Training camp for the AFC East wraps up this week with the final preseason games taking place around the league. The Bills, Dolphins, and Jets are scheduled to play on Saturday while the Patriots played on Friday night.
Each team continues to work through injury issues with some more significant than others. Each team has issues on their offensive line which can affect continuity heading into Week 1. Depth remains an issue as players get injured and waived with injury settlements even prior to the cut-down day.
Do not be alarmed by the number of injury settlements in the coming days, this allows these players to get paid and find a new home once healthy. But a lot of action should take place following this weekend’s games and prior to Tuesday.
G Connor McGovern (Right knee)
McGovern did not finish practice on Wednesday after he “banged knees” with a teammate during a drill. Trainers came over to assess him and placed a compression sleeve on his knee as he sat and watched the end of practice. He was observed walking on the knee after practice but did not participate Thursday.
Sean McDermott noted how it was too early to tell McGovern’s status at this point. A knee-to-knee collision could have many implications on the possible injuries. One of the possibilities could be an MCL sprain as over 40 percent of knee injuries are MCL sprains.
The severity of the knee injury is not known but the team may want to see how he responds to rehab before making a decision on his status. As a fan, pay attention to how the offensive line looks at the beginning of the game. There’s a very good chance that will be the starting unit in Week 1 and beyond.
QB Matt Barkley (Right elbow)
Barkley missed practice all week due to a right elbow injury sustained against the Steelers on a hit in the pocket. A defender’s face mask hit Barkley from what appeared to be the outside of his elbow which caused the fumble.
He has been wearing a compression sleeve on his elbow and has not thrown all week. With a hit to the elbow with the arm cocked back, there was concern for a UCL sprain. This is similar to what Josh Allen went through last year.
Considering he will likely be the practice squad quarterback, they may just want to give Barkley the time to rehab and help round out the quarterback room after cut-down days. If it was indeed a UCL sprain, it can heal on its own but will take longer as Barkley would go the conservative route, not having to use PRP or other more aggressive means of tissue healing.
LB Terrel Bernard (Hamstring)
Bernard returned to practice in a limited role on Wednesday in full pads performing drills off to the side. This has been his first action since suffering his hamstring strain early in practice back on August 10.
If this was a regular season game, I would have expected Bernard to play in this week’s game, but not with any ramp-up time with the defense, it may not be the best idea to put him out there. The team has done an excellent job at managing the soft tissue injuries to not suffer reinjury in season.
Week 1 should not be in jeopardy, but it’s unfortunate that he missed out on an early chance to grab a starting role in the defense.
WR Kahlil Shakir (Sore ribs)
Shakir missed practice all week with sore ribs as indicated by the team. He only played in 12 plays during the game, eight on offense and four on special teams. There weren’t many plays where he could have hurt himself, but there was one where Shakir secured a tackle on a punt return where he got hit on the right side when a shoe came up and hit him inside as he fell down with the tackle. He played through the injury until his night was done, but that was one of the few times where there was a chance for a rib injury.
As he did not practice all week, he won’t play in Saturday’s game but he should be healthy enough to play in Week 1 even if it was a rib fracture or cartilage damage.
RB Jordan Mims (Mouth/concussion)
Mims was hit in the mouth on Tuesday, drawing blood and receiving attention from the training staff. He then missed Wednesday and Thursday’s practices with a concussion. Mims possibly had a delayed onset of symptoms which forced him into the concussion protocol. He will miss Saturday’s game and a chance to make one final push to make the roster.
LB Dorian Williams (Calf)
Williams missed practice all this week due to a calf injury sustained in the Steelers game. Considering his recent draft status and performance thus far, his roster spot is safe and he will have two weeks to fully recover in time for the start of the season.
OL Greg Mancz (Right knee)
Mancz missed practice on Tuesday with a sore right knee, most likely from the game, but was able to return to practice in full on Wednesday.
Other Injury Notes
TE Dawson Knox (Left fifth digit)
Knox sat out Saturday’s game with a left pinky injury originally suffering the injury in practice. He has a pretty significant tape job as seen in the video below. The tape job suggests some type of instability towards the base of the knuckle where the finger meets the hand.
