Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills LB Travin Howard

Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills LB Travin Howard

The Buffalo Bills continue to fill out their 90-man roster, adding LB Trevin Howard following the rookie tryouts this past weekend. Howard comes to the Bills after four seasons with the Los Angeles Rams. He has experienced the highest of highs in making a key play to get the Rams to the Super Bowl and winning. He has also suffered the lowest of lows, appearing in 13 regular season games plus four playoff games since 2019. 

Below are Trevin Howard’s publicly reported injury history and concerns. 

Injury History

2020 Los Angeles Rams

Left knee, torn meniscus, missed 16 games. 

Howard suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee during the preseason just prior to the cut-down day. He participated in practice and felt a little pop, continuing to practice through the injury before going to see the training staff who diagnosed him with a torn meniscus. 

According to the article, it was a significant enough tear that he required a repair, ending his season. 

2021 Rams 

Hamstring strain, side not specified, Week 8 vs Houston, missed 5 games. 

Injury struck again when Howard went down with a hamstring strain against the Houston Texans in Week 8. He was placed on injured reserve for his four-game minimum stay but required a fifth game before returning in Week 15 against the Seattle Seahawks

2022 Rams

Core muscle repair, off-season workouts, missed 8 games after starting on NFI list. Later missed 8 games after returning. 

Just prior to training camp starting, Howard suffered a core muscle injury that ultimately required surgery. He went to Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia, one of the most renowned physicians specializing in core muscle repairs. 

There was a chance that he could be ready for Week 1, but he took the preseason and first eight weeks of the season to return. He played in Week 9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, playing 24 special teams snaps. 

Unfortunately, Howard went back on the injury report with a hip designation, missing the remaining eight games of the season. 

Injury Assessment

Looking back at his college career, there do not appear to be any notable injuries that make his recent issues all the more frustrating. None of the injuries appear directly connected either. 

Meniscus Tear

Addressing each injury, meniscus tears are quite common and the fact that he had a full meniscus repair lessens his chance for degenerative arthritis. Players at the combine who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery for a partial meniscectomy were more likely to present with arthritic changes later compared to the repair, 27 percent compared to 11 percent.


Furthermore, of those that underwent a meniscal repair, 80 percent of individuals did not show osteoarthritis after eight years. Howard’s knee is of minimal concern moving forward.

Hamstring Strain

Hamstring strains occur roughly 32 percent of the time and have a recurrence rate between 30-38 percent within a year. Howard appeared to suffer a moderate strain which forced him on injured reserve, but upon returning, did not have any further known issues.

Unfortunately, these are not totally avoidable and if Howard does suffer another injury, I’d put money on this being the issue again. A strain alone won’t eliminate his chances to make the roster, but it won’t be any easier recovering from the injury. 

Core Muscle Repair

Finally, Howard underwent a core muscle repair prior to training camp, forcing him onto the NFI list. He took the three months it normally takes to recover fully from a repair of this nature which is relatively common. 

However, it’s not clear what he injured/re-injured when he returned that forced him out of the rest of the season. A hip designation is commonly used when dealing with a groin designation so it’s possible he had a setback. 

Core muscle repairs allow 90-95 percent of players to return to play with no discernible drop-off in performance. 

Buffalo Bills Injury Outlook

Trevin Howard needs to stay healthy in order to make this roster or at least the practice squad. There has been a series of highly unfortunate injuries that have cropped up in the past three seasons. 

This could all be bad luck and he needs a new start or maybe he needs a better way to take care of his body. These are not injuries that he can necessarily play through, but they have cost him considerable time. 

Kudos to the front office for seeing his talent when healthy. Signing him to a one-year deal off a tryout is about as low of a risk as you can make. If he can stay healthy, he has a shot. But his past injuries don’t do him any favors. 

Top Photo Credit: Los Angeles Rams