2023 Buffalo Bills Injury Preview

2023 Buffalo Bills Injury Preview

The Buffalo Bills enter the 2023 season as a Super Bowl favorite, but looking to overcome a injury-marred 2022 season. The team saw injuries drastically affect both sides of the ball with a significant uptick in elbow, high-ankle, neck, and shoulder injuries. It seemed like every week, the injury report was a mile long and the training staff worked overtime to get these guys ready each and every week.

Despite all the injuries, the team still went 13-3 and made it to the divisional round of the playoffs before running out of steam. Other than LB Tremaine Edmunds, a significant portion of the team returns as they look to make a deeper playoff run and finally secure a Super Bowl championship.

Injuries will define the early portion of the 2023 season as several players work back from injury and others will unfortunately suffer setbacks. Below are all the injuries of concern from last year heading into 2023 and their impact.

Offense | Defense | Draft Picks | Free Agency/Trades/UDFAs

Notable Injuries from 2022- Returning Players


C Mitch Morse (Right Elbow/Ankle/Concussion)

Morse suffered a right UCL sprain in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans and later a right ankle sprain in Week 11. To top it off, he suffered another concussion in Week 15. Between all these injuries, this cost him a total of three games last year. 

I detailed the elbow and ankle surgeries in this article linked here. As for the concussions, he is at number six now. Both Morse and the team know what they want to do to manage this issue long term and while it isn’t ideal, it’s reality. I believe it’s best to take it one game at a time and have a contingency plan in place. I’m not too concerned about Morse heading into 2023 whether these injuries will linger, his concussion concerns have been known since he arrived here in 2019.

OT Tommy Doyle (Right ACL Tear)

Doyle missed nearly the entire season after suffering a right ACL tear in Week 3 against the Miami Dolphins, finishing the last few snaps of the game. He underwent surgery shortly after and appears to be on track for training camp as he will be 10 months out from surgery. He was able to participate in OTA’s, though with a sleeve on his leg, suggesting that swelling is still an issue at times. 

When he does come back, playing left tackle would be the ideal spot for him to keep the right leg inside so he doesn’t have to kick slide back. However, this will only happen if Dion Dawkins is out for any amount of time. Doyle could struggle if he has to play the right side of the line with maintaining balance during his blocks and maximizing his angles to open rushing lanes. He may still see some playing time playing the jumbo tight-end role, but he can’t expect to rely solely on that production. 

Doyle still has a higher chance of re-tearing his ACL until the two-year mark, roughly 13 percent. Once he returns he should not have any drop off in career length metrics, though I don’t expect him to be what he was prior to injury for this year.  Barring setbacks, Doyle should be ready for Week 1, but I am not expecting a lot from him until he gets his feet wet through the season.

QB Josh Allen (Right Elbow/Left Ankle)

This is one of the biggest injuries for Bills fans heading into the 2023 season. A brief recall, Allen suffered a Grade 2 UCL sprain in his throwing elbow at the end of the New York Jets game. This came from a hit in the pocket as he wound up throwing, twisting his arm backward. 

Reports came out well after the season ended that doctors thought that he would miss a few weeks, I thought the same thing. However, with a PRP injection, constant rehab, and an elbow brace, Allen did not miss any time. He did struggle with short and intermediate passes in the weeks following the injury, improving as the season wore on. He did ditch the brace about a month later which helped his throwing mechanics as well. 

There were no reports that he underwent any type of cleanout surgery, but it will not surprise me if he requires occasional maintenance on the area. He has now had two injuries to the area in the pocket which means he needs better protection from his offensive line. I believe the ligament has healed to its new normal state and is something that must be maintained to ensure his longevity.

He did have a left ankle injury heading into Week 18, but he was limited to only one day during that week and was able to play through the injury.

I don’t have any short-term concerns heading into this season, but there are long-term concerns about his elbow as he takes more hits. 

