (Right hamstring), OT Tommy Doyle (Right foot)
Both were questionable heading into the game and ultimately did not play. Based on the timelines with their respective injuries, both could realistically return to practice next week.
Doyle has been out with a foot sprain since the Colts game in mid-August and Morris suffered a hamstring strain on August 29 during practice.
S Jordan Poyer (Left elbow)
Poyer returned to the field after a month of rehabbing from his left elbow hyperextension suffered on August 2. He did not appear to have any limitations in his play but did wear a hinged brace for extra protection.
I do not anticipate that he wears the brace all season, but we may slowly see him wean out of it during practices and games.
Overall, the biggest issue was Ed Oliver with the right ankle injury coming out of Thursday’s game. I expect to see additional names on the injury report as the team was able to assess any unreported injuries once they returned to Buffalo.
I expect the team to return to practice Thursday-Saturday as they have historically held that schedule for Monday night games.
This is a far better feeling to relax knowing the Bills are 1-0 heading into the home opener on yet another national stage.
Top Photo Credit: Lynne Sladky | Credit: AP