Week 11 Bills Injury Review- Dolphins

How severe is Nsekhe’s injury?

Another week, another win. The Bills move to 7-3 on the season with a convincing win over the Miami Dolphins in Miami Sunday afternoon. This is the best start for the Bills since 1999 & 10th time in franchise history that they started 7-3, all previous Bills teams made the playoffs with varying degrees of success. While the Bills are continuing to march towards the postseason, they will be without a key contributor moving forward. This & other injuries will be detailed below. 

WR Isaiah McKenzie (left knee)

McKenzie suffered a left knee injury when he caught a pass going out of bounds with :55 left in the 2nd quarter. CB Nik Needham was close by but unable to break up the pass, instead falling & hitting McKenzie’s lower leg. It appeared to hyperflex his left knee, causing McKenzie to get up & limp off the field. 

Thankfully this was close to halftime where he was able to get some rest & get a quick assessment to ensure he could play in the 2nd half. This injury appeared to be minor & is not something I expect him to show up on the injury report with later this week.

S Siran Neal (concussion)

Neal suffered a concussion midway through the 2nd quarter on the kickoff with 7:41 left following Hauschka’s FG. Unfortunately, the video is not available yet as there was a touchback & the camera followed the ball & not the players. It was reported he was shaken up on the play, but once All-22 comes out, we may get a clearer view of what exactly happened. Neal enters the concussion protocol with no guarantee he is cleared for next Sunday. 

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe suffered a rather severe right ankle injury with 9:14 left in the 3rd quarter. This was a routine run play by Singletary up the middle when Nsekhe’s foot was caught from behind by Dolphins DE Avery Moss, landing on the back on Nsekhe’s heel, forcing the ankle to roll under the big man violently before his body caught up & he falls down in obvious pain. 

He was immediately placed into in an air cast & carted off, waving to fans but in significant discomfort. The result: a likely ankle dislocation with fibula fracture. There is a concern that he suffered a tibia fracture as well, but he may have spared the more significant bone due to the ankle rolling as much as it did before he fell over. 

300px-Fibula_Fracture
Credit: physio-pedia.com

According to Monday’s press conference, more tests were being performed on Nsekhe’s ankle with no definitive answer at this time. 

This could be for several reasons: 

  • The swelling may have been so great that imaging did not show the true extent of the damage.
  • There isn’t an actual break but significant ligament damage on the lateral portion of the ankle.
  • The Bills know exactly what is going on (they likely do) & are sitting on the info because they have no reason to release it until they feel they’re ready or can sign someone to replace his roster spot. 
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Credit: physiodirectnz.com

Looking at an alternative video angle from Thad Brown, there is the possibility that Nsekhe avoided a break but dealing with quite a severe inversion ankle sprain. He would have injured the anterior talofibular & calcaneofibular ligaments when Moss landed on his ankle. There is a slight chance he avoided a fracture due to observing the heel sliding out, relieving pressure off the fibula as he went down. 

The sheer fact that he was placed into an air cast & carted off without the ability to place weight through his leg isn’t ideal. His season is possibly done, heading to IR for surgery & rehab if my original suspicions are confirmed. I am not certain but if you go on NFL Gamepass & watch the replay, it appears as though the snap of the bone is audible. I’ve played it multiple times in a row. 

This may be a similar injury to what LB Matt Milano suffered last season. if so, a recovery timeline for Nsekhe would be 6-9 months with my guess being closer to 8-9 months. There are several factors including: 

  • Nsekhe is 34 years old, Milano was 24 during his injury.
  • Nsekhe is 6’8”, 325 lbs. Milano is 6’0”, 225 lbs. 
  • Nsekhe’s bones are thicker & are required to accept more weight than Milano’s, requiring a longer healing time & associated recovery.

While 34 is still a youthful age, it is getting up there when it comes to the NFL. Nsekhe can & should make a full recovery, but considering the mileage on his body, it’ll be interesting to see whether he is able to return to full form in order to compete for a roster spot next year. He should be close to, if not fully ready for training camp & should be able to participate in OTA’s in 2020. He is clearly a talented player, the Bills have him under contract for another year, it may come down to how he looks in camp.

