AFC East Injury Review- Training Camp Week 1

AFC East Injury Review- Training Camp Week 1

NFL training camps around the league have all started and already, there is plenty of injury news. Each team has performed their physicals and conditioning, setting their 90-man rosters. Part of that process was to identify who would be on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) or Non-Football Injury (NFI) lists.

Some of these players will be on these lists for a while, others just for a few days. These players have not been able to pass a physical due to injuries sustained during last season or off-season workouts. In the case of NFI, injuries sustained away from the facility or during their collegiate or other professional season such as USFL or XFL. 

Below are the injury notes from each player on PUP/NFI along with injury notes from around the AFC East division after the first week of practice.

New England Patriots | New York Jets | Miami Dolphins | Buffalo Bills

New England Patriots


G Michael Onwenu (Ankle surgery)

Onwenu underwent off-season ankle surgery after the Buffalo Bills DaQuan Jones landed on the back of his legs in the fourth quarter in Week 18. He only missed six snaps as this was in the fourth quarter, but it isn’t clear when he underwent surgery. Onwenu had been playing through an ankle injury prior to this which suggests there may have been instability in the area. He may have required a ligament reconstruction in his ankle

These can have recovery timelines of as quick as four months, but a return to full health takes longer. Not knowing when he had the surgery complicates identifying when his return will happen. 

CB Cody Davis (Knee)

Davis is still working back from a non-contact knee injury suffered in Week 6 last season. Considering he is still on PUP, this suggests an ACL tear, though it has never been officially confirmed. He is roughly nine months removed from surgery but could stay on PUP to begin the season if he has had a slow recovery.

DT Justus Tavai (Undisclosed)

Tavai was placed on PUP to begin the season with an undisclosed injury, indicating he suffered the injury sometime during OTAs or training at the facility. He was removed from PUP on July 25.


LB DaMarcus Mitchell (Undisclosed)

Mitchell is starting the season on NFI due to an unknown injury sustained away from the facility.

OT Calvin Anderson (Illness)

Anderson starts training camp on the non-football illness list. I do not expect him to stay on this list for long. 

Camp Injuries

LB Matthew Judon (Undisclosed)

Judon was seen working with a trainer off to the side on Day 1 of training camp, though the exact reason is unknown.

He has participated in team drills, though the team has not explained why guys are missing reps at this time. 

LB/S Marte Mapu (Undisclosed)

Mapu was seen wearing a non-contact jersey during the first day of training camp for undisclosed reasons. He did have a pectoral repair in February after suffering the tear while training for the combine. It’s possible he is still not fully cleared for contact.

RB Rhmondre Stevenson (Undisclosed)

Like Judon, Stevenson has missed some reps throughout practice and there hasn’t been an exact reason for missing any time. Possibly a load management issue, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

Montgomery was checked out by the training staff to his left leg/ankle area after a goal-line collision. He is currently day-to-day with this injury not expected to linger.

RB Ty Montgomery (Left leg/ankle)


Signed LB Diego Fagot, WR Jalen Hurd.

New York Jets


OT Duane Brown (Left Rotator Cuff Surgery)

Brown is still working his way back from his left rotator cuff tear suffered shortly after signing last year. Outcomes for rotator cuff tears are as high as 95 percent in the general population, but nearly 80 percent of NFL players return to play at their prior level of performance for up to three years following surgery. This is usually a 4-to-6 month recovery timeline with the literature for NFL players indicating 6.6 months.

Players over 30 have lower return-to-play rates and need to be slower to return which is why Brown is still on PUP, not wanting to rush back.

TE CJ Uzomah (Right quad strain)

Uzomah is working through a right leg injury sustained last month during OTAs. This was the result of a twisting motion, suffering a quad strain on June 9th.

He was able to come off PUP on July 26th and practice in full. 

WR Randall Cobb (Ankle surgery)

Cobb is still recovering from off-season ankle surgery in March. He originally suffered the ankle injury in Week 6 against the New York Jets when he was a member of the Green Bay Packers. He underwent surgery on March 3rd to fix a chronic issue. 

When he suffered the injury, the fear was initially a fracture, but it turned out to be more of a high-ankle sprain. This suggests he had a tightrope procedure to stabilize the ankle. I would expect that he comes off PUP within the next few weeks.