Considering he isn’t throwing the football and catches more with the thumb and other fingers, this shouldn’t be a big issue but may hinder him at times if he suffers a reinjury.
DT Eli Ankou (Calf)
Ankou was able to return to practice on Wednesday after missing the last week of practice, originally suffering the calf strain against the Colts. These calf strains are unfortunately common for Ankou and hopefully don’t linger.
DE Von Miller (Right ACL)
Wednesday saw the return of Von Miller to the sidelines working out in a helmet and football pants going through drills.
He is roughly 9.5 months out from his ACL surgery and the team has given no indication whether he will be removed from PUP prior to Tuesday. It’s odd that we haven’t seen him do most of this type of work over the past few weeks, suggesting some type of minor setback. We saw a similar approach for Tre’Davious White last year, but there were other factors in play with him. Miller hasn’t had the opportunity to ramp up his activities to football and consider a chance to get live reps.
Considering cut down day is on August 29, I believe it would be short-sighted to activate him and then push him out onto the active roster to play within a few weeks. They should save the roster spot and give him another four weeks to rehab.
Once his four weeks are up, he can begin practicing with the team during his 21-day window and acclimate that way. The team needs him in January, not September.
EDGE Shane Ray (Right hamstring)
Ray was released on Friday with an injury settlement following his right hamstring strain against the Steelers last week. The hamstring strain did not appear serious enough that it would be a true season-ending injury, but this allows Ray to go find another team once he is healthy enough.
He can re-sign with the Bills, but he has to wait whatever amount of weeks he was paid for to rehab the hamstring plus three weeks. However, he can sign with any other team immediately.
John Murphy (Stroke)
There were some additional updates including the specifics of what happened with Bills play-by-play announcer John Murphy. Check out the link below to read more, but it still remains to be seen as to if and when Murphy will return to the booth.
New York Jets
DE Carl Lawson (Back)
Lawson has missed the last three weeks of practice dating back to August 9.
There haven’t been any reports as to what the original mechanism of injury was, but this isn’t a muscle strain at this point. The first thoughts go towards a disc herniation or some other type of compression on a nerve root causing radiculopathy. Instability could also be an issue if there is a spondylolisthesis.
The team will never clarify the injury, but this could be a persistent issue that Lawson deals with this season. Many fans will recall the issues that Shaquille Leonard worked through last year with the Colts when he required two microdiscectomies. This is an injury to watch in the coming days as cut-down day on Tuesday if he becomes an IR candidate.
WR Allen Lazard (AC joint sprain)
Lazard went down to the turf hard on Wednesday, suffering an AC joint sprain. It’s highly likely he won’t play in Saturday’s preseason finale, but he could realistically play Week 1. Had this been the regular season, he would likely miss several weeks.
OT Duane Brown (Left rotator cuff)
After playing on a torn rotator cuff all last year, Brown got it repaired shortly after the season ended. He had been on PUP the entirety of training camp and should be ready to play in Week 1.
He may not quite be in football shape, but his arm is healthy enough to withstand the rigors of professional football.
G Wes Schweitzer (Undisclosed)
Schweitzer is working through a lower-body injury sustained on Tuesday and has since been seen on the exercise bike for the remainder of the week.
Without additional information, it remains to be seen if he will play Saturday.
G Alijah Vera-Tucker (Ankle)/G Laken Tomlinson (Leg)
Both of their injuries date back to late last week around August 16, deemed day-to-day.
C Joe Tippmann (Left knee)
Tillman returned to practice Thursday after missing several days with a knee injury following an injury during the last preseason game.
RB Israel Abanikanda (Right thigh)
Abanikanda left last Saturday’s game with a right thigh contusion in the fourth quarter. He required assistance to get off the field which ended his night.
Fortunately, the news was positive following imaging with the damage only being soft tissue. He is expected to miss two weeks and may still feel the effects of the injury for a little longer than that, but no long-term concerns.
TE Kenny Yeboah (Hamstring)
OT Carter Warren/CB Jarrick Bernard-Converse (Undisclosed)
Warren has quietly missed most of the preseason, off to the side rehabbing. I did not have any information on him suffering any injuries, but he was coming off a meniscus repair from college.
He has not played in the past two preseason games which makes his absence all the more interesting.