For the interim, OT Cody Ford slides into the starting role he has alternated with Nsekhe all season. OT Ryan Bates will likely move to back Ford up. Once Nsekhe moves to IR, the team may elect to fill his roster spot with practice squad players OT Brandon Hitner or OT Victor Salako. The other option is to find a street free agent or another player off another team’s practice squad. Either way, GM Brandon Beane already has a preliminary plan in place. 

Other observations from today’s game injury-wise include noting Nsekhe’s replacement OT Cody Ford is still wearing a hinged elbow brace with a compression sleeve on the left elbow from the injury in the Eagles game. Each week he wears this brace further confirms that he suffered some type of injury to the UCL ligament in the right elbow & the brace provides protection as the ligament heals. 

Other injury news to note is that DE Jerry Hughes was active & played his usual snap count, highest among the DL group. I had originally stated that Hughes would miss the game & I was wrong. While I did not observe every single snap, he did not appear to be compensating or limited. This also creates the thought that the team is not sold on rookie DE Darryl Johnson. While no one expects that Johnson can be an effective player such as Hughes, it shows that an injured Hughes is still better than a healthy Johnson. 

The loss is Nsekhe is going to hurt. While he is older, he showed the ability to play very well with the offensive unit. Ford is able to step in & contribute, but his play has been marred by penalties & inconsistent play. He will suffice, but the quality of play at the position will suffer. However, the Bills are 7-3 & even with a 3-3 finish to the season will give the Bills double-digit wins for the first time this millennium. The Bills are still very much in control of their destiny & can make noise in the playoffs if they played like they did Sunday.

A Winning Record & Healthy Bills, But Why?

How are the Bills so healthy?

On my latest appearance with Joe Marino on the Locked On Bills podcast, we discussed why the Bills are so healthy this late into the season, how rare this is, & why the team’s facilities are such a vital addition. There was so much information, this required its own article & it was promised to you on the pod, I better deliver!

This article will look at several different areas of how injury management has changed since 2017 & why the Bills are so healthy this late into the season. 

First off, let’s look at how rare this instance of no injuries or no one missing a game. Looking at pro-football-reference.com takes us back to 2009, the earliest recording of injuries by the site. There may be other instances of weeks where there were no injuries before then, but they may be lost to time. 

To note, the designation probable was discontinued following the 2015 season. This designation meant that there was a 75% chance the player would play. 94% of the players declared probable during 2009-2015 played. Also noted is that IR designation does not count into this assessment, only active players on the roster at that time. 

Times no player was ruled out since 2009

2012: 

Week 6 Arizona

5 players ruled questionable: Jarius Byrd, Chad Rinehart, Da’Norris Searcy, Kyle Williams, Eric Wood

 

2013:

Week 13 Atlanta

1 player ruled questionable: Kyle Williams 

 

2013:

Week 14 Tampa Bay

2 players ruled probable: Marquis Goodwin, Kyle Williams 

 

2015:

Week 9 Miami

1 player ruled questionable: Sammy Watkins 

 

2018:

Week 6 Houston 

No injury designations

 

2019:

Week 10 Cleveland 

No injury designations

 

2019:

Week 11 Miami

1 player ruled questionable: Jerry Hughes

Prior to this season, there were only 5 instances where there wasn’t anyone that was ruled out. The closest instance to last week’s injury report was 2018 before the Houston game & before that, 2013 Tampa Bay game. To have games back to back where no one was ruled out, you have to look back at Weeks 13 & 14 in the 2013 season seen above. 

To not have anyone listed at all last week is even more incredible. There are still injuries that players are dealing wit as noted in my article from Monday. But to have a “healthy” roster this late into the season may be truly the difference between making the playoffs or sitting on the couch in January. 

Why is the team getting healthier? I believe a part is due to luck, a part is due to better medical staff & resources. This isn’t to say that the medical staff before was poor by any means, but to have a great training staff plus the resources available at the AdPro Sports Training Center that opened earlier this year.

