The Buffalo Bills wrapped up minicamp Wednesday as they go off to relax until training camp begins in late July. The main headline of the minicamp was Stefon Diggs’ missing the first day of training camp which was heavily speculated on Tuesday. He eventually did return Wednesday with the main reasoning being due to communication issues of which the details still are unknown.
Injury-wise, there were a few issues coming out of this week’s practices but still some to note as these timelines now could potentially affect training camp. Below are the injuries and observations coming out of minicamp.
CB Cam Dantzler (Undisclosed)
Dantzler was not present for the second and final day of minicamp according to reports. There weren’t any reports of injuries for him prior to this as he has only been with the team for a week now.
Update: According to Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic, he missed for personal reasons.
TE Dawson Knox (Left leg/foot)
Knox was injured midway through Tuesday’s practice when he collided with Kaiir Elam and Taylor Rapp near the sideline. This was the result of Knox coming down with a pass.
Initial reports stated left leg/foot with some saying knee and others saying foot. He missed the rest of practice which isn’t surprising. He also was observed flexing his foot afterward and walking away shortly after trainers assessed him
Without video, the hope is that this was just a collision with a generalized knee or calf contusion. The fact that he was able to get up and walk off suggests this isn’t much of anything. He was observed with a compression sleeve on the left leg during Wednesday’s practice, not participating. This doesn’t appear to be an issue that should linger into training camp.
WR Justin Shorter (Left hamstring/calf)
WGR’s Sal Capaccio noted in his article following the first day of minicamp that Justin Shorter was on the exercise bike for the first portion of practice. He did not state what the issue was, but worth noting if he’s limited later or has other issues.
However, we did get details of his injury today that he was working through a left hamstring/calf injury based on the tape below.
He had a hamstring injury that cost him three games last year while at Florida, though it’s unclear if this is the same side. I did have some concerns regarding the soft tissue recurrence coming out of the draft, but as he has not had any time to truly recover due to draft preparation, hopefully, he can over the next six weeks. This will be an injury to monitor when it comes time for training camp.
Did Not Participate
TE Zach Davidson (Undisclosed-IR)
Davidson was unable to participate this week during minicamp nor was unable to practice last week. Following Wednesday’s practice, the Bills placed him on injured reserve, essentially ending his 2023 season with the Bills.
He could hypothetically take an injury settlement and rehab on his own to sign elsewhere, but until we know more information, he is on IR for the 2023 season with the Bills.
It’s not clear what he injured, but the Bills have been planning for this by working out former Packer TE Nick Guggemos as more of a camp body and project. It wouldn’t make sense to keep him on the 90-man roster if he can’t participate, hence the IR designation now.
DE Von Miller (Right ACL Tear)
Miller continues to work back from his Thanksgiving ACL tear and lateral meniscus tear that prematurely ended his season. He has been pushing the rehab the entire time with regular videos on Instagram and proclamations that he will be ready for Week 1. He has also said that he doesn’t expect to need to go on PUP at the beginning of the season either.
If he really does avoid PUP and play Week 1, he is the exception to the normal timelines. At his age, there are possibilities that he has setbacks such as groin, hamstring, calf, or quad injuries due to compensation patterns. This isn’t well-defined in the literature, but to see these soft-tissue injuries following an ACL reconstruction are seen anecdotally.
Even when I thought Tre’Davious White would begin the regular season on PUP, I thought he would spend the majority of training camp on PUP, getting activated at the end. I also had considered his younger age as a possibility to come back sooner. His position and confidence to come back played a significant role, but age and timeframes are working against Von Miller. We did get to see him performing some drills and light pass rush moves, but this is not indicative of how he is progressing until we see him move faster.
His doctor has been known to clear guys early and Von is putting the work in, but it remains to be seen how compressed they can make this timeline. At some point, you can’t shave off any more time than they already have. This will make for an interesting storyline coming into training camp to push the Bills’ willingness to let him get back on the field. To read more about Von’s injury, click here.
DT Jordan Phillips (Right Rotator Cuff Tear)
Jordan Phillips unsurprisingly did not participate in mandatory minicamp as he works back from a torn rotator cuff that required surgery. The original injury came as a result of trying to chase down Mac Jones in Week 13, falling on the right shoulder and tearing the tendons. He had surgery shortly after the season and has been rehabbing since then.
Brandon Beane came out and stated that it’s possible that Phillips begins the season on PUP, suggesting that the rehab may not be as linear as originally thought. Whether there were setbacks or rehab is going slower is unknown, but Phillips originally stated that he would be ready for training camp.
Even if he does start on PUP, I do not expect him to be there long unless he has a setback. His lack of participation is simply where he is in the rehab timeline. To read more about Jordan’s injury, click here.
John Murphy (Stroke)
Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News noted briefly how Murphy was at minicamp watching from the sidelines on Tuesday. Other than occasional updates in the media, I believe this is the first instance we have seen him since it was reported he had a stroke, missing the final regular season game and two playoff games.
Gaughn did not report whether Murphy had a walker or was speaking to anyone. As the presentation for strokes varies wildly, it’s unknown whether Murphy’s stroke affected him more from a mobility aspect or whether it affected his speech and cognition. It all comes down to which side of the brain was affected and where. This is unfortunately what affected Kim Pegula after her cardiac arrest.
The hope is that he avoided suffering from aphasia, the understanding, and communication of language. If he can’t readily understand what is being said to him or has trouble communicating what he wants to say, play-by-play work will be nearly impossible. If he has motor deficits but avoided any sort of aphasia, he could get back into the booth, but then there is the concern for fatigue and being able to finish games after a long day.
Murphy briefly did communicate with Alan Permagent at The Buffalo News and stated that he will have a decision in late July as he continues to recover.
I hope that his rehab continues to go well and that he is able to get back into the booth for this fall. To read that he is at least out at practice is a step in the right direction.
This was a relatively healthy minicamp by all accounts. Miller and Phillips not participating were expected at this point in their rehabs. The Knox and Shorter injuries are worth highlighting but with the current information, it does not appear that these should linger into training camp. Dantzler’s absence doesn’t have specifics, but hopefully, not injury related.
The Davidson injury requires further information but his season is essentially over. The team is off for the next five weeks until they report to St. John Fisher for training camp in late July for the 2023 season.
Top Photo Credit: ESPN