JBC has also not appeared in any of the preseason games to this point due to being on PUP. The injury has not been disclosed.
TE Tanner Conner (Undisclosed)
Conner was PUP removed from the PUP list on August 22 for an undisclosed issue. He played through a knee injury all last year that also saw him go to IR, but he was frequently on the injury report as a limited participant.
QB Mike White (Concussion)
White was placed in the concussion protocol following the second preseason game after the training staff noted some irregularities in his actions. They did an evaluation and diagnosed him with a concussion. He appeared to move through the protocol quickly as he was spotted throwing to receivers on Thursday, but even if he had been cleared, he would not have played per the coaching staff.
DT Zach Sieler (Leg)
CB Cam Smith (Shoulder)
Smith is still working through a shoulder injury that he suffered during the first preseason game. He has been seen out of the red non-contact jersey and appears on the mend. Based on the timeframe, it’s quite possible that he suffered an AC joint sprain.
OT Terron Armstead (Right knee)
Armstead continues to watch off to the side without any bracing or compression sleeves on his right knee after going down in practice back on August 17. Considering his veteran status and injury history, there is no need for him to put himself through unnecessary hits or practice.
However, any concerns about Armstead’s availability for Week 1 should be tempered. Positive news through the grapevine was that Armstead’s injury was minor, there are no long-term concerns or injuries present, and this is not an injury that will linger into the season.
RB De’Von Achane (Left shoulder), Braylon Sanders (Knee), Eric Saubert (Undisclosed), Robert Jones (Undisclosed), Justin Bethel (Undisclosed)
-Sanders suffered a knee injury during joint practices with the Atlanta Falcons back on August 9.
-Saubert is working through an injury, starting the rehab process beginning on August 21.
-Jones is working through an MCL sprain, per his agent Drew Rosenhaus, suffered in the second preseason game and is expected to be out 4-to-6 weeks.
-There is no additional information on Bethel at this time.
-Achane is working through a suspected AC joint sprain suffered in Saturday’s preseason game.
New England Patriots
CB Christian Gonzalez (Left leg/ankle)
Gonzalez went down with a left leg/ankle injury during Wednesday’s practice but fortunately did not suffer any notable injury. He was able to play in Friday’s preseason game.
G Mike Onwenu (Ankle surgery)
Onwenu returned to practice on August 23 after starting the season on PUP following off-season ankle surgery. The exact procedure was not mentioned, but a Brostrom procedure may have been likely to correct for ankle instability.
OL Cole Strange (Left leg), Conor McDermott (Undisclosed), Kody Russey (Leg)
-Strange has not practiced since suffering a left knee injury on July 31.
-McDermott missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and also not playing in the last two preseason games.
-Russey had his leg rolled up on during the first preseason game and has been off to the side rehabbing.
CB Jon Jones (Undisclosed)
Jones continues to miss practice with an undisclosed issue that dates back to August 3.
WR Tyquan Thornton (Shoulder)
CB Isaiah Bolden (Concussion)
After suffering a brutal hit in the second preseason game, Bolden was taken off the field on a stretcher for further evaluation but was later diagnosed with a concussion.
WR Demario Douglas (Undisclosed)
RB Ty Montgomery (Left leg)
Montgomery has been working through a left leg injury originally sustained on July 27.
PUP: DE Trey Flowers (Undisclosed) Cody Davis (Knee)/NFI OT Calvin Anderson (Illness)
TE Mike Gesicki (Shoulder)
Gesicki returned to practice on August 23 after suffering a shoulder injury on August 15 that was both described as an AC joint sprain and a shoulder dislocation. We still have not received clarification on the exact injury and probably never will. But if he continues to have intermittent shoulder issues, I’d lean towards the shoulder dislocation being the culprit.
RB Pierre Strong (Concussion)
Strong suffered a concussion in the second preseason game and has since returned to practice in a red non-contact jersey on August 23.
TE Hunter Henry (Shoulder)
OT Riley Reiff (Right knee)
Reiff was rolled up on during Friday’s preseason game and was unable to finish the game. The concern is that he either suffered an MCL sprain or a high-ankle sprain based on the description. There should be more information in the coming days.
Top Photo Credit: Phinsider.com