Following McDermott’s first year, the training staff changed dramatically with the retirement of Bud Carpenter & the dismissal of Shone Gipson. This allowed the team to bring in Nate Breske from Chicago who brought on his own staff which clearly made a huge difference over the past 2 seasons. 

Adding the AdPro Sports Training Center helped to individualize care to focus on the specific needs of each player rather than a one size fits all approach sometimes seen in rehab & medicine. Some of the features that the facility has included: 

Sleep pods, float tanks, yoga, massage rooms, active release technology. These all assist in getting proper rest & relaxation to allow the body to heal more completely to maximize the recovery process by reducing stress.

Sleep pods allow the players to get a power nap in when they begin to feel groggy, for example after lunch. They can go into a sleep pod for 20 minutes or however long they choose & recharge to get through the afternoon unlike the rest of us get by with coffee & clock watching. 

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Credit: https://saltfloatstudio.com.au/

Float tanks & yoga allow the body to go into deep relaxation & allow the body to rest in a variety of ways, rather than sitting in front of a TV, zoning out. The float tanks assist with sensory deprivation, blocking out all the stressors from day to day activities & yoga allows for mindful meditation along with the flexibility to reduce injury. Finally, massage rooms allow for the knots, lactic acid, and overall soreness to be worked out of the body. Training staff can also work in active release techniques to work the muscle through its specific actions to promote blood flow & break up scar tissue to maximize healing.

NormaTec-Pulse-2
Credit: https://garagegymlab.com/

Cardio room, nutrition bar, cryotherapy tanks, NormaTec boots, activity trackers. These all allow the body to recover during the healing process, think of active recovery. NormaTec boots act as a large air-filled compression stocking to assist the body in flushing out lactic acid & inflammation following games & practices.  The nutrition bar introduced proper foods for maximizing performance & recovery, taking the thinking out of the player’s hands so they can maximally fuel their bodies with the proper building blocks.

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Credit: Forbes.com

Cryotherapy tanks allow the players to be exposed to cold temperatures for brief amounts of time up to 3 minutes to assist with controlling inflammation through blood vessel restriction. This is performed by dropping the air temperature around the body for a systemic response in order to cut down on time spent recovering.  Finally, the activity trackers assist with proper load management to avoid overworking players & ensuring they are achieving their maximum functional abilities during each game & avoiding injury. 

While these are not found at all NFL facilities, this collection of resources has allowed the players to maximize their healing process & take away any excuse they may have in getting better. These resources individually in itself aren’t superior to other therapies, but having a variety of options available to find the right sequence could allow the training staff & players to maximize recovery. The players still have to perform the work, the training staff has to instruct in what’s best to get the players healthy, but the Bills are at least finding ways to get a leg up on their competition in order to stay healthy throughout the season in their push towards the playoffs.

Top Photo Credit

BuffaloBills.com

Week 11 Bills Injury Preview- Dolphins

Will Hughes be able to go Sunday?

Going into 2019, we all felt that this Bills team was something special. This team was built through the draft in addition to key free-agent acquisitions, & hidden gems in UDFA’s. Along with a talented coaching staff leading the team to 6-3, there has not been enough credit given to the Bills training staff. Check out the tweet below from Wednesday in regards to the difference a month makes. Back at the beginning of October prior to the Titans game, the Bills had 12 players dealing with injury with 7 ruled questionable & 2 ruled out. 

What a difference a month makes.

Heading into Week 11 against the Dolphins, the injury report is minimal with only DE Jerry Hughes & TE Dawson Knox on the injury report. 

QUESTIONABLE

DE Jerry Hughes (groin)

Hughes was a surprise addition to the injury report Thursday with a groin injury in which he was limited in practice. It has since been confirmed that he re-aggravated the injury Thursday but this is something that has been lingering from before. What we don’t know is when he sustained the original injury as I went back in my records & did not find any instance where he was down on the ground or missed any time during games. He has since been designated as questionable & is a true 50/50 shot to play. Between getting treatment daily & getting down in the warm Florida weather may do good for Hughes. 

