The final weeks of the season are upon us as the New England Patriots and New York Jets see the end of their respective seasons approaching. As for the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, they are looking forward to the playoffs starting with potential deep playoff runs.
Looking at the Week 17 slate, the Buffalo Bills host the New England Patriots, the Miami Dolphins head up north to face the Baltimore Ravens, and the New York Jets head out to face the Cleveland Browns. Every game has playoff implications for at least one team and injuries continue to play a huge role in seeding and even whether the Bills can make the playoffs.
Read below for the full injury information for each team around the AFC East.
WR Jaylen Waddle (Left High-Ankle Sprain)
Waddle will miss Week 17 after suffering a left high-ankle sprain as seen in the play below. This appears to be a rather mild high-ankle sprain due to the foot not being fully planted which would lead to dorsiflexion and eversion. There is still pain and swelling in the area and while he could play through it, it’s best he sits this week to be ready for the playoffs.
I still expect that he will struggle the next few weeks but if the Dolphins can get the number one seed, that will go a long way for a deep playoff run giving Waddle, Hill, and many others a rest. If they don’t, then this week off and potentially next week if things fall just right can allow Waddle to be effective in the wild card round.
OL Robert Hunt (Hamstring)
Hunt has been battling through a hamstring strain for the better part of the second half of the season. He originally injured his hamstring in Week 8 and missed the next two games. He returned in Week 12 as an emergency backup before increasing his workload in Week 13 where he suffered a reaggravation to the area. He has missed the last three games. I don’t expect he suits up.
OL Lester Cotton (Hip)
Cotton has been battling a hip injury dating back to Week 12, appearing on the injury report intermittently, and is questionable after being limited on Thursday and Friday.
S Jevon Holland (Knees)
Holland has missed the last four games as he battles back from MCL sprains in both knees as the result of overextending on a play against the New York Jets in Week 12. Considering MCL sprains take several weeks to return from in one knee, it’s no surprise that he has missed this amount of time. The team has still gone 3-1 during his absence, but they need him healthy for Week 18 and the playoffs. One more week would only help.
CB Xavien Howard (Hip/Thumb)
Howard has been dealing with a hip designation dating back to Week 14 that saw him miss Week 15 and added in a thumb injury this week. I expect him to suit up on Sunday.
OL Austin Jackson (Oblique)
Jackson has been battling through an oblique injury originally sustained against the Tennessee Titans. He has been able to play through the injury up until last week when he missed against the Dallas Cowboys. This may have been strategically done as the Cowboys were an NFC opponent and a loss to them did not mean as much in the standings. Considering the Dolphins are fighting for the number 1 seed, having Jackson healthier heading into this game will only help their chances to win.
OL Liam Eichenberg (Calf/Ankle)
Eichenberg has been working through a calf injury dating back several weeks and added in an ankle injury this week. He did not have a designation last week which means the ankle injury is the more acute injury which is why he is questionable for Sunday. I do expect him to play.
RB Raheem Mostert (Knee/Ankle)
Mostert continues to miss practice throughout the week to be fresh for Sundays as he extends his Dolphins touchdown record, now at 21. His knee injury dates back to Week 9 and the ankle injury dates back to Week 7 without him missing time. This appears to be a maintenance issue at this point.
CB Jalen Ramsey (Knee)
Ramsey was a late addition to the injury report Friday with a knee designation though it’s not clear what happened. It’s possible but unconfirmed that this is the same knee that he tore the meniscus in earlier this season. This may have been a small tweak that led to him missing a rep or two but barring any huge news not revealed yet, I do expect him to play.
RB De’Von Achane (Toe)
Achane originally suffered a toe injury against the Tennessee Titans and has continued to play through the injury, appearing in his normal complement of snaps.
OT Terron Armstead (Left Knee/Right Ankle/Back)
Armstead being on the injury report is a common occurrence with the left knee injury dating back to Week 4 from an MCL sprain against the Bills. The right ankle injury was from Week 13 from a leg whip against the Commanders. He was unable to suit up in Week 14 but returned to play in Week 15 and continues to play through all the injuries including a back designation picked up this week.
