Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills WR Chase Claypool

Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills WR Chase Claypool

Needing further depth at wide receiver following the draft, the Buffalo Bills signed WR Chase Claypool to a one-year contract last Friday. 

The former Steelers, Bears, and Dolphins receiver has had several stops in his NFL journey, trying to recreate his success from early in his career. Injuries, offensive scheme, and culture fit have all appeared to play a part in Claypool bouncing around. The former second round receiver comes to Buffalo to get a new start in the hopes of getting things back on track.

Read below for Chase Claypool’s publicly reported injury history and analysis. 

Injury History

2020 Pittsburgh Steelers

Illness, Week 14, missed 0 games.

Claypool dealt with an illness during the week prior to the game against the Bills but did not miss the game. 

2021 Steelers

Hamstring strain, Week 4, missed 1 game.

Claypool suffered a hamstring injury in practice leading up to Week 4, forcing him to miss the game against the Green Bay Packers. 

Turf toe injury, Week 9, missed 1 game.

Claypool suffered a turf toe injury against the Chicago Bears in Week 9, missing the following week against the Detroit Lions before returning the following week. He battled the injury the rest of the season. 

2022 Steelers/Chicago Bears

Right shoulder injury, training camp, missed 1.5 weeks of practice. 

Claypool suffered a right shoulder injury during the early portion of training camp in late July. He later returned to the field in full pads roughly a week and a half later.

Right knee injury, Week 13, missed 2 games.

After being traded to the Chicago Bears, Claypool suffered a knee injury against the Green Bay Packers in Week 13. According to in-game reporting, he fumbled and grabbed at his right knee. By video, there was concern for a right MCL sprain

2023 Bears/Miami Dolphins 

Undisclosed injury, started training camp on PUP

Claypool began the season with Chicago on the PUP list dealing with several things. One report suggests that his knee from possibly last year was giving him issues. However, the next day, they removed him and cleared him to practice. 

Hamstring strain, training camp. 

Claypool suffered a hamstring strain in early August shortly after being removed from the PUP list. He spent what appeared to be at least two weeks rehabbing before he was able to return to practice. 

Knee injury, Week 9, missed 2 games.

After being traded to the Miami Dolphins in Week 5, Claypool did not see any game action until Week 7 as he acclimated to the offense. Regrettably, in Week 9, he suffered a knee injury that required minor surgery to clean up his knee. He was deemed week-to-week and missed 2 games and also had the bye week to recover. 

Injury Analysis

Claypool has dealt with a lot of smaller injuries that cost him games here and there throughout his career. Turf toe, several hamstring strains, shoulder, and knee injuries comprise the bulk of his issues over the last four seasons. 

Looking at the concerns, the shoulder injury doesn’t appear to be a lingering issue and considering it happened early in training camp, his absence may have been more precautionary. His turf toe appeared to be more unfortunate as he was tackled with his toe flexed which is a classic mechanism of injury. He may have some residual laxity within the joint but had been able to play through the injury and did not appear to require surgery. 

His hamstring strains did both appear early in the season which is in line with acclimation injuries. They did not appear to linger and there was at least considerable time in between the injuries to suggest it was not a recurring issue. 

The biggest concern and most recent is the knee injury. Based on the timeline for the surgery and original injury, it’s possible he was dealing with loose bodies within the joint or even a minor meniscus tear that finally required surgery. It’s possible that the surgery was the result of the knee injury from the prior season. 

The hope is that the knee injury is finally behind him but a workout/physical should have ensured the Bills confidence in signing him. Considering he is signed to a one-year deal with minimal financial commitment, they can move on from him if he gets injured or simply isn’t good enough. 

Final Thoughts

As long as the knee injury isn’t lingering, then there aren’t too many concerns. The turf toe injury appears behind him and it’s unfair to think that a player at a speed position hasn’t dealt with a hamstring strain occasionally. 

The bigger concern appears to be how he fits from a teammate standpoint. It’s possible the several trades and lack of production has humbled him or maybe he’s finally learning how to be a professional. His leash likely isn’t long with regards to how many chances he has left, but if he suffers another injury, that won’t do him any favors and could see an early exit from training camp.

I wish Chase Claypool the best of luck this season and to stay healthy. 

Top Photo Credit: Rich Storry/Getty Images


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