Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills LB Nicholas Morrow

Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills LB Nicholas Morrow

After taking care of business by signing several of their own pending free agents, the Buffalo Bills signed their first external free agent in LB Nicholas Morrow to a one-year deal on Tuesday. 

After stops in Oakland/Las Vegas, Chicago, and Philadelphia, Morrow comes to Buffalo to compete for a depth and special teams role. But on a one-year deal, Morrow doesn’t have a long leash to work with if future injuries occur which could lead to a short stint in Buffalo if he were to miss time. 

Below is Nicholas Morrow’s publicly reported injury history and any notable concerns. 

Injury History

2017 Oakland Raiders

Ankle injury, Week 6, missed 0 games.

Morrow suffered an ankle injury that saw him be designated as questionable for the following three weeks. His defensive snap counts went down significantly over the next four weeks as he saw most of his snaps on special teams. 

2018 Raiders

No publicly reported injuries. 

2019 Raiders

Ankle injury, Week 1, missed 0 games. 

Morrow appeared on the injury report ahead of Week 1, limited all week and questionable against the Denver Broncos but ultimately played. He only saw snaps on special teams the first two weeks and did not get regular playing time on defense until midway through the season. 

There does not appear to be any reports how he injured the ankle whether this was a preseason injury or something that happened in practice. 

2020 Las Vegas Raiders

Concussion, Week 14, missed 1 game.

Morrow sustained a concussion late in the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts and did not return. As Week 15 was a short week, this was simply not enough time to pass through the concussion protocol forcing him to miss his first game. 

COVID, Week 16, missed 1 game. 

Regrettably, after he cleared concussion protocol, Morrow contracted COVID and went on the COVID/Reserve list while he was positive and missed his second consecutive game. He was on the list just days prior to Week 17 but cleared in time to play. 

2021 Raiders

High ankle sprain with Tightrope surgery, side not specified, missed entire season.

During a preseason joint practice with the Los Angeles Rams, Morrow suffered an ankle injury during the last play of the scrimmage that was later described as a high-ankle sprain. The sprain was significant enough to require Tightrope surgery that sent him to injured reserve. 

It’s not specified wether there was any associated fracture but considering he said he could not walk on the ankle for a while, it’s likely there was.

According to Morrow, he would have been able to return for the divisional round of the playoffs had the Raiders advanced past the Cincinnati Bengals. 

2022 Chicago Bears

No publicly reported injuries. 

2023 Philadelphia Eagles

Abdomen, Week 15, missed 1 game.

Morrow suffered an abdomen injury against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15 and was unable to practice the following week. Even after logging multiple DNP’s, he still was deemed questionable before being ultimately ruled out. 

Injury Analysis

As with any football player, there are several injuries to note. The multiple ankle injuries including one that needed surgery, concussion, and abdomen injury comprise the injuries that Morrow has had in the NFL. He may have appeared in the injury report and not had a designation at times, but no additional information could be found at this time. 

He had even noted that up until 2020, he had never missed a game in his football career further cementing his durability. Looking at each injury specifically, the concussion is a relatively non-issue as this appears to be a one-off injury, though they can happen again so he’s not totally absolved in the future. 

His abdomen issue could have been an oblique or just a painful blow to the stomach area. He was questionable heading into the game despite not practicing but held out. This also does not appear to be a concern. 

Finally, his ankle injuries are something to note. What’s important to highlight is that the other ankle occurred prior to the high-ankle sprain that required the Tightrope procedure. This is the same procedure that former Bills RB Zack Moss underwent during the 2020 playoffs


While we did find out later how much Moss struggled coming off that injury, Morrow did not appear to have the same issues. He was able to start 17 games for a different team and have his best statistical season. High-ankle sprains coming off Tightrope surgery typically do well upon returning to play and have no long-term implications.

Morrow has demonstrated durability and the ability to play through injury. Add in the fact that he has 58 games of starting experience, 94 games total, and has experience calling the defense, this was a smart signing by Brandon Beane. 

We don’t have the monetary numbers on the contract but the injuries do not leave much to be concerned about. As long as he can stay healthy moving forward, Morrow could realistically find himself a roster spot come 2024 and be a great depth option should the linebacker corps thin out again. He has an even better shot if Tyrel Dodson does indeed leave in free agency. 

These are the type of players who come on cheap contracts that want to win. This was a great signing and hopefully Nicholas Morrow can find a role in the 2024 Buffalo Bills defense. 

Top Photo Credit: USA Today