Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs Divisional Round Injury Review

Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs Divisional Round Injury Review

The Buffalo Bills lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 27-24 in a thrilling, yet disappointing divisional round game. With a chance to tie it towards the end, the Bills missed a 44-yard field goal wide right. That allowed the Chiefs to regain possession to get the first downs they needed to ice the game.

Despite the loss, there are still injuries to review from the game. While it won’t matter for next week, these could be notable for offseason procedures and any concerns moving forward for free agency or contract extensions. 

In-Game Injuries

LB Tyrel Dodson (Left Ankle)

Dodson tweaked what appeared to be his left ankle trying to avoid a late hit early in the second quarter. When he stopped short, he had to jump out of the way and off to the right. When he hit the ground, his left foot hit first and appeared to twist outward. 

There is the possibility that he hit the right ankle, but he hit and continued rolling before stopping with the trainers tending to him. 

When the ankle twists out like that, there is concern for a high-ankle or medial ankle sprain. However, Dodson only missed minimal time and was able to return. While the adrenaline was going and the urgency, this explains why he was able to continue playing. This is something he will feel in the coming days.

LB AJ Klein (Left Ankle)

Klein appeared to injure his left ankle on a big Patrick Mahomes run down the left side with 13:48 left in the third quarter. In hot pursuit, Klein stumbled at the end and appeared to land awkwardly on the outside portion of his ankle. 

He required the assistance of the training staff before only missing one play and returning. After the game, he went for x-rays for what I assume is to further assess the injury. 

WR Khalil Shakir (Right Shoulder)

With 11:19 left in the third quarter, Shakir took a pass up the right side and was sandwiched between two Chiefs defenders as he went down. He was in discomfort as training staff tended to him before he ran off with his right arm pinned to his side. 

By video, there was concern for an AC joint sprain by the way he was hit laterally from the right. He did not return with a harness and he was able to re-enter the game. He was able to finish and help the Bills march towards a chance to win, but could not get the job done. 

TE Dawson Knox (Head)

Knox slammed his head off the turf on a catch up the left side with 7:30 in the fourth quarter as seen below. 

He got hit low which caused him to catapult over and slam his head to the ground, requiring a concussion check. Fortunately, he was able to clear and return to the game. 

Other Observations

LB Terrel Bernard (Right Ankle)

According to Bernard, he would have been ready to go next week had they advanced. He now has to undergo further assessments to see if surgery is warranted. Considering how damaged the ligaments may be, he may be looking at a Brostrom procedure if he has to have them repaired.

This basically tightens up all the ligaments in the area and provides support to the area damaged by the lateral ankle sprains. If he does undergo surgery, he is looking at a 4-6 month recovery. Should he undergo the procedure, a deeper dive will be taken into his surgery and outlook for 2024.

However, he later told Tim Graham of The Athletic that he subluxed his ankle which is a partial dislocation that it popped out and in. That in itself isn’t surprising given the damage in the area from the two ankle sprains over the past month and from hitting the turf.

Given the laxity of the ankle, the truth is somewhere in the middle whether he will require surgery or not based on the information we got tonight. I do question how much difference he could have made even if he was at less than 100%. Unfortunately, we won’t know.

QB Josh Allen (Right AC Joint/Rotator Cuff Impingement)

According to the tweet below, Allen suffered an AC joint sprain against the Giants in Week 6 and then took several other hits the following weeks against the Patriots and Buccaneers. This is an account that I know to receive accurate information that I have come to trust.

The rotator cuff issue is called impingement. Basically, this is where the top of the shoulder, the acromion begins to rub on the rotator cuff due to improper mechanics of the shoulder. This is often seen after injury such as his or it can be a slow change over time as you get older.

The repeated rubbing of the acromion on the rotator cuff can cause pain, inflammation, and can lead to eventual tearing of the rotator cuff. The initial injury of the AC joint sprain explains the accuracy issues we expected to see following the injury. He could have also had a bruised rotator cuff but the resulting weakness could have also led to the altered mechanics and this issue as well.

The accuracy issues eventually led to altered mechanics which in turn caused the rubbing/impingement.

Unfortunately, even with proper rest and rehab, this can still occur considering how often and how hard Allen throws the football. This could require surgery in some cases to shave down the acromion. There could be the possibility that the rotator cuff needs repaired as well. But we don’t have enough details quite yet.

This is unfortunately similar to the issues we saw with Cam Newton towards the back half of his career. Newton had several other issues including a Lisfranc sprain in his foot that led to his decline, but the shoulder issues didn’t help.

Final Thoughts

When it mattered most, the Bills couldn’t deliver. That’s what it boils down to after Sunday’s loss. 

There are a lot of questions about this team regarding its future, why it keeps coming up short in big moments, and how do they move forward?

We will also get a lot of information in the coming days on exit physicals and offseason procedures. I expect to hear plenty of procedures on guys and even some surprise ones as well. Watch for article updates this week and next.

If you’ve read this far, thanks for following along all season reading the weekly articles, watching the video shorts at Cover 1, and listening to Locked On Bills.

Injury analysis has become a passion of mine and something I enjoy sharing with the fan base. It’s a ton of work but I believe it’s important to have reliable, honest, and and as accurate as possible injury information available to provide context.

Thanks for all the support this season and Go Bills.

Top Photo Credit: AP Photo/Adrian Kraus