The Buffalo Bills took care of business, defeating the Green Bay Packers 27-17 on Sunday Night Football, moving to 6-1. This loss dropped the Packers to 3-5 on the season and on a four-game losing streak. This also prevented the franchise as a whole from securing their first-ever win in Buffalo.
While the win further secures the top spot for the Bills in the AFC, the win did not come without several injuries. While the severity varies for each player, there were several key contributors that are working through issues. Below are the known injuries and observations following Sunday’s win in Orchard Park.
WR Stefon Diggs (Head check/Tongue)
Diggs briefly went to the medical tent after his huge 53-yard catch just before the half to be checked for a head injury. This call came down from the ATC’s in the booth to check Diggs out to ensure that he was fine. This was confirmed by Sal Capaccio in his appearance on Buffalo Late Night.
Fortunately, he was fine but was seen on the sidelines motioning towards his mouth he bit his tongue. He is known to not wear his mouthguard during the game and paid the price for it. Absolutely no concerns moving forward regarding his tongue.
OT David Quessenberry (Undisclosed)
Quessenberry went to the x-ray room following the game for an undisclosed injury. He played in 100 percent of snaps and did not appear to have anything obvious on film.
By Wednesday, we should have a better idea of what he is dealing with. If Quessenberry is going to miss time, Spencer Brown appears to be on track to play following his ankle sprain in Week 6.
LB Matt Milano (Oblique)
Milano is currently dealing with an oblique injury that was disclosed during Monday’s press conference. He was able to appear in 100 percent of snaps and frankly, he was all over the place Sunday night.
The oblique muscles have different layers, both internal and external that help rotates and flex the trunk. They help connect the rib cage to the hip and protect the vital organs within the abdomen. Considering Milano was doing so many of these activities during the game, it’s difficult to identify which side was injured and when he injured it.
On top of that, there isn’t a lot of high-quality research when it comes to oblique injuries in the NFL. This makes establishing a timeline for publication difficult. Looking back at several oblique injuries could give us a clue as to how much time he may miss. In 2018, former guard John Miller missed one game due to an oblique injury in Week 12. He did not practice all week missing the Dolphins game and then ramped up his level of activity the following week to play.
Stefon Diggs dealt with an oblique injury during the 2020 playoffs that did not force him to miss any time, though he was questionable for the first round of the playoffs. Dolphins CB Kader Kohou recently missed two games (Week 6 and 7) due to an oblique injury before returning to play in 95 percent of the snaps in the Week 8 contest.
My best assessment right now is that Milano misses one game as he recovers, especially since this is against the New York Jets. He could miss more if the severity is worse than reported, but practice reports will dictate what his timeline looks like.
S Jordan Poyer (Left elbow)
Jordan Poyer suffered a left elbow injury on the last play of the third quarter as seen in the clips below.
By video, it looks as though he suffered a left medial elbow sprain. According to Sean McDermott, the team is still evaluating the injury despite the fact he had an MRI done Monday along with further assessments.
This is the same elbow that he injured in training camp, but it is a different injury confirmed by Jordan himself. This also suggests that they have a pretty decent idea of what’s going on even prior to the MRI.
In camp, he suffered a hyperextension of the elbow, stretching the surrounding ligaments in all areas of the joint. An example of the injury is seen below.
However, with this injury, he stresses the inside portion of the elbow, placing a valgus force on the elbow, and striking the forearm on the offensive player’s thigh. This is the same motion that we see baseball pitchers perform when throwing a baseball. So same area, but different structures.
I believe that he injured the MCL or UCL ligament that runs on the inner portion of the elbow. This is the same area that Josh Allen injured back in 2018. He ultimately missed four games, but keep in mind, Allen has to throw the ball whereas Poyer does not. The research was curated specifically for throwing athletes. So the timelines and research within the article are generally not applicable in this case.
According to the research, most players suffer sprains to the elbow (77 percent), and of those, 20 percent suffer an MCL sprain, also known as the UCL within the elbow. On average, most of these injuries are treated non-operatively and miss around one game.
This would be the ideal situation for Poyer.
Prior to this game, he was wearing a hinged brace on the elbow to protect the area from further hyperextension and varus/valgus stress forces. It has been nearly three months since the original injury and I can’t fault him for wanting to play without the brace.
With hindsight being 20/20, I wonder if he had worn the brace, whether the injury would have occurred as the brace could have stopped the forearm from flying back. The hinged portion would have been covering over the medial portion of the elbow had he been wearing it.
However, the stress of the hit could have sent the forces up through the shoulder, causing an injury there or even to the pectoral area. It’s possible the prior injury also may have influenced how this injury presents now. That is difficult to say as I do not have the exact details regarding the original injury.
He did return to the game and finish out the defensive series until the first Josh Allen interception, then exited the game, getting his elbow wrapped on the sidelines.
While the research is optimistic, I believe we will find out more information in the coming days due to the timing of the trade deadline. The team does not benefit from giving a timeline now as that may show their hand on their game plan moving forward with Poyer or any other injury for that matter.
I also discussed the injury and others on Buffalo Late Night with Sal Capaccio on Monday night if you want to check that out for more details.
DT Jordan Phillips (Right shoulder)
Phillips appeared in 55 percent of snaps Sunday, a season-high, collecting two total tackles. He did have kinesiotape over the front of his right shoulder, suggesting that there may be an injury to the area such as AC joint pain. He wasn’t listed on the injury report with any designation other than vet rest, but seeing the tweet below, this may not be much of an injury moving forward.
Sometimes these minor observations are bigger injuries behind the scenes once the season is over.
CB Tre’Davious White (Left ACL)
White will be officially activated on Wednesday but the team has not committed to him playing just yet against the Jets, stating he is day-to-day.
This is more anecdotal, but the stadium turf at MetLife Stadium has been known to cause several serious knee injuries over the years. I am not certain that they want to bring White back on turf that he does not play on regularly and the Bills likely want to control for any possible variables regarding his return to play.
Considering that he will now only begin practicing with the regular defense suggests that he may not play Sunday as he continues his ramp-up toward playing. The team also has to make a corresponding roster move to activate him.
With the trade deadline today, they have no incentive to release a player prematurely or make any type of transaction that isn’t a trade that could open that roster spot. We will see what the move is to bring White to the roster come Wednesday.
Any team with championship aspirations has to face adversity and the Bills are no exception. They have been able to bounce back after every hit on their way to the top of the standings so far. We have seen great teams in the past deal with notable injuries throughout the season using their talent and depth to push forward.
The Bills have this luxury afforded to them at the moment, but they need to keep their key contributors healthy in order to reach their ultimate goal. While in past seasons, a game against the Jets would be an easier week, they will not be an easy out this week. They have also been struggling with injuries recently, but despite that, they will still bring their best with it being a divisional game.
Expect changes and updates within the next 24 hours as the trade deadline approaches.
Top Photo Credit: Jordan Poyer/Instagram