Week 17 Bills Injury Preview- Jets

Will this finally be the week that Nsekhe returns?

The big concern going into this game against the Jets is how long starters will play & what players will be inactive. This is especially worrisome due to the recent comments by Jets S Jamal Adams in which he stated they would be hunting along with Jets DC Gregg Williams. Along with that comment, Bills fans have to worry about cheap shots from DE Henry Anderson. If you recall, he blindsided K Stephen Hauschka last season which threw his game off for the rest of the season seen below. 

Thankfully, the Bills continue to manage their injuries well & are not forced to play players who are injured. Below are the injuries prior to the game & inactives.

OUT

WR Andre Roberts (foot)

Roberts was a surprise addition to the injury report following Saturday’s game. Reviewing the film, it’s not clear when he suffered his foot injury. There aren’t many plays that show when he could have possibly injured his foot, but a possible culprit is when he was blocking for QB Josh Allen on a designed run play early in the 3rd quarter, it appears he got kicked on the right ankle.

There was also another point in the 3rd quarter with 3:35 left in where he appeared to be limping slightly after the play. There didn’t appear to be a mechanism of injury prior to this play either which makes this difficult to identify the exact problem. Considering he hasn’t practiced this week & has already been ruled out, we can only hope that he will be ready for the playoffs. 

DE Shaq Lawson (left hamstring)

Lawson has not been able to practice this week due to a hamstring strain suffered in Saturday’s loss to the Patriots. This occurred after a tackle for loss in the backfield during the 2nd half of the game. The actual tackle itself did not appear to be an issue, but rather the celebration afterward. He began to get up & celebrate, grabbing the hamstring in the process.

He was able to continue playing for the rest of the game but the injury appeared to catch up with him later. Even after a slight strain, the muscle is still painful & sore, requiring frequent stretching & controlled movement to allow healing but not overwork the area in order to prevent further injury. As he has already been ruled out, this is the smart move to do considering how valuable he will be in the playoffs. It will be interesting to note how the coaching staff rotates the defensive ends as there are only 4 on the roster.

QUESTIONABLE

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

I feel like we have been having the same conversation for the past 6 weeks regarding his injury. But new information is available! He finally appears to have made the expected progress, participating in practice on Thursday & looking quite well on film. He is moving with the fluidity of someone who is close to returning & appears to be close to 100%. 

Considering how he is moving, I’m making the assumption that he could have returned sooner, but how OT Cody Ford was playing, he wasn’t needed immediately. At this point, it is unnecessary for Nsekhe to play in Week 17, but he has missed the last 5 games which means he would benefit from some live reps in order to prepare for the playoffs. 

CLEARED TO PLAY

C Mitch Morse (right low ankle sprain)

Morse scared many Bills fans late in the 4th quarter in which he had his ankle rolled up on, reportedly feeling several pops & having difficulty walking on it initially. Fortunately, he was able to practice in full this week & not appear to have any limitations despite what appears to be a low ankle sprain. 

Morse is yet another starter that may play several series but overall benefit from a well-deserved rest day or even being declared inactive in order to ensure his health.

OTHER INJURIES

DT Harrison Phillips (left ACL)

Phillips has been out since September, diligently working back from a torn ACL that ended his season prematurely in the win over Cincinnati. Occasionally, news is released of Phillps attending practice, performing his rehab, & still participating in team activities. While it wasn’t expected that Phillips would return until next season, it’s great to see the progress being done in rehab. In the first tweet, below is Phillips running on an underwater treadmill to reduce the stress that land-based running would cause. In the other tweet, you can see the progress that Phillips has made & is demonstrating the proper muscle control during his step-up routine with a weighted vest. 

Even though he is unable to play this year, Phillips still understands his job & purpose on the team which further validates the culture that has been instilled at One Bills Drive. I expect to see more clips in the near future & see him inch closer & closer towards returning to football activities.

Probable Inactives:

TE Lee Smith

RB Frank Gore

S Micah Hyde

S Jordan Poyer

DE Shaq Lawson

WR Andre Roberts

G Quinton Spain

This would be a game that the Bills would be foolish to not play all their reserve players for much needed live snaps. It is probably the best bet to allow some of the veteran players a true rest day, have all the starters play several series & then act as backups in order to get through the game. It would be great to get to 11 wins, but not at the cost of a key contributor going down. 

The Jets are still a talented team, this is the NFL after all. But this is the best-case scenario in where the backups can get extensive playing time & get some film for next season when the roster churns over. Plus, I don’t think in any circumstance that Terry or Kim Pegula are forcing the coach to play certain players as in the still hotly debated topic of QB Doug Flutie or Rob Johnson. This will be a good game to allow the Bills to play & not worry about the outcome. There are bigger fish to fry next week with either traveling to Kansas City or Houston, both being true tests.

Top Photo Credit:

SