Buffalo Bills vs Cleveland Browns Week 11 Injury Recap

Buffalo Bills vs Cleveland Browns Week 11 Injury Recap
Bills A.J. Epenesa defends the edge against Miami. Jg 010321 Bills 31

The Bills are 7-3. It feels like an ugly 7-3, but a 31-23 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday keeps them in the thick of the AFC East division crown and a high playoff seed.

Despite the win, the Bills are still dealing with several injuries coming out of Sunday’s game with varying levels of severity. Below are all the known injuries coming out of Sunday’s game.

In-game injuries

DE AJ Epenesa (Left ankle)

Epenesa exited the game early with a left ankle injury, originally receiving a questionable designation before being downgraded to out. However, looking at the last two plays for him on Sunday doesn’t really show a lot as to a mechanism of injury. 

During Monday’s press conference, Epenesa would “be a stretch” to play Thursday. 

He did suffer a left ankle injury back in Week 9 against the Jets briefly, but it’s not clear whether these two are connected at this time. This is an injury we need more information on at this time. He was unable to practice on Monday. 

C Mitch Morse (Right ankle)

Morse appeared to suffer a right low ankle sprain on the second offensive play of the game as seen in the clip below. 

He looked to get pushed backwards and had his right leg taken out briefly before landing on the outside portion of his foot, likely spraining his lateral ankle. The veteran finished the series and got his ankle taped up as reported above, ultimately playing in 100 percent of snaps. 

Morse was later observed in a walking boot following the game to control swelling when flying. He was unable to practice on Monday but it’s possible that he could play come Thursday if he is able to practice Tuesday. 

TE Dawson Knox (Undisclosed)

Below was the play where Knox had to be tended to by training staff. It’s not clear how he was injured in this play as the camera pans away. 

Later, Knox was seen going to the x-ray room as a precautionary measure as seen below. 

As of publication, the injury remains a mystery as he was not on the injury report following Monday’s practice. 

DT Ed Oliver (Rib/abdomen)

Oliver missed one play after a hard shot to his right side of his abdomen as highlighted in the play below. 

He was able to return and continue playing without major issues. As I mentioned in the tweet, hopefully this was more of a wind knocked out versus a rib contusion. Considering he wasn’t on the injury report this week suggests the former. 

OT David Quessenberry (Ankle)

Quessenberry was a surprise addition to the injury report following the game, also seen in a walking boot. While difficult to see, the clip below appears to be the play that Quessenberry was injured on.

My assessment leads me to believe that he injured his left ankle based on how the line was moving and how he was falling as the camera cut away. 

He appeared in seven total special teams snaps and saw no time on offense which makes this play the likely one he was injured on. Without having a direct view on the line as the ball is kicked, it’s difficult to state what type of ankle injury he is dealing with. He was limited in practice on Monday. 

S Damar Hamlin (Neck)

Hamlin appeared in Monday’s injury report with a neck designation, practicing in full. It wasn’t apparent on film when Hamlin suffered the injury on Sunday, but this appears to be a minor issue heading into Thursday.

Other observations

S Jordan Poyer (Left elbow)

Poyer returned after a two game absence in which the team struggled greatly without him in the secondary. While his presence was welcomed, he was still significantly limited.

Anytime he had to initiate contact, he was forced to use his right arm or shoulder, using the left side to help secure the tackle at the end. He also appears to have difficulty in wrapping up his tackles on the left side, adjusting his angle to grab with the right first. 

He did have kinesiotape over his right shoulder which is a new development from last game. It’s possible he may have injured his rotator cuff when he took that hit from Packers TE Robert Tonyan. 

I am concerned that Poyer could further injure his elbow if teams force him to use the left side and attack him. However, his ability to create angles and be in the right spot minimizes the elbow injury impact on his play. For now, despite the injury, he is the best option at safety.

S Micah Hyde (Neck surgery)

Positive signs from Hyde as he works out on the field in the clip below.

While this is promising, this is simply part of the rehab process with running and performing cardiovascular activity. He is roughly at the two month mark, having had surgery at the end of September with Dr. Robert Watkins out in Los Angeles. 

Hyde is still at least two months from returning to play which would put him in mid-January, around Wild Card weekend. This would mean he would have to have had a perfect rehab, that everyone is on board with him playing, and that he is physically ready after missing four months of football. 

It’s not impossible but it’s an aggressive timeline from a normally conservative medical team. We will see how things play out in the coming weeks.

Most of the injuries from Sunday appear minor in nature, but those to Morse and Epenesa will be ones to watch for Thursday. Losing Morse would be the bigger issue for the offense, but Tuesday’s practice will tell us much more about his availability and others come Thursday.

Top Photo Credit: Jamie Germano/D&C