Week 5 in the AFC East kicks off Sunday morning with the Buffalo Bills heading to London to face the Jacksonville Jaguars bright and early. Coming back stateside, the Miami Dolphins play the New York Giants, the Patriots face the New Orleans Saints and the New York Jets take on the Denver Broncos.
Injuries around the division have wreaked havoc on each roster sending starters on each team to injured reserve, some for several weeks and some for the season. Read below for all the details below.
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LB Jaelan Phillips (Oblique)
Phillips missed his second game of the season with an oblique injury sustained in Week 3 against the Denver Broncos. He has been trending upwards this week and with limited practices all week, it may come down to how he feels on Sunday. I would expect him to try to go on Sunday considering the injury.
C Connor Williams (Groin)
After seeing the struggles of the offensive line without Williams starting at center last week, it almost seems like a foregone conclusion that he will try to suit up Sunday. Especially with Armstead out for the next four weeks, to have 40 percent of your offensive line missing heading into Week 5 is not ideal even against the New York Giants.
OL Lester Cotton (Ankle)
Cotton appeared in two special teams snaps on Sunday and came away with an ankle injury. While he has been active on game days, he has been limited all week and is officially questionable. He may be an easy player to make inactive if a variety of transactions need to occur.
WR Braxton Berrios (Knee)
After a limited practice Wednesday, Berrios was upgraded to full and has no designation heading into Week 5.
S DeShon Elliott (Groin)
Elliott missed last weeks game with ankle and groin injuries and appears still limited by the groin injury. However, he practiced in full and will suit up Sunday.
RB Salvon Ahmed (Groin)
After missing Week 3 due to a groin injury, Ahmed played last week and was able to practice in full on Thursday and Friday, indicating that his injury is in the rearview.
OL Rob Jones (Knee)
CB Nik Needham (Achilles)
Both Jones and Needham opened their 21-day window from IR and PUP respectively on Wednesday. Jones suffered an MCL sprain in the final preseason game and was expected to require 4-to-6 weeks. Needham continues to rehab from his Week 6 Achilles tear sustained last season.
Both were ruled out prior to Saturday, indicating that they will take longer to return.
OT Terron Armstead (Back/Ankle/Right Knee/Left Knee)
Armstead left late in the second quarter of Sunday’s game against the Bills when DT DaQuan Jones fell into the back of Armstead’s left leg, sending him to the turf.
By video, it looks as though he suffered an MCL sprain as he fell forward. Armstead immediately knew something was wrong and instead of going to the sidelines, he went straight to the locker room for further evaluation.
Coming into the game he was dealing with ankle, back, and right knee problems from his off-season scope. Mike McDaniel later said that it would be weeks, not days before Armstead would return to play. Considering all the injuries that he has suffered, the discussion of injured reserve came up. On Friday, the team placed Armstead on injured reserve as it appears it is at least a moderate MCL sprain, he could be looking at 4-to-6 week recovery time as his teammate Rob Jones.
If the Dolphins want to contend in the postseason, then they need to get Armstead healthy.
New England Patriots
DL Davon Godchaux (Left Ankle)
Godchaux has played through a left ankle injury suffered against the Dolphins in Week 3, appearing in his normal snap counts. I would expect that he suits up.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson (Thigh)
Stevenson played the entire game in Week 4 which makes identifying what the specifics of this injury are. Former teammate Damien Harris missed four weeks last season with a thigh contusion, but as Stevenson is practicing, it does not appear to be as severe. This may come down to how manageable the pain is come Sunday.
OT Trent Brown (Chest)
Brown was a late addition to the injury report with a chest injury with no additional details available.
CB Jonathan Jones (Ankle)
DL Christian Barmore (Knee)
G Cole Strange (Knee)
CB Shaun Wade (Shoulder)
None of these players’ injuries have drastically changed as they all work through their respective injuries. Jones has missed three games after an ankle injury in practice. Barmore is playing through what appears to be a chronic knee injury dating back to college. Strange suffered a setback with his knee injury and missed last week. Wade suffered a shoulder injury in practice prior to Week 4.
I would expect Barmore and Wade to suit up with Jones being 50/50 and Strange to miss another week.
OL Riley Reiff (Knee)
DB Cody Davis (Knee)
DL Trey Flowers (Foot)
All three players opened their 21-day window to begin practicing from injured reserve for Reiff and PUP for Davis and Flowers. Reiff suffered a right knee sprain during the final preseason game which forced him to injured reserve after roster cutdowns.
Davis has been out since a Week 6 knee injury last season with little additional information and Flowers was signed and immediately put on PUP with what has now been revealed as a foot injury.