CB Jarrick Bernard-Converse (Undisclosed)

Bernard-Converse starts off his rookie year on PUP with an unknown injury, suggesting the issue arose from OTAs or training at the facility recently.

Camp Injuries

WR Alan Lazard (Muscle tightness)

Lazard had to exit practice on July 25th due to muscle tightness and was limited the following day.

DE Will McDonald (Leg)

McDonald missed several days of practice after suffering a leg injury, he was able to return on July 25th.

DE John Franklin-Myers (Groin)

JFM pulled up with groin tightness on July 26 and could miss a few days.

OT Mekhi Becton (Right Knee)

Despite having two surgeries on his right knee in successive years, Becton is still working through knee soreness. This comes after reducing his weight to 350 lbs and rehabbing all year. This is concerning as the way reports were, his knee was ready to go.

77 percent of players are able to return to play following the procedure he had, but things are not looking great for Becton, potentially part of the 23 percent who can’t.

It’s great to see that he was back out there the following day, but this is an injury to closely monitor. Another key person to watch will be the development of Carter Warren if Becton continues to require maintenance days throughout camp.

WR Garrett Wilson (Right ankle sprain)

Wilson went down following a pass breakup by DJ Reed, appearing to sprain his right ankle.

He is seen limping off putting some weight on the ankle, suggesting a low ankle sprain. Considering how big of a contributor he is on offense, I do not expect him to return quickly, but giving him a week or two off wouldn’t be concerning. When he does return, taping the area for extra support and limiting his reps the first few days to not aggravate the ankle.


Released TE Isaiah Gathings, waived WR Dionte Spencer with an injury settlement for an undisclosed injury.

Signed DE Ifeadi Odenigbo, RB Damarea Crockett, WR Alex Erickson, DB Dane Cruikshank.

Miami Dolphins


OT Terron Armstead (Right Knee)

Armstead shows up on PUP to begin the season after battling through various injuries last season including toe, pectoral, hip, and knee ailments. He suffered the right toe injury in Week 1 and played through the whole season with it, barely practicing during the week. He likely suffered a plantar plate tear which carries an 80 percent return to play outcome. The return to play timeline is over seven months according to the research. 

However, the reason he was designated on PUP was due to a right knee procedure for a general cleanout. He was seen with a compression sleeve on the leg at the beginning of training camp. He likely waited for the toe procedure to fully heal before he underwent any further surgeries. It isn’t known when he underwent the procedure, but I do expect him to get removed from PUP during training camp at some point.

OT Isaiah Wynn (Foot)

Wynn battled through a foot injury, missing the final seven games of the season as a member of the New England Patriots last year. 

He suffered the injury while working out on his own, but considering that he starts on PUP, this suggests that the injury was a flare-up from something managed by the team or re-injured while at the facility.

CB Nik Needham (Achilles)

Needham is still working through an Achilles tear suffered in Week 6. He is roughly nine months out from the procedure but could take longer to return due to his positional demands and how rehab has gone. He has a tough battle to make the roster in the cornerback room when he returns due to all of the off-season additions. 

TE Tanner Conner (Undisclosed)

Conner starts the season on PUP for undisclosed reasons. However, Conner suffered a knee injury during the preseason last year that almost ended his season before it began. He was on the injury report frequently throughout the season, managing his workload to get to Sunday. 

It’s very possible he suffered a meniscus tear and finally had surgery in the off-season. This could explain why he is not ready as meniscus repairs can take upwards of six months. I would expect he gets activated sometime early in training camp.

Camp Injuries

DE Jaelen Phillips (Lower left leg)

Phillips came up limping on a pass play during the first day of training camp, requiring his leg to get re-taped.  It was reported that he was stepped on, but the wording is curious. They’re not worried about the injury, but it wouldn’t heal properly if he continued to practice.

That implies that it is something to be concerned about, likely a contusion. Then again, if he practices through it as early as it is, he may begin to step differently to avoid pain or alter his movements, placing unnecessary stress on other joints, and increasing the risk of injury. This shouldn’t be an issue later on, but something to note.

CB Jalen Ramsey (Left Meniscus Tear)

One of the biggest storylines in not only the Dolphins’ locker room but the NFL with the news that Jalen Ramsey would be out for most of the season following a meniscus tear in his left knee. This was the result of getting tied up with Tyreek Hill during a pass breakup during practice. 

