An already long season felt even longer this week following the events of Monday night when Buffalo Bills S Damar Hamlin was rushed to the hospital to save his life. The nation watched it play out in real-time, a moment that unfortunately many of us will not forget. Thankfully, Hamlin is on the mend and while the outcome of the Bills-Bengals game is a no-contest, this does not stop the Week 18 slate of games.
Buffalo hosts New England in what is expected to be an emotionally charged game. The Bills have locked up the AFC East whereas the Patriots need to win or hope for several losses around the division to get in. The Dolphins and Jets face off in what could be an exciting game due to Miami needing to win plus have New England lose to punch their playoff ticket. However, the Jets were in the thick of the playoff race until recently being eliminated, and can play spoiler to a Dolphins team mired in a five-game losing streak.
Below are the detailed injury reports for each AFC East team heading into Week 18.
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.
QB Josh Allen (Left ankle/right elbow)
Allen remains on the injury report due to his Week 9 right elbow sprain he continues to require weekly treatment. He has gone on to say that it’s something he’ll have to manage in the near future.
As for his ankle injury, this was the result of the play below.
You can see that Bengals DE Trey Hendrickson rolls into Allen’s left ankle, jamming his ankle. He did require training staff to tape it up on the sidelines after the offense left the field. This appears to be a mild sprain and shouldn’t affect Allen greatly. He can still step into his throws and there may be some extra effort required cutting to his left, but with the tape and adrenaline, I doubt he will even feel the injury.
CB Taron Johnson (Concussion)
Johnson left Monday’s game with 14:04 left in the first quarter following a hit from Bengals TE Hayden Hurst. He required the assistance of training staff coming off the field before going for further assessment for a head injury.
Official diagnosis of a concussion was not announced until Wednesday’s injury report only due to Monday’s stoppage. Fortunately, Johnson cleared protocol and will play Sunday. This is Johnson’s third publicly reported concussion.
LB Tyrel Dodson (Knee)
Dodson was the surprise addition to the injury report Wednesday with a knee designation. As the game does not officially count, there are no snap counts of how many plays he was out there for or even game footage to review. This injury remains a mystery.
LB Matt Milano (Left knee)
Milano continues to work through his left knee injury sustained against the Patriots in Week 13. He had worn a hinged brace but both the injury and brace have done little to stop his stellar play.
It’s difficult to pinpoint, but this injury may be more than we were expecting. I expect to get details following the season.
DT Jordan Phillips (Right shoulder)
Phillips missed two games with what appears to be a labrum tear in his right shoulder following his injury in Week 13. This occurred late in the game when he attempted to chase down Mac Jones out of the pocket and fell with his arm outstretched. He missed two games before returning and struggling against the Chicago Bears.
He wore a brace and tape on the area during the Bears game and I expect him to continue to do this for the remainder of the season. Phillips will occasionally struggle with tackling and blocking as the shoulder shifts, causing subluxations or even dislocations.
TE Dawson Knox (Right hip)
Knox still requires treatment on his right hip pointer injury he sustained early in the contest against the Chicago Bears in Week 16. Following a catch in the first quarter, he fell to the ground hard, striking the iliac crest of the hip. This is more of a pain issue, but not always easy to play through.
CB Cam Lewis (Right forearm)
Lewis has received treatment on his right forearm all season due to a chronic bone infection. This was the result of a fracture suffered in college while at the University at Buffalo. He requires the use of a padded brace on the area when he plays.
S Jordan Poyer (Lateral meniscus tear)
Poyer’s latest injury was revealed several hours prior to kickoff on Monday when he told Lisa Salters that he has been playing through a lateral meniscus tear this season.
He did bang up the knee against the Miami Dolphins, but looking at the film did not reveal any mechanism of injury for this issue. This leads me to believe that he has been playing through the injury for some time. In the video below, he is moving pretty well and does not appear to have a brace on either knee.
The tear appears to be rather minor, there may be some fraying rather than a tear that outright catches. This is the same type of tear that was initially reported for Von Miller before they found the ACL tear during exploratory surgery. He may struggle at times with certain cutting movements, jumping, and the swelling that comes with aggravating the injury.
It’s not certain that he will require off-season surgery, sometimes meniscus tears can resolve on their own as the body essentially remodels the tissue on its own. But it’s certainly affecting him to some level at this time.
Add it to the long list of injuries that Poyer has been playing through this season. This is exactly why he wanted a new contract in the offseason, for this exact reason. Two elbow injuries, foot, torn meniscus, and pneumothorax.