CB Christian Gonzalez (Shoulder, torn right labrum)
It has already been announced that Gonzalez would go to injured reserve following his right shoulder dislocation on Sunday. Due to the dislocation, he tore the labrum in his shoulder, leaving the joint with residual instability.
He could have tried to play through the injury with a harness once he returned from IR, but the tear may have either been too large to ensure the shoulder would not dislocate again or he would risk further damage to the surrounding structures in the area, causing long-term issues. Once he does return, most players do return to play but have a 32 percent re-tear rate. The Patriots would be wise to not rush him along and he has ample time to rehab to be ready for the 2024 NFL season.
LB Matthew Judon (Right distal biceps tear)
Judon suffered a distal right biceps tendon tear while attempting to tackle Dak Prescott in the backfield. As Judson’s arm came around, it was hit by a Cowboys player, hyperextending the arm.
Unfortunately, when an individual tears their distal biceps tendon, they cannot play through the injury as they are unable to bend the elbow. Judon will undergo surgery to repair the damage and is expected to be out indefinitely. Most bicep repairs take upwards of six months. If he comes back early, he will struggle with blocking on the right side and wrapping tackles up even with bracing.
When players who undergo this surgery return, they do not suffer any performance decline or change in career length. The only way I see Judon come back is if the Patriots are in the playoff hunt in January and he would still be at less than 100 percent.
New York Jets
CB Brandin Echols (Hamstring)
Echols suffered a hamstring strain on Sunday during a punt return with 14:15 left in the second quarter. He was running down over the middle of the field, appeared to slow down to cut to his right, and then dropped.
He was ruled out prior to Wednesday’s practice and it wouldn’t surprise me if he is placed on injured reserve in the interim.
CB DJ Reed (Concussion)
Reed appeared in 100 percent of the defensive snaps on Sunday night against the Chiefs before showing up to practice Wednesday with a concussion. It’s not clear when he suffered the concussion but he was unable to practice all this week as a result and was ruled out. This came after the team was initially optimistic that he would play in Week 5.
LB Samuel Eguavoen (Ankle)
A new injury this week, there are no reports on social media or in the box score indicating the specifics of this injury. He is officially questionable after getting in a limited practice on Friday.
G Billy Turner (Toe)
Turner was a late addition to the injury report Friday with a toe designation but is expected to play. This indicates that he suffered the injury either Thursday or Friday, not getting any reps in.
S Tony Adams (Hamstring)
Adams got in a full practice Thursday and Friday after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury suffered against the Dallas Cowboys. The play happened when he attempted to tackle CeeDee Lamb.
S Jarrick Bernard-Converse (Foot)
OT Carter Warren (Shoulder)
Both Bernard-Converse and Warren opened their 21-day practice windows after starting the season on PUP and IR, respectively. JBC has been out since prior to training camp due to a foot injury that was previously unknown while Warren is still working through a shoulder injury sustained in the preseason Hall of Fame game. That injury was also previously unknown.
Both could be activated for Sunday, though it’s unclear if they will.
OL Wes Schweitzer (Concussion)
Schweitzer began practicing this week with a full designation on Thursday after suffering a concussion in practice prior to Week 2. He missed the last two games before being cleared to play in Week 5.
OT Mekhi Becton (Left Knee)
Becton continues to limit his reps during the week to play on Sundays.
DE Greg Rousseau (Right Foot)
Rousseau missed practice all week with a right foot injury sustained midway through the second quarter as shown above. He has been ruled out and the team has been mum on what his exact status is. Considering Ed Oliver fell onto his foot, that is a lot of weight and force that hit the top of his foot with very little natural padding.
There are a variety of injuries to the area to consider including a contusion, a midfoot sprain, Lisfranc sprain, or even a fracture. Despite the little information available, we can deduce that there are several injuries that it cannot be. If it was a Lisfranc fracture/dislocation, the team would have been more forthcoming with that information as he would have undergone surgery by this point. He also would not have been able to finish the game.
A Jones fracture could be in play but the mechanism of injury is more when the foot plantarflexes and the hindfoot turns inward, similar to rolling your ankle. Even if this was a Jones fracture, it’s likely they would want to do surgery to stabilize the area. If this was another metatarsal fracture that became displaced, surgery would also be indicated to repair the area and lead to a longer timeframe missed.
What we are left to consider is a contusion/bone bruise, midfoot sprain or Lisfranc sprain, or a non-displaced fracture to the cuboids or three cuneiform bones. A contusion would be the ideal solution as it would only be painful and could have a shorter timeframe to miss time. A bone bruise would require a longer timeframe but with some initial rest, he could play through the injury.