WR Gabe Davis (Right High-Ankle Sprain)

Davis battled through a high-ankle sprain suffered in practice prior to Week 2 last year. It was unknown at the time what he did, but he only missed one game which is unusual as high ankles typically take longer to rehab from. Looking at injury rates since 2017 with the team, players on average missed 2.28 games and were on the injury report for 6.14 weeks. 

He did battle through the season as he slowly got better, but this is three seasons in a row now where he has worked through an ankle sprain. There may be some chronic changes within the ankle joint that need to be managed. 

Coming up in a contract year, Davis will have to really perform to warrant another contract from the Bills. He will get paid by someone, but hopefully, the Bills can find a way to retain him. 

OT Spencer Brown (Right ankle sprain/herniated disc)

Brown missed two games due to a right ankle sprain suffered against the Chiefs when he had his ankle taken out from underneath him. Brown had a well-timed bye to get his ankle somewhat healed. 

While the ankle is of overall little concern heading into this season, his back is something to monitor. The reinjury risk is relatively low but still possible. Brown should be entering the season as healthy as he has been since his rookie year. If it can stay that way, then he can continue to grow as a player. 

OT Dion Dawkins (Right High-Ankle Sprain)

Dawkins suffered a right high-ankle sprain in Week 12 against the Detroit Lions, missing the following game. Fortunately, since he plays left tackle, his right leg was inside which reduced the need to move on it as this is the post leg. 

He continued to play at a high level once he returned and there shouldn’t be any lingering concerns heading into 2023.

TE Zach Davidson (Undisclosed)

Davidson suffered an undisclosed injury at the end of May during OTAs that saw him get placed on injured reserve, ending his season. No details regarding the specific injury have been announced and no injury settlement has been made, indicating that he will spend the season rehabbing.

RB Nyhiem Hines (Knee)

It was reported on Monday, July 24 that Hines suffered a serious knee injury and would likely be done for the 2023 season.

Regrettably, this is an ACL tear and it would not surprise me if he has additional damage within the knee joint. He will spend the season on injured reserve rehabbing.

From what I have found, this is Hines’ first major injury of his career.


S Jordan Poyer (Ribs/Lungs/Foot/Right Elbow/Knee)

The season from Hell hit Poyer early in training camp with a hyperextended elbow that kept him out all of August. Shortly into the season, he suffered a foot injury, cracked ribs that resulted in a pneumothorax, an elbow re-injury, a meniscus tear, and a concussion. Details of all of his injuries can be found here. To top it all off, he was without his running mate, Micah Hyde, for the entire season. 

Poyer missed the most games of his career (4) with the exception of his lacerated kidney in 2016. Looking at all his injuries heading into 2023, the ribs and lungs are of zero concern. They’re healed and part of his history. The concussion is something to be aware of, but shouldn’t become a trend based on his past history. There aren’t a lot of details on his foot injury, but considering he played nearly the entire season on it, it may be a non-issue.

There aren’t any reports, but it would not surprise me to hear that he had a cleanout surgery on his elbow or knee to help him get fully healthy. I do have some concerns about his elbow and knee moving forward, but bracing for the elbow may become a regular thing for him to protect the area, and depending on what they did with the knee, he may have some arthritic changes that will have to be managed. 

Hopefully, last year was an aberration, but there is concern that his durability is waning as he gets older.

DE Von Miller (Right ACL/Meniscus Tear)

Everyone wants to know when Von Miller is ready to play. To recall, he tore his right ACL playing against the Detroit Lions in Week 12. It was initially reported that he only tore his lateral meniscus but further assessment revealed that he tore the ACL once he went in for surgery. 

Miller was proclaiming he would be ready for Week 1, a tall order coming off a major injury at his age. He has since cooled on his goal, wanting to be ready for the second half of the season when he is needed in the playoffs. He has been working incredibly hard and looks to be in fantastic shape for someone coming off a serious knee injury. 

As it stands, Miller may be best to spend training camp on the Active/PUP list, giving reps to some other defensive ends. He can then be carried over to the regular season without taking up a roster spot but missing four games on PUP.