WR Robbie Chosen (Concussion)
Chosen entered the concussion protocol after a hit on Sunday but was able to pass through the protocol rather quickly and has no gameday designation heading into Week 17.
WR Tyreek Hill (Left High-Ankle Sprain)
Hill suffered a left high-ankle sprain against the Tennessee Titans in Week 13, knocking him off his quest for 2,000 receiving yards. He missed the following week against the New York Jets before returning against the Dallas Cowboys to secure nine receptions for 90 yards. While that is a great stat line, he had 29 YAC which is a steep dropoff from this season. I expect him to be more of a possession receiver in the next few weeks as he recovers, lacking explosion and lateral mobility. Hopefully, he can regain some of his form in the playoffs.
QB Tua Tagovailoa (Left Thumb/Quad)
Tagovailoa got banged up a bit last week with his left thumb which is his throwing hand and quad designations. He was limited on Wednesday and Thursday but practiced in full on Friday without a designation. This may be an injury to watch if he takes several more hard hits Sunday.
LB Andrew Van Ginkel (Wrist)
Van Ginkel was limited on Wednesday and Thursday before practicing in full on Friday without a designation. He is still working through an oblique injury and broken nose from last week but his are injuries not listed this week.
New England Patriots
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (Ankle)
Smith-Schuster has been working through an ankle injury that dates back to Week 13 that has seen him miss the last two games. The exact mechanism of injury is unknown, but he had a productive game in Week 14, securing four receptions for 90 yards, but potentially re-injuring his ankle that game.
S Jabrill Peppers (Hamstring)
Peppers is slated to miss his second consecutive game following a hamstring injury suffered against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15. He played in 91 percent of snaps that game but then was ruled out for Week 16 and was unable to practice all week leading up to Sunday. He does have a history of hamstring issues dating back several years and he battled a hamstring several times during the 2022 season. The management of the injury may be more precautionary since there is a history and little to play for Sunday.
DL Christian Barmore (Knee)
Barmore has been on and off the injury report this year due to knee and shoulder issues. His knee issues date back to 2021 and he was a weekly mainstay on the injury report for the knee since Week 3. The past few weeks have had him dealing with a shoulder injury, but this knee issue is chronic at this point and hasn’t prevented him from suiting up.
DB Myles Bryant (Chest)
Bryant was a new addition to the injury report with a chest injury with no additional information available at this time. Chest injuries can usually also be known as pectoral injuries which may explain what this is. If he does play, he may have trouble blocking and tackling, but considering the depth issues on the team, he may be pressed into service.
TE Hunter Henry (Left Knee)
Henry missed last week’s game due to a left knee sprain suffered against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15. You can see the hit below and how that placed stress through the medial knee when he was hit on the outside portion of the leg. He may truly be 50/50 on whether he can suit up this Sunday. He probably isn’t healthy enough to play but may want to because he is a competitor. If he does play, I expect him to be limited in his routes and may be limited to blocking duties.
LB Anfernee Jennings (Illness/Knee)
Jennings was limited Wednesday due to an illness before his designation changed to a knee on Thursday. The knee injury is a new issue without additional information.
CB Jonathan Jones (Knee)
Jones has been battling a knee injury all year, originally suffering the knee injury in Week 7 against the Buffalo Bills. He has not missed any games due to the injury but has been questionable for five out of the last eight games. I do expect him to play considering the depth issues in the secondary.
WR Matthew Slater (Hamstring)
Slater missed the first game in six years last week due to his hamstring strain originally suffered in Week 15. He has been limited all week as he recovers and barring a setback, I would expect that he plays this weekend.
CB Shaun Wade (Hip)
Wade picked up a hip injury following the Week 16 win and has been limited all week. He has been a bottom-of-the-roster player which means that he is only pressed into service if starters are ruled out.
S Kyle Dugger (Illness)
Dugger was unable to practice on Friday due to an illness and is officially questionable.