A reminder for the importance of the groin muscles: they assist with running, jumping, cutting, side shuffling, basically all motions required to bend around the edge in the case of a defensive end. Depending on the side of the groin pull, this could affect how he lines up & how effective he is throughout the game.

However, I could see him missing as this is a game that can be potentially won without him. The injury was Thursday; even 2 days of intense rehab interventions & rest may not be enough to be ready for Sunday. He’ll be a true game-time decision with myself leaning towards that he misses out of precaution. If he misses, we could see a re-emergence of rookie DE Darryl Johnson as a depth option.

TE Dawson Knox (knee)

Knox found his way onto the injury report Thursday with what HC Sean McDermott noted as “knee soreness”. It was expected that he was to return to practice Friday and that is nothing to be concerned about. I tend to want to believe what this coaching staff says, they have been fairly honest, but if it’s that minor, then why is it showing up on the injury report? 

He did have a left fractured foot and meniscus repair during his sophomore year at Ole Miss which required surgery, but there isn’t any certainty that it is the same knee or any relation to what is going on this week. 

The only other possibility is “load management”. Those dreaded words are seen commonly in today’s NBA circles. Knox may be hitting a proverbial wall & needs an occasional day off as he is progressing through his first NFL season. I think as he adjusts to the professional schedule, he will adapt, but the team clearly wants to avoid overuse injuries to their future assets. 

Possible Inactives:

TE Tommy Sweeney

OG Ike Boettger

OT Ryan Bates

S Dean Marlowe

DE Jerry Hughes

DT Vincent Taylor

RB T.J. Yeldon

As the Bills travel down to Miami, the temperature will be drastically different from the mid-teens & low 20’s felt in Buffalo after the most recent snowstorm. Miami will be a balmy 77 degrees on Sunday. Considering the temperature will be considerably higher, hydration will be a key factor in staying healthy. As the temperature increases, the body sweats more in order to help keep itself cool. The team will have to focus on hydration & ensure that all players have a good warmup to get the muscles loose & ready. 

This is a game that we could see some strains if dehydration & muscle fatigue set in during the 2nd half. The Bills are certainly healthy enough & in shape enough to overcome some injuries, but losing players to strains once the cool weather returns won’t help down this difficult stretch. The Dolphins always play the Bills tough, no matter the year, but this could be a bounce-back game for the offense to get on the same page in order to show the NFL that they can hack it. This won’t be an easy win, but hopefully, a win that can move the Bills to 7-3 before they hit the vital portion of their schedule.

Top Photo Credit

Forbes.com

 

Week 10 Bills Injury Review- Browns

The Bills are healthy but not in the win column, will that change next week?

Well, this is awkward. I was expecting to write about how the Buffalo Bills earned yet another win to move to 7-2 over the lowly Cleveland Browns. Yet, they are now 6-3 with a ton of questions, questions that I don’t have the answers. On top of this, there weren’t any publically reported injuries during Sunday’s game which is unique in that rarely does a team enter a game fully “healthy” & exit the same. The only difference is that the Bills leave Cleveland with a loss.

Here I am, Banged Up Bills, a Buffalo Bills injury based site & I have no new injuries to discuss. But I will soldier on because when I mention “healthy”, there are still several players dealing with injury that are cleared to play. To note, McDermott did not note any injuries following Monday’s press conference.

OT Cody Ford (left elbow) 

The rookie tackle from Oklahoma played only 4 special teams snaps last week during the win over the Redskins after being listed as questionable heading into the game. This may have been by design, but considering that the team resumed their rotation between Nsekhe & Ford, this shows that Ford’s injury appeared to be more severe than I had originally anticipated. The snap counts didn’t show anything out of the ordinary, though Nsekhe once again won the numbers battle, 60% to 40%.