I originally believed that he could return in late October after a ramp-up period. He could come back as soon as Week 6, putting him in play in mid-October against the Giants. These dates are all speculative considering we haven’t seen him moving around on the football field and if there are any setbacks as he ramps up. 

Even when he does come back, I wouldn’t expect to see what we saw last year until the second half of the season. Hopefully, he begins to peak in the playoffs where he feels normal-ish and can help fuel a deep playoff run. Patience will be key as Von Miller returns. 

S Micah Hyde (Neck Fusion)

Hyde is set to return in 2023 after a herniated disc ended his season after just two games. He ultimately required surgery to correct the issue. Hyde was incredibly close to returning during the season, making his reappearance for the AFC Championship game had the Bills advanced.

He will be fully healthy heading into training camp and there should be no drop-off in play other than knocking off some early-season rust. 

CB Christian Benford (Right hand fracture/oblique)

Benford had an overall successful rookie year after being drafted in the sixth round out of Villanova. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken hand in Week 3 against the Dolphins that cost him two games. He returned to play with a cast on the hand for the next several weeks as he recovered. 

Benford later suffered an oblique strain in Week 12 against the Detroit Lions that sent him to injured reserve to miss four games. He was able to return for the final game of the regular season and playoffs though he was inactive for each game. 

There aren’t any concerns for Benford heading into this season injury-wise, he just needs to stay healthy to remain in the mix for the cornerback room.

CB Kaiir Elam (Left ankle/foot)

Elam worked through a foot injury suffered against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5, then suffered a re-injury to his ankle in Week 9, missing two games. 

By video, there was concern for a bone bruise which explains why the injury lingered for so long. There has been enough time that has elapsed to rest that he should be ready to go and the chances to suffer a similar injury appear to be low. 

S Damar Hamlin (Commotio Cordis)

What has happened to Damar Hamlin this year has been incredible. Simply incredible. He’s been cleared medically and he appears to be in the right headspace heading into training camp. Anything he does this year is icing on the cake.

Physically, I don’t see any concerns for his play, it may come down to mental aspects. We’ll see what happens, but if you want to read more about what happened, click here.

DT Ed Oliver (Right High-Ankle Sprain/Calf Strain/Right Pectoral Strain)

Oliver had an inconsistent season at best due to several lingering injuries starting in Week 1 with a high right high-ankle sprain in Week 1. He missed the following three games after the injury and spent five total weeks on the injury report. 

Later in the year, he suffered a right pectoral strain in Week 14 against the Jets which required him to wear a shoulder harness to prevent excessive movement in the area. Regrettably, as he was working through his pectoral injury, he suffered a calf strain the following week against the Dolphins. 

Even though he did not stay on the injury report due to the calf injury, it likely still lingered and affected his performance. All these injuries were one-off issues and should not impact 2023. The team also appears to feel this way when they signed him to a contract extension. Oliver should make it a priority to focus on recovery and injury prevention so that he is able in order to live up to his contract. 

DT Jordan Phillips (Right rotator cuff tear/hamstring)

Phillips continues to battle through injuries every year, missing four total games last year. He missed two games following his left hamstring strain in Week 2 during the Matt Milano pick-six. He later tweaked the injury in Week 5 against the Steelers, briefly having to leave the game.

Phillips then suffered a right rotator cuff tear in Week 13 while trying to chase down Mac Jones, falling with an outstretched arm. He missed the following two games and even when he returned, he played with a shoulder harness and repeatedly had to leave games due to the injury, essentially playing with one arm.

Phillips should be able to return to play in 2023 but the chances to re-tear is roughly 26 percent. You can read more about his injury here. There is a chance he could appear on the PUP list to begin the season if his shoulder still needs a little more time.

His body appears to be breaking down at times, limiting his effectiveness over the past several years. If he can stay healthy, he can be a force, but his availability is what truly holds him back. I do expect him to appear on the injury report again this season unless he finds the fountain of youth. 

