Buffalo Bills Mandatory Minicamp Injury Review

Buffalo Bills Mandatory Minicamp Injury Review

The Buffalo Bills wrapped up mandatory minicamp this week after three days of practice, ending on Thursday. While there were many positives over the three day period, there were still plenty of injuries and several scares along the way. The hope is that none of these injuries linger into training camp other than the previously known injuries that were expected to have longer timeframes.

Below are the injuries coming out of mandatory minicamp, what we know, and any potential concerns heading into training camp.

Minicamp Injuries

FB Reggie Gilliam (Left Knee)

Gilliam missed most of the minicamp with a left knee injury that dated back to the first week of June, missing the final week of voluntary OTAs. Other than the soft brace on the left knee as he’s riding the bike, we don’t know the extent of the injury. The type of brace doesn’t lend itself to identifying the exact injury either, albeit, its not a fantastic angle to further analyze. 

He has had knee injuries in the past but it’s not clear whether this is an aggravation or a new issue. All we can do is acknowledge the existence of the injury and note this as a checkpoint if it becomes an issue later in the season.

LB Dorian Williams, RB Ty Johnson, LB Edefuan Ulofoshio, RB Ray Davis, LB Nick Morrow (Undisclosed)

Every one of the players listed above had an undisclosed injury that kept them on the sidelines working off to the side this past week. Williams, Ulofoshio, and Davis all had issues that kept them out of last week’s voluntary workouts.

Morrow missed practice last Tuesday but it’s not clear if he missed the other days of voluntary workouts. 

Johnson was the only new injury that popped up this week that wasn’t known. Hopefully all of the injuries are minor and just precautionary.

LB Baylon Spector (Right Leg)

Spector was limited once again this week due to a right leg injury that saw him wearing a compression sleeve on his leg. This was the same side that he dealt with hamstring issues on during the early portion of last year. He always appears to be dealing with something here and there but usually plays through the injury. Hopefully this does not linger into training camp, but his history does not bode well for his availability.

S Mike Edwards (Right Shoulder)

Very little is known regarding the extent of Edwards shoulder injury that dates back to at least May 21. The clip below shows him working through what appears to be a tipped ball drill, but doesn’t show him using his right arm much. He is able to block low and push the coach off before trying to grab at the ball with his left arm. 

The fact that he is able to participate in drills and contact indicate that he is on the mend which may imply that this is a non-issue come training camp. 

WR Khalil Shakir (Left Leg)

Quite possibly the biggest new injury news coming out of One Bills Drive on Tuesday was the news that Khalil Shakir suffered some type of lower body injury. Multiple people following the injury including Brandon Beane and even Khalil’s mother did not divulge the specifics of the injury, but noted that it appeared to be minor and that Shakir should be ready for training camp. 

It’s worth highlighting that he wore a sleeve on his right leg the first day before the injury but then wore a sleeve on the left side Wednesday and Thursday, indicating the side of the injury.

Considering he was walking around without much difficulty and only a sleeve suggests a minor strain or contusion. There is plenty of time for Shakir to rehab and be ready for training camp which may make this a moot point. 

LB Matt Milano (Right Knee)

To mine and everyone else’s surprise, Matt Milano was a limited participant during individual drills during minicamp. This was an incredibly promising sign to see him out there after suffering his tibial plateau fracture in Week 5. 

There are various timelines for return to play based on the damage anywhere from missing several weeks for non-displaced fractures that don’t require surgery. Several cases could return in three to four months with surgery. Or in Milano’s case, missing multiple months. Considering the location of the fracture near the knee, this increases the concern for traumatic arthritis. This would in turn lead to decrease in performance due to pain and inflammation limiting the ability to effectively use the knee. 

One positive is that Milano appears to have not suffered as much damage as previously thought by the evidence of the scar on the outside portion of his knee during media days. Seen in the tweet below, this might explain a more simpler procedure that could have led to a better outcome. 

There are plenty of video clips below showing his progression of running, tackling, cutting, and backpedaling. He looks good overall while he knocks the rust off. Barring setbacks, he should continue to increase his workload and return to team practices. The team does have the benefit of slowly ramping him up with more team activities the first two weeks of camp based on the CBA with practice participation. 

It will not surprise me if Milano has some veteran rest days during camp due to the injury but also his age. Progress is not always linear, but the hope is that he can get back into game shape and begin rounding into form during the second half of the season. 

OT Spencer Brown (Left Shoulder)

Brown continues to slowly work back from his labrum repair from early February, continuing to participate in individual drills off to the side. Barring setbacks, he should be ready for training camp on Day 1 and have minimal concerns moving forward.

CB Christian Benford, OL Will Clapp (Family)

Benford was excused from minicamp due to family issues while Clapp participated the first day before missing Wednesday and Thursday due to a family issue.

OT Tommy Doyle (Left ACL)

Doyle was seen off to the side as he begins the 2024 season on the Reserve PUP list, unable to play due to his injury. His salary is guaranteed and this will also allow him to rehab in an attempt to return in 2025.

QB Josh Allen (Right Shoulder)

Allen was not necessarily dealing with injury during minicamp, but he discussed how he had to work on his throwing mechanics to become more efficient. Allen did suffer a right shoulder injury during last season and aggravated it that led to altered throwing mechanics due to his bruised rotator cuff.

When the rotator cuff is injured, the muscles have difficulty maintaining the humeral head balance in the shoulder socket. If the humeral head rides up high towards the acromion or migrates upwards, this can reduce space available for the humerus to move in the shoulder joint. This can then lead to further rubbing of the rotator cuff muscles which could lead to eventual chronic tearing. While this did not happen with Allen, bringing the arm up overhead and cocking the arm back to throw can cause rubbing and pain in the shoulder. As a result, he would have to throw at a lower arm angle or change his release point to avoid further aggravating the arm. Reducing the speed at which he throws could also reduce the pain associated with the activity. There are many more considerations for throwing but these are some of the basic concerns.

Now that his shoulder is healthy, he can correct his throwing mechanics and potentially reduce future issues. It’s smart to check and recheck how someone moves to prevent poor movement patterns which could later cause injury. Whether it’s running mechanics, jumping, landing, throwing, or blocking, watching how the body moves in relation to the demands of the sport only help the body to react more predictably and allows the body to prepare and prevent injury. 

Final Thoughts

There is a lot we know and a lot we don’t know regarding the injuries. This doesn’t appear to be any more than in previous seasons other than no major injuries. I’m hoping most of these injuries will be non-issues come late July and into August, but establishing timelines and patterns can help better understand the injuries for performance and availability. 

Top Photo Credit: Matt Bove/WKBW