A Lisfranc sprain would be a sprain to the Lisfranc ligament that runs from the medial cuneiform to the base of the second metatarsal. There are typically more rotational forces in play with Lisfranc sprains, but it’s possible that happened, just couldn’t see it on film. If this is a stable Grade 1 or Grade 2 Lisfranc sprain, Grade 1 misses on average one week whereas Grade 2 misses on average 5 weeks.
Midfoot sprains in general have somewhat similar timelines with Grade 1 missing 3 days and Grade 2 missing 36 days. All Lisfranc sprains are midfoot sprains but not every midfoot sprain is a Lisfranc sprain. These timelines may indicate when he can return, but we’re not sure that this is even the injury.
Finally, the possibility of a fracture in the cuneiforms or cuboid is a possibility. The key point here would be that it would have to be non-displaced. There is not any real literature on cuneiform fractures or how to even injure the area, but it’s right in the middle of the foot. Cuboid is possible as the mechanism of injury is compression or crush of the lateral aspect of the foot, known as a nutcracker fracture. Oliver did hit on the top of the foot, so this is possible. However, cuboid injuries are also seen with Lisfranc and midfoot sprains, once again lumping that back in with what was mentioned above.
If this was a cuboid, there is some precedent as San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle suffered the same injury in 2020. He missed a total of five games late in the season as he rehabbed. He was not placed on injured reserve.
Unless the team tells us exactly what the injury is, we are left guessing. This is not a season-ending injury, but he is out this game, do not be alarmed if he misses next week and potentially more.
CB Tre’Davious White (Right Achilles)
White has been on the injury report all week as required as he has not officially been placed on injured reserve. This transaction will take place with a corresponding roster transaction on Saturday afternoon. To read more about his injury, click below.
DE Shaq Lawson (Toe)
Lawson was a late addition to the injury report Saturday with a toe designation, indicating that he suffered the injury in walk through on Friday.
CB Christian Benford (Right shoulder)
Benford took a hard shot to his shoulder on Sunday courtesy of Raheem Mostert. He left and stayed out for most of the game until he returned after Tre’Davious White was injured.
Looking at the video and pictures, he has kinesiotape all over his right shoulder. It’s fortunate that he did not suffer anything more severe that required a brace, but there is still likely a lot of pain and inflammation in the area.
This may come down to a pain tolerance issue but I would expect Benford to play especially with White being out.
EDGE Von Miller (Right Knee)
Wednesday saw the return of Von Miller to practice as he opened up his 21-day window to practice while on PUP. While he has looked good, there still isn’t a ton of ramp-up time for him to suddenly go play in a live NFL game.
Though questionable, Von indicates that he will play Sunday which is remarkable considering his age and the timeline.
While the team denied this, Greg Rousseau’s injury may have forced the team to accelerate his return slightly.
Putting Miller back out there prematurely could lead to further soft-tissue injuries and lessen his impact later in the season. His body needs to acclimate to going at full speed and doing everything he asks of it without hesitation. He needs that against other humans which he hasn’t had much of lately. This may be a calculated risk to slowly expose him to live contact versus letting him sit on PUP for another week. Looks like he’s going to play.
RB Damien Harris (Neck)
Harris was limited on Wednesday with a neck designation but was able to practice in full on Thursday and Friday, suggesting this may have been more soreness than anything else. He did have a neck injury in 2021 in Week 11 that he did not miss time for but that was coming off a concussion two weeks prior.
TE Dawson Knox (Quad)
Knox was limited Wednesday and Thursday with a quad designation but managed to play in 50 percent of offensive snaps Sunday. The play below showed the possible instance where he suffered a quad injury, whether this is a contusion or strain is unclear. He has no gameday designation indicating this is a minor issue.
S Jordan Poyer (Right Knee)
Poyer missed last week with a right knee injury that appeared to be a contusion by video, but it’s possible he could have tweaked something that just didn’t respond well later during the week.
He was limited Wednesday before practicing in full on Thursday and Friday indicating he will play on Sunday.
LB Baylon Spector (Right Hamstring)
Thursday was the first instance where we saw Spector off to the side rehabbing from his right hamstring strain suffered in the final preseason game. You can see how his hamstring and calf are taped up while he works through his rehab drills.
While this is promising, there is no guarantee when he returns because the Bills need a corresponding injury to activate him back to the roster. At this point, he can get fully healthy and come back when the team needs him.
Top Photo Credit: Phinsider.com