DE Greg Rousseau (Left High-Ankle Sprain)

Rousseau suffered a left high-ankle sprain against the Jets in Week 9, forcing him out of the following three games. Even when he did return, he lacked a lot of power coming off the edge, limiting his effectiveness. 

Like the other high-ankle injuries listed above, there shouldn’t be any lingering concerns heading into 2023. However, repeated injuries to the area could lead to chronic ankle instabilities.

S Dean Marlowe (Core Muscle Repair)

Marlowe was a late addition to the roster after multiple players at the position went down with injuries. He filled in admirably at the end of the season, but suffered a groin injury significant enough during the playoff loss to the Bengals that he required a core muscle repair.

Fortunately, outcomes are fantastic with most players returning without drop off in performance.

LB Matt Milano (Stinger/Oblique/Left Knee)

Milano secured his first All-Pro nod despite dealing with several injuries last year. He suffered a stinger in his neck in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans that saw him exit the game briefly. He then suffered an oblique injury in Week 8 against the Green Bay Packers that forced him to miss Week 9.

The biggest injury was his left knee injury which saw him spend five weeks on the injury report. This injury was originally suffered against the New England Patriots in Week 13. Milano or the team never revealed the extent of the damage within the knee, but it was likely more severe than what they let on. The team also classified the injury as a leg/knee injury at one point which suggested something more.

He may have suffered some type of bone bruise in the area, ligament sprain such as PCL, or even a non-displaced fibular fracture like we saw Cole Beasley work through in 2020. Either way, he continued to perform at an incredibly high level. None of these injuries should affect his 2023 season as he looks to build off a career year.

2023 Draft Picks

TE Dalton Kincaid

Kincaid missed all of the pre-draft process with a back fracture but has since been cleared and has been healthy otherwise. For more info, click here

G O’Cyrus Torrence

A concussion and knee sprain are all that comprise Torrence’s injury history from his collegiate career. Another fairly healthy player. For more info, click here

LB Dorian Williams

Suffered a left wrist fracture while preparing for the Senior Bowl. For more info, click here

WR Justin Shorter

Shorter has dealt with multiple injuries throughout his collegiate career including multiple head injuries, dislocated patella, and hamstring injuries. The potential is there, but durability remains a concern. For more info, click here.

OL Nick Broeker

A truly clean injury history, not missing a game in college. For more info, click here.

CB Alex Austin

Only missed one game during his collegiate career. For more info, click here

Free Agency/UDFAs

OT Noah Henderson

WR Jalen Wayne

DL DJ Dale

RB Jordan Mims

WR Tyrell Shavers

OL Richard Gouraige

For info on each of these players, click here

S Zayne Anderson

G Connor McGovern

WR Deonte Harty

QB Kyle Allen

WR Trent Sherfield

RB Damien Harris

G David Edwards

S Taylor Rapp

OL Kevin Jarvis

RB Latavius Murray

DT Poona Ford

DE Kameron Cline

LB Travin Howard

EDGE Shane Ray

TE Joel Wilson

OT Brandon Shell

WR Marcell Ateman

LB Leonard Floyd

CB Cameron Dantzler

TE Nick Guggemos

RB Darrynton Evans

TE Jace Sternberger

2023 Concerns

The big concerns are to reduce the frequency of injuries. This team is equipped to win a lot of games and make a deep playoff run. They have the potential to win 11-14 games this year. Vegas has them at 10.5 wins currently. Losing key contributors and depth will hurt any team, but the volume of injuries is what hurt the Bills the most last year. 

The window for a Super Bowl championship will remain open as long as Josh Allen is under center, but he needs to stay healthy. This means his offensive line needs to protect him and all his offensive weapons need to be able to produce when called upon. 

They have a lot of competition in the AFC East with the Miami Dolphins as strong contenders to overtake them in the division and the New York Jets as a dark horse with the addition of Aaron Rodgers. 

Until they get knocked off, the AFC East runs through Western New York. 

Top Photo Credit: LAPRESSE