Ford may be dealing with a UCL sprain considering the hit he took against the Eagles late in the game. He could play through this as he doesn’t really have to put strain through his elbow like someone who throws the ball would deal with. The compression sleeve & hinge bracing may allow him to play while avoiding stress to the healing ligament. It will be interesting to note if he ditches the brace in the coming weeks, but he may wear it as another form of protection as it continues to get colder. 

There is also a possibility that he has elbow bursitis due to the hit, but there is more swelling & loss of range of motion associated with this injury. It’s unlikely that he would have a hinged brace with this, but as we don’t have the specific information, there is only speculation. 

CB Kurt Coleman (left hamstring)

Coleman returned to the fold this week after missing the last 2 games after suffering the injury against Miami. As expected, he did not appear to miss a step & was a contributor on special teams along with several defensive snaps. Coleman continues to be the latest example of the talent of this training staff to ensure players are fully healthy returning from soft tissue injuries. 

CB Kevin Johnson (left knee)

Johnson briefly appeared on the injury report Wednesday with a knee injury following the win against Washington. It’s possible he may have suffered a minor hyperextension of his knee after getting tripped up during a routine punt. He didn’t appear to be out of place with his contributions on special teams or his availability on defense according to the numbers.

WR Duke Williams (right shoulder)

Williams has now been inactive the past 2 games after suffering what appeared to be a right AC joint sprain during a hard fall following a catch in the Miami game. He did play in the loss to the Eagles, garnering 2 targets with 1 catch for 6 yards. Considering he is essentially a rookie despite having several years of experience in the CFL, I believe that he is inactive due to his inexperience in the NFL passing game compared to WR Isaiah McKenzie & WR Robert Foster. Recalling, Williams was a feel-good story but started the year on the practice squad. Due to the entire roster being healthy, someone has to sit & Williams is closer to the 53rd roster spot than McKenzie or Foster. I believe his time will come as inevitable injuries rear its ugly head. 

CB Levi Wallace (left shoulder)

Wallace suffered a left shoulder injury after getting run over by RB Boston Scott in the loss to the Eagles. Despite suffering a painful contusion, he did not miss anytime but his play appears to be more suspect over the last 2 weeks. I do not believe that he is limited by the shoulder, but rather his actual abilities as a player. This coaching staff does favor veterans over younger players but will give preference to individuals that have been in their system over guys like CB Kevin Johnson. If Wallace’s play does not improve soon, I wonder when the hook will come because getting burned like he does continue to create unfavorable matchups during this upcoming stretch of games. 

The Bills are healthy now with a 6-3 record; imagine how bad it would be if they were rife with injury & did not have the depth available. Regardless of the current health status of the roster, the quality of play & offensive production must improve in order to have any type of shot at making the playoffs, much less actually winning a game. We’ll have to see how this pans out with the Bills going to balmy Miami with a very winnable game against the Dolphins.

Week 10 Bills Injury Preview- Browns

The Bills are healthy?

So hey Bills Mafia, what do you want to talk about? Clearly not about this injury report, I mean, there are all of two names on there. By the way, it’s Week 10. Week 10 of an NFL season. An NFL season which consists of broken bones, torn tendons, ligaments, concussions, & an endless supply of heartbreak. Yet, here we are at Week 10 with a “healthy” roster. I say nearly healthy because there are still injuries that linger, injuries that are unknown, injuries that are still on the mend. 

The Bills are 6-2 with a “healthy” roster coming into Week 10 against the 2-6 Cleveland Browns. That’s an awesome sentence to think about, write, & read. While the Bills still have to go & play the game, 7-2 is looking quite good right now. Before I get ahead of myself, there are a few injuries below, take a few moments to check them out, it’ll be brief!

Injuries during the game included WR Andre Roberts (leg), DE Trent Murphy (neck), & S Micah Hyde (knee) were all minor enough that they did not show up on the injury report & shouldn’t be a concern moving forward. To note, all did return to play after getting quickly evaluated by the medical staff. 

LB Maurice Alexander (knee/calf) was placed on IR this past week clearing the way for the Bills to sign DT Corey Liuget to help shore up the run game. The exact specifics behind Alexander going to IR is right now a mystery & may not be revealed until much later. To get more information about Liuget, make sure to check the tweet below. 