OT Tyrone Wheatley (Knee)
After suffering a knee injury in Week 6, Wheatley spent time on injured reserve as he rehabbed through the injury. He has been practicing after opening his 21-day window on December 13 and the team has to decide on whether to activate him or not soon.
OT Trent Brown (Illness/Right Ankle/Hand)
Brown has been a mainstay on the injury report for the second half of the season due to a variety of injuries. The ankle injury is from the Week 7 win over the Buffalo Bills, a high-ankle sprain that has continued to linger.
The hand injury popped up after the Week 13 loss to the Chargers which has also not forced him to miss any time. As for the illness, he has been off and on the injury report for this with an illness that forced him to miss Week 15. I do expect him to return to the lineup and play Sunday.
S Jalen Mills (Concussion)
Mills suffered a concussion in the Week 16 win over the Denver Broncos and despite not practicing all week until Friday, passed concussion protocol and will play Sunday.
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (Knee)
Bentley has been on and off the injury report for the last few weeks due to the knee injury he is currently dealing with. He showed up on the injury report with a knee designation the Friday before Week 15 and played but was off the injury report last week. He returned this week and was limited all week but looks to suit up on Sunday. He was dealing with a hamstring strain earlier this season that forced him out of the Week 10 contest but otherwise has been a mainstay on the defense.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson (Right High-Ankle Sprain)
Stevenson was placed on injured reserve earlier this week after missing the last three games due to the high-ankle sprain suffered against the Chargers. This is more of a roster management move to free up a spot rather than indicating the severity of the injury. He needs rest and rehab to be ready for 2024.
New York Jets
QB Zach Wilson (Concussion)
Wilson was unable to practice all week after he suffered a concussion in Week 15. He has now missed two games and may not even play next week.
QB Aaron Rodgers (Left Achilles)
Rodgers is on the active roster and continues to practice despite having no intention of playing as he rehabs from his Achilles tear suffered in Week 1.
TE Jeremy Ruckert (Concussion)
Ruckert suffered a concussion sometime in the second half of Sunday’s win over the Commanders and was ruled out early Wednesday morning after not practicing all week.
K Greg Zuerlein (Right Quad)
Zuerlein was a limited participant on Wednesday due to right quad soreness that saw him downgraded to not practicing on Tuesday. He returned to practice as a limited participant on Wednesday before being deemed questionable. Should he not be able to go, the Jets have elevated practice squad kicker Austin Seibert as a backup option.
WR Allen Lazard (Illness)
Lazard missed practice Wednesday due to an illness and is officially questionable for Thursday.
RB Israel Abanikanda (Ankle)
Abankinda has been working through an ankle injury dating back to Week 15. He has not missed any games and got a decent workload last week, taking nine rushes for 43 yards. I fully expect him to play again this week despite his questionable designation.
DB Justin Hardee (Foot)
Hardee suffered a foot injury in the win on Sunday and after not practicing Monday, he practiced in full on Tuesday and Wednesday, ready to play.
DB Ashtyn Davis (Abdominal)
Davis was limited on Monday due to an abdominal issue but was able to practice in full the past two days and has no designation.
DL John Franklin-Myers (Groin/Ankle)
JFM continues to battle injuries week in and week out, the latest being a groin/ankle injury. He was on the injury report last week with a hip designation but played through the injury. He was on the injury report for Week 15 due to an ankle prior. The hip and groin issue may be related, but he does not have a designation heading into the game for Thursday.
QB Trevor Siemian (Right Elbow)
Siemian worked through a right elbow injury this week that did not limit him in practice this week but was notable in that this is his throwing arm. He has no designation and will play on Thursday, starting his second consecutive game.
OT Duane Brown (Back)
Brown was unable to practice all this week due to a back injury picked up in practice the Friday before Week 16. He was unable to play in the game as a result and after not practicing all week, on Wednesday, he was placed on injured reserve, ending his season.
DE AJ Epenesa (Left Ribs)
Epenesa was limited all week after missing the last two weeks due to a left rib cartilage injury suffered against the Kansas City Chiefs. His availability will come down to how much pain he is still in and the risk for re-injury. If he does not play this weekend, he will be ready for Week 18.