According to Mike McDaniel, the injury occurred independently of getting tied up with Hill with Ramsey’s foot likely planting in the ground and twisting before he fell. He had surgery on Friday, July 28 with the final outcome being a meniscus repair. 

A repair takes longer but has far better outcomes than if he gets the offending piece of tissue trimmed out via a meniscectomy. According to the research, 80.8 percent of individuals who undergo a repair show no osteoarthritic changes compared to 40 percent of those who underwent a partial meniscectomy. Return to a prior level of play is as high as 96.2 for repair vs 50 percent for meniscectomy, though these numbers may vary slightly based on the source. 

There is a higher risk for failure with a medial meniscus repair vs lateral meniscus repairs, however, that may be due to the medial meniscus being torn more frequently with ACL tears, leading to complications if the ACL repair doesn’t do well. It’s unknown whether he has a medial or lateral tear.

It’s worth highlighting that Ramsey underwent a microfracture knee surgery in high school and a meniscectomy during his rookie year in 2016 in his right knee. It would not surprise me to see his right knee is in worse shape than the left knee at this time. If he had the left knee shaved out, he may begin to struggle and stay on the field consistently. He has been fairly durable in his career even playing through shoulder injuries that required surgery while with Los Angeles.

The ideal timeline is that he returns to play sometime in December, but that isn’t even a given at this point as these repairs can take upwards of six months. Research shows that return-to-play timelines vary between 4.3 and 6.5 months between professional and mixed-level athletes with a failure rate of 21 percent. 

Considering how high profile Ramsey is, he will be getting the bulk of the attention from training staff to return as quickly as possible. I would expect him to return closer to the four-month mark, barring setbacks. It’s not a guarantee that he will return through that quickly, so temper expectations for now until he begins hitting rehab benchmarks.

Other Updates

Worth highlighting that Brandon Jones (ACL), Trill Williams (ACL), Nik Needham (Achilles), Keion Crossen (Undisclosed, missed Thursday), and Freddie Swain (Undisclosed, missed Thursday) are being held back to protect themselves as they all work through injuries. 

Buffalo Bills 


LB Tyler Matakevich (Right calf strain)

The biggest surprise of training camp was Matakevich’s appearance on the PUP list. It was unknown at the time why he was on the list, but the picture from move-in day shows Matakevich with a compression sleeve on the right leg.

Sean McDermott clarified that Matakevich suffered a calf strain, likely last week training at the facility. He did not have a sleeve on for his football camp in early July and he was able to play golf during Jordan Poyer’s golf tournament on July 11th.

On average, it takes 17.4 days to return to practice from a calf injury which puts him in line to return during the first or second week of August. This could also take longer as we saw with Tim Settle taking nearly six weeks to recover from his injury suffered during training camp last year.

Re-injury rates for calf strains vary between 19 to 31 percent based on the literature which is something to be mindful of if he has a setback once he returns.

DE Von Miller (Right ACL Tear)

Miller starting on PUP was expected despite his positive outlook stating that he thought he could avoid it to start the season. The team appears to be playing the long game which is a smart move, taking it day by day. I would be surprised if he gets activated during training camp. To read more, click here.

DT Jordan Phillips (Right Rotator Cuff Repair)

Phillips was discussed as a possible PUP candidate in early June by Brandon Beane so to see him start here is not a surprise. These rehab timelines can take 4-to-6 months or even longer with a lot of damage. On average, NFL players return in 6.6 months and return to their prior level of play. To read more, click here.


RB Nyhiem Hines (Left ACL Tear)

Hines suffered a left ACL tear as the result of a jet ski hitting him just prior to training camp starting. He was slated to have surgery this week and will miss the 2023 season. 

Camp Injuries

CB Cameron Dantzler (Hamstring)

Dantzler was able to participate during the first day of practice before showing up late on the second day and not participating. On Friday, he was waived with an injury designation due to a hamstring strain. There were no reports that he went down or required an assessment by training staff which makes this situation surprising.


Cut CB Cameron Dantzler, and signed CB Kyron Brown.

Agreed to terms with WR Andy Isabella, released WR Jalen Wayne.

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