S Kurt Coleman (left hamstring)

Coleman suffered a hamstring strain on a special teams play against the Dolphins back in Week 7. He has since missed 2 games & frankly, the team has soldiered on without him. He continues to fit what the Bills training staff has done in managing hamstring strains. He was limited Wednesday when it was cold & windy outside, but since able to practice in full on Thursday & Friday. I expect he’ll play Sunday as he’s fresher than some of the other players who may be able to play but could use a week off.

CB Kevin Johnson (left knee)

Johnson was a surprise addition to the injury report Wednesday with a knee injury. Looking at the video below, it appears that he gets tripped up before landing hard on his left knee as he continued downfield.

He may have slightly hyperextended his knee, he may have twisted or tweaked the knee where it was sore, it’s not quite known what he’s dealing with. However, while he didn’t practice Wednesday, he was a full participant on Thursday & Friday. Johnson has been incredibly durable this year, only suffering a stinger which limited in practice during the week prior to the Eagles game but otherwise appears to have avoided serious injury that derailed multiple seasons when he was in Houston.  Either way, he should be good to go for Sunday to continue to special teams & defensive depth.

Probable Inactive’s:

TE Tommy Sweeney

S Jaquan Johnson

OG Ike Boettger

OT Ryan Bates

WR Robert Foster

RB T.J. Yeldon

DT Vincent Taylor

The Bills are looking to move to 7-2 following a trip to Cleveland in a battle for Lake Erie supremacy. All the talk about soft schedules, DVOA, power rankings; what does it matter if a win is a win in the NFL? Previous iterations of the Bills have received winnable games on paper & blown them, leading to a loss. So if the Bills get a win on Sunday, then they’re 7-2 & that much closer to a playoff spot and that much closer to a Super Bowl, even though that seems so far off. For now, I hope the Bills keep stacking wins, soft schedules be damned! Let’s hope for minimal to no injuries Sunday as the Bills march towards the difficult portion of their schedule.

 

Week 9 Bills Injury Review- Redskins

Are Murphy, Roberts, & Hyde’s injuries going to keep them out for Sunday?

The Bills secured a virtually expected win with a score of 24-9 on a cold Sunday afternoon at New Era Field. The Washington Redskins hung around a little longer than most people would have liked with the score 17-9 until the very end but a win is a win. The Bills still moved the ball effectively with the run game & held rookie QB Dwayne Haskins in check in his first NFL start. In addition to the win, the Bills move to 6-2 for the first time since 1993 when they started 7-1. Along with the excellent record, little to no injuries occurred during the game which should prevent altering the game plan for Cleveland. 

Prior to the game, it was announced that both OT Cody Ford & CB Levi Wallace were both active as I had predicted. Wallace was able to play in 100% of defensive snaps but Ford did not appear in any offensive snaps. He did appear in 4 special teams plays consisting of extra points which show he was able to play, but with how well OT Ty Nsekhe played, the coaching staff may have made the determination that he plays in the event that Nsekhe was injured. To note, he was wearing padding with what appeared to be bracing on the left elbow, fitting the expected protection he required in order to play.

 

DE Trent Murphy (left shoulder/neck)

Murphy, who for the most part, has been incredibly healthy this year following an injury-plagued 2018 season suffered a minor injury early in the 2nd half. The play occurred with 10:54 in the 3rd quarter on a routine run play. Murphy got sucked into the middle and got hit/stepped on under a pile of bodies. 

Trainers quickly reached him on the field with Murphy repeatedly motioning to his left trapezius/shoulder area as he walked off. He went to the medical tent to get assessed and was briefly out, able to return later in the game. 

He may be day to day with a minor neck/left trapezius muscle strain but shouldn’t cause any long term issues. It’s incredibly promising that he was able to return but he may be sore this week. 