S Damar Hamlin (Right Shoulder)
Hamlin suffered a shoulder injury midway through the second quarter when he was hit hard with his right arm partially abducted blocking on a punt. He was in clear discomfort grabbing at the shoulder as he walked off the field but was able to return with a shoulder harness later in the game.
By video, there is a strong suspicion of a right posterior labrum tear based on how the arm was hit with the arm in abduction, leading to a subluxation or even dislocation. The hit could have sheared the humeral head backward, tearing the back portion of the labrum. This is an injury that he can play through, but there may be resulting pain and weakness in the area, especially with blocking and tackling. The force pushing the arm backward could lead to further instability events, eventually requiring surgery. He could be an IR candidate if the Bills need to bring anyone else back later this season.
DT DaQuan Jones (Right Pectoral)
Jones was able to practice in full all week as he ramps up from his Week 5 pectoral tear that required surgery. He is three months out from surgery and could reasonably play this week as there is an open roster spot due to the release of OL Germain Ifedi.
When Jones does return, I expect them to limit his snap count and put him on during certain passing or rushing downs. He may struggle to block on the right side and tackle along with performing swim moves, but he can still be effective enough to contribute to the defensive line. Despite the questionable designation, I fully expect him to play.
LB Terrel Bernard (Right Ankle)
Bernard has been limited all week due to a right ankle injury suffered in the second quarter of Saturday’s win. By video, it looks as though he suffered a medial ankle sprain, and based on how he has been able to practice this week.
Bernard has played through multiple other injuries this year and with tape or a brace stabilizing the area, I expect Bernard to play and still be relatively effective, though he may be limited at times with his lateral mobility.
LS Reid Ferguson (Right Thumb)
Ferguson injured his right thumb against the Dallas Cowboys but was able to practice in full. He had to have the thumb taped up around the web space between the thumb and index finger but his snaps remain consistent and no concerns moving forward.
DE Leonard Floyd (Wrist/Left Ribs)
Floyd suffered bruised ribs as a result of getting blindsided during the Dallas Cowboys game. He briefly had to exit but was able to return and finish that game and play last week. This is more of a pain issue but he continues to play through the injury. As for the wrist, this has been present since suffering the injury against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 12.
S Micah Hyde (Left Neck Stinger)
Hyde looks set to return after missing the last two games due to his left neck stinger issues. Since Week 9, he has had three stingers and these have caused him significant pain. I don’t believe that his fusion from last year is causing problems, but if he has another disc herniation at another level, stenosis, or irritation in the brachial plexus down into the shoulder, this could explain why he continues to have recurrent symptoms when he gets hit.
At this point, he is trying to get through the year and avoid re-injury. Hopefully two weeks off allowed him to reduce the inflammation enough to get through the game without suffering yet another stinger.
RB Ty Johnson (Right Shoulder)
Johnson remained in a red non-contact jersey again this week after missing last week’s game due to a right AC joint sprain. This was despite him returning in Week 15 and finishing out the game. The team called up Leonard Fournette last week to take his place but Johnson appears ready to go this week.
DB Cam Lewis (Left Thumb)
Lewis injured his left thumb while trying to recover the Deonte Harty fumble late in the first quarter on Sunday. Based on how he fell with his hand hitting, it’s possible he suffered some type of thumb sprain.
It would not surprise me to see him wearing some type of thumb spica or have the wrist taped to support the thumb. A general brace could be in play as well, but I do expect him to play.
LB Dorian Williams (Knee)
Williams was able to practice in full this week despite a knee designation. It’s not clear when he suffered the knee injury, but he did deal with a knee injury in October that appeared to hyperextend his knee which saw him on the injury report later in the season. He continues to be a main special teams contributor and occasional participant on defense.
WR Justin Shorter (Hamstring)
Shorter’s 21-day practice window is closing after this game as he continues to return from his preseason hamstring injury. His injury has been more of a redshirt season for him than indicating the severity of the hamstring injury. His availability comes down to whether there is a spot for him on the roster.
Top Photo Credit: Phinsider.com