He will be active for Sunday and continue to play at a high level despite all the injuries and adversity this season.
S Damar Hamlin
Hamlin was officially placed on injured reserve Friday, ending his season. This is purely a transactional aspect of the business as this allows the team to fill his roster spot while he recovers. The team brought back CB Christian Benford from IR and also signed S Jared Mayden from the Jets practice squad, releasing CB Xavier Rhodes.
For more information on Damar Hamlin and updates, I encourage you to check out my article here.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
WR Jakobi Meyers (Left shoulder)
Meyers suffered yet another injury, this time to his left shoulder late in the game against the Miami Dolphins. This was the result of a touchdown catch with 4:37 left in the fourth quarter. He caught the ball and then landed directly on the left shoulder, suggesting an AC joint sprain.
This comes after he suffered a similar injury several weeks ago to the other shoulder before later suffering a concussion. I do expect Meyers to play through the injury, though I doubt he will be effective in pushing off the left side and catches away from his body.
TE Jonnu Smith (Concussion)
Smith is questionable for the Week 18 contest against the Buffalo Bills due to a concussion originally suffered against the Bengals in Week 16. This was the result of a play where he was wrapped up in a tackle and then sustained successive hits to the head as he went down early in the fourth quarter.
He missed last week’s game and as of publication, it remains to be seen if he is cleared by the independent neurologist.
CB Jalen Mills (Groin)
Mills has not been able to play since Week 12 due to a persistent groin issue. He was questionable for the following game and able to practice before getting shut down for three weeks, ruled out of each contest. He was questionable heading into last week’s game before ultimately not playing.
Considering he has missed the past five games, the depth is thin at cornerback, and playoffs are on the line, I would expect him to attempt to play. However, do not be surprised if he requires surgery once the season ends.
CB Jonathan Jones (Chest)
Little information continues to be available regarding Jones’s chest injury that he appeared to suffer in practice prior to Week 16. He has not missed anytime suggesting it is more of a manageable issue despite his questionable designation.
CB Brandon Schooler (Hip)
Schooler was limited Thursday and Friday with a hip injury that was also possibly injured in practice. He is officially questionable for the game and has seen all of his playing time this season on special teams.
DT Davon Godchaux (Illness)
Godchaux missed Thursday’s practice with an illness before returning on Friday with a full designation.
CB Myles Bryant (Shoulder)
Bryant appeared on the injury report Thursday with a shoulder issue, suggesting this may have either been suffered or aggravated in practice. He was limited Thursday before returning to practice Friday and does not have a designation.
WR Devante Parker (Concussion)
Parker has cleared concussion protocol after missing three games due to the concussion suffered against the Arizona Cardinals.
CB Marcus Jones (Concussion)
Jones cleared concussion protocol after missing last week’s game against the Miami Dolphins. He originally suffered his concussion against the Cincinnati Bengals after playing in the entire game.
QB Tua Tagovailoa (Concussion)
Tagovailoa is officially out following his second documented concussion and possibly third of the season. He was unable to practice this week and based on the outcome of this Sunday’s game, it may determine whether he could be able to practice next week for the playoffs or begin his offseason.
OT Terron Armstead (Right toe/left pectoral/knee/hip)
Armstead is doubtful after working through a multitude of injuries all season, unlikely to play. It’s incredible that he was able to play through as much as he did all year, but he appeared like a Jenga tower, just waiting for the final block to be taken out to tumble down. As a result, he was unable to practice all week.
OT Kendall Lamm (Ankle)
Suffering the ankle injury in the first half against the Patriots, Lamm was unable to practice all week and is doubtful. The exact mechanism of injury is not known, but doubtful players rarely play and I do not expect anything different from Lamm.
WR Cedrick Wilson (Hip)
Wilson only played 16 snaps in the Week 17 game against the Patriots which makes determining what his exact injury is difficult. Doubtful players rarely play and the Dolphins do have some depth at the position which may make Wilson expendable for the game.
LB Bradley Chubb (Ankle/right hand)
Chubb appears to be working through a broken hand on the right side as he had a black cast last week during practice. The details of the ankle injury are still not known, but his questionable designation does inspire hope that he will play this week. He was able to practice Thursday and Friday after he was unable to play last week.
CB Xavien Howard (Knee)
Howard injured his knee last week in practice, unable to play in the game against the New England Patriots. Officially questionable, he was able to practice in a limited fashion Thursday and Friday.
QB Teddy Bridgewater (Knee/right dislocated pinky)
Bridgewater continues to work through his chronic knee injury dating back to aggravating it prior to Week 10. He also suffered a dislocation of the pinky finger on his throwing hand. While the fifth digit does assist with grip strength, it is not heavily used in throwing a football.
The Dolphins have announced that Skylar Thompson will start and it’s very possible that Bridgewater can at least serve as the backup.
FB Alec Ingold (Right thumb)
Ingold was able to play last week despite dealing with neither a bad thumb sprain or a non-displaced thumb fracture. He currently has a cast on his hand, only seeing one target last week and 11 offensive snaps.
S Eric Rowe (Quad)
Rowe has been working through several injuries including knee and ankle injuries prior to this, able to play last week. He was limited all week, leaving him questionable for the game.
WR Jaylen Waddle (Shoulder)
Waddle is once again on the injury report with a shoulder injury, also suffering a shoulder injury back in Week 6. It’s not clear if this is a new injury or aggravation, but he was able to practice in full on Friday.
S Jevon Holland (Left shoulder)
Holland is dealing with a left shoulder injury after getting his forearm caught underneath Hunter Henry as he tackled him last week. He was able to practice in full all week, suggesting this may be more of a contusion than an actual injury.
CB Kader Kohou (Right thumb)
Kohou continues to work through a right thumb injury dating back to Week 11, wearing a brace on the area.
DE Jaelan Phillips (Toe)
Phillips is working through a toe injury, possibly a turf toe originally sustained in Week 16. He has not missed any games but has likely been playing with a plate in his shoe and taping up the toe to provide stability as he runs.
OT Eric Fisher (Calf)
Fisher’s season ended following his placement on injured reserve prior to Week 18. This comes after one game appearance in Week 15 before missing the last two games. It’s not clear if this was related or even the same leg as when he tore his Achilles in the AFC playoffs in 2020, but his stint in Miami appeared to be a short one.
NEW YORK JETS
OT Duane Brown (Left shoulder)
Brown has been ruled out for Week 18 after playing through a left rotator cuff tear all season. I would expect that he is headed for surgery after the season ends.
CB Brandin Echols (Quad)
Echols has been ruled out following his quad injury suffered against the Buffalo Bills in Week 14. This is the third consecutive game he has missed and also missed three games last season with the same injury.
OT George Fant (Knee)
Fant is officially ruled out after missing a significant portion of the season working through a knee injury that possibly dated back to his knee surgery at the end of last season. According to head coach Robert Saleh, he has been playing on one leg.
G Nate Herbig (Calf)
Herbig’s calf injury is a new designation following his ankle injury last week that forced him out of Week 17. It’s possible that he injured the calf while trying to rehab or the injury designation was changed to reflect the accuracy of the injury.
S Lamarcus Joyner (Hip)
Joyner will miss the season finale with a hip injury that has been giving him issues for the entire second half of the season. He first appeared to deal with the injury in Week 9 against the Bills before it became more consistent in Week 14, missing the game in Week 16.
S Ashtyn Davis (Ankle)
Davis appeared to suffer an ankle injury during Friday’s practice, leaving him limited and officially questionable for the game.
OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (Knee)
LDT is questionable heading into Week 18 dealing with a knee injury sustained against the Miami Dolphins. Details of the injury are not readily available.
TE CJ Uzomah (Ankle)
Uzomah was a late addition to the injury report Friday with an ankle designation, appearing to suffer the injury in practice possibly Thursday.
S Jordan Whitehead (Hamstring)
Whitehead was limited all week with a hamstring injury that he appeared to suffer against the Miami Dolphins in Week 17. Considering the team is already out of playoff contention, it may be best for him to sit. But due to Lamarcus Joyner already being ruled out and Ashtyn Davis questionable, Whitehead may be forced to suit up and try to gut it out one last game.
QB Mike White (Ribs)
White is officially questionable heading into the game and will not start as he continues to heal from his broken ribs suffered against the Buffalo Bills. Doctors found five broken ribs including one of them being an old fracture.
He did not feel right during the Seahawks game which likely led to their decision to downgrade his status. White may have a future with the Jets, but his health this season is more important to the future than the outcome of this game.
DE Vinny Curry (Bicep)
Curry was able to practice in full all week despite his designation, suggesting that he is possibly working through a minor bicep strain.
LB CJ Mosley (Shoulder)
The exact specifics of Mosley’s injury are not known, but he was able to practice in full all week and does not have a gameday designation.
Top Photo Credit: Phinsider.com