 

S Micah Hyde (right knee)

When Hyde had to be assessed by trainers early in the 4th quarter, it put a scare into all fans that thankfully didn’t appear to be serious. Video review showed that he got clipped by a cleat in the right knee as he went down. Football players are tough, but getting clipped is painful no matter which way you look at it. 

This isn’t an injury that would likely appear on the injury report unless he is dealing with some swelling. This may be more pain-related but like Murphy, he was able to return to continue playing. Barring any new updates, he should be fine for Sunday. 

 

WR Andre Roberts (left hamstring/quadricep/calf)

Shortly after Micah Hyde went out, Roberts suffered a minor injury of his own. At 10:18 in the 4th quarter, he ran up to catch the punt, kneeling down on his left leg to fair catch the football. He briefly walked around before trainers checked him out. Reports indicate that he was motioning towards his hamstring but broadcast video available doesn’t show this. It’s possible that he tweaked his hamstring running up to catch the ball, attempting to slow down, but there’s always a chance he suffered a minor quad or calf injury. 

As with the others above, he was later able to return indicating that this may also be minor. Unless there is a better view or media reports, then this is what we will be working with. While the team is conservative in managing hamstring injuries, I do not believe that this may be anything to be concerned with as Monday’s press conference did not highlight the injury. I am not convinced that he suffered a hamstring injury based on the video alone.

This Bills team isn’t built to blow out teams, this isn’t a team that imposes its will on any team it wishes, but it is a team that finds ways to win. Considering the coaching staff is solidified & most of the team positions aren’t experiencing high turnover, this allows the team to stack wins rather than trying to piece together a game plan to just survive. We’ll see how the week progresses but things are looking up injury-wise as they move onto Week 10 against Cleveland. 

 

Top Photo Credit:

Washington Post

Week 9 Bills Injury Preview- Redskins

Get the latest updates on Ford, Wallace, & Coleman.

What I do on a regular basis in observing & reporting Bills injuries at times can be simple or complex. Think of it as like an iceberg, in fact, think of it like the Titanic when it hit that god damn iceberg. Some of the injuries are easy & straightforward, as the top of the iceberg, easy to see. Some take some digging & detective work, real use of my professional degree to determine the true injuries. This is the part of the iceberg that you know is under the water, it exists, but the size or extent is not known. And then there are other injuries, injuries that just aren’t explainable & either won’t know the true story until either much later or really, ever. This is the Titanic, you can’t see it, you aren’t sure it’s even there, but you know its there somewhere. And maybe, the truth will eventually be found.

Why do I bring up a shipwreck that’s over 107 years old? BECAUSE IT GRABS YOUR ATTENTION!! How does the Titanic & football go together? IT DOESN’T!  But it gets one thinking about the complexities of determining injuries from not only video analysis, but from the reporting, news, & information available to the public. The Buffalo Bills fan base has been through enough with the Super Bowl losses, the Drought, the weather & nothing to do here jokes, you’ve heard them all. We deserve the best content because we love this team! From the beat reporters to the blogs to the pods, we are all trying to give our fellow fans the best insight possible so that we can be the best fan base ever. If I can use my education to connect with my fellow fan, then that makes me a better fan. So wrapping this all up, I do what I do because I love the Bills & love this fan base if I can add my two cents, then I feel I have done something positive.

Ok, passion-filled rant over. 

The Bills host the lowly Washington Redskins on what will appear to be a blustery and rather crappy day in Western New York. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. Buffalo weather baby!! In addition to the declining weather, the number of names on the injury report is also declining. As of this week’s count, there are only 4 names on the entire report dealing with injuries that could potentially cause them to miss Sunday. This is a far cry from 11 players for several weeks in a row. Below are the injuries & how it will affect their availability for Sunday.

 

OUT:  

LB Maurice Alexander (knee)

Alexander is a mystery as he appeared on the injury report Wednesday without any known mechanism of injury. He has not been able to practice the past week & there aren’t any specifics of what is going on. However, he was briefly on the injury report prior to the Patriots game in Week 4. He was a DNP the Friday before the game, was questionable, but able to play. He did have a hip injury in the win over the Dolphins but he did not show up on the injury report afterward. It’s also unknown if the knee injury from last month is related to this most recent injury. 

There is something that just isn’t know right now. See, iceberg, all coming full circle!

Until we get an injury that is a smoking gun, more information on what he’s dealing with, or really anything, this will be an injury that we simply don’t know. My initial speculation is he could be dealing with some type of tendonitis or small meniscal tear that he’s attempting to play through, but has flared up to the point he needs rest. Both could have been well managed until the issue was aggravated through regular play.

He is a key special team player so missing him Sunday will hurt. Fortunately, the return of LB Corey Thompson will help soften the blow as he is finally healthy from the recent ankle surgery that kept him out the past 3 games. 

 

QUESTIONABLE:

CB Levi Wallace (left shoulder)

Wallace has been ruled questionable following a shoulder contusion in the loss to the Eagles. To recall, he suffered the contusion as the result of getting run over by Eagles RB Boston Scott late in the 3rd quarter as seen below.

He has been limited all week but HC Sean McDermott was pleased by the workouts in practice the past few days which sounds promising for his availability for Sunday. While upper-body injuries are more difficult to assess on film in regards to practice, there is a strong chance that he plays Sunday. He will likely have additional padding to the area in order to protect the healing tissues, but there shouldn’t really be any reason that he can’t play unless he personally says he can’t go. I expect him to play Sunday.

 

OT Cody Ford (left elbow)

Ford suffered a left elbow contusion late in the 4th quarter which forced him to miss the last several minutes for a game that was clearly out of hand by that point. Ford has been limited all week but video available has been promising showing him shedding the red non-contact jersey and performing blocking drills despite having his elbow wrapped with a hinged brace to the area. The bracing will limit medial/lateral movement to reduce stress on the elbow if, for example, a defensive end is coming around the edge. This will also prevent hyperextension to the elbow during blocking and cause further damage. 

Considering how he had the elbow struck, coming from up underneath, there is a slight possibility that he suffered a UCL injury, similar to what QB Josh Allen had last year against the Texans. If this is the case, it’s quite possible to play through the injury with bracing, but I also don’t believe they would be putting him back out there so quickly if he had an injury of that magnitude to the area. 

He likely had the elbow struck & is dealing with more pain and swelling to the area, hence the extra protection. I expect that he plays Sunday, considering the injury & the lack of consistency that OT Ty Nsekhe is able to bring to the table this season. I also expect that he suits up with the bracing to get through the game. Continue the rotation that we have seen all season between Ford & Nsekhe.

 

S Kurt Coleman (hamstring)

Coleman continues to work back from a hamstring injury sustained in the win over the Dolphins 2 weeks ago. Like all other hamstring injuries this year, the team has been cautious in their approach & does not appear to be rushing anyone back well before they are ready. I have not observed any video of him in practice, but the fact that he is limited is promising. 

However, the weather is expected to be poor this weekend with a slick surface & cool weather. These are not the type of conditions ideal to play through with a hamstring injury. He may also be pressed into service if either starter goes down which, if he has a not 100% hamstring, could create a liability. I don’t anticipate that he suits up, taking the extra week before he gets a 2nd shot at Miami in the warmer weather.

 

Projected Inactive’s:

TE Tommy Sweeney

OT Ryan Bates

OG Ike Boettger

S Kurt Coleman

S Jaquan Johnson

RB TJ Yeldon

LB Maurice Alexander

 

Going up against a 1-7 Washington Redskins team should be an easy win. It should allow the Bills to move to 6-2 as they march towards the playoffs. But while the Bills see what appears to be an inferior opponent on the surface, below is still an NFL team with talented players that want to desperately win.

The Bills need to come out and control the line of scrimmage, punching the Redskins in the mouth right away to let them know they don’t belong at New Era Field. That loss to the Eagles last week hurt, I don’t expect the Bills to drop another, especially at home. I expect the Bills to finish their homestand with a win. On Sunday, at 4:30 pm, we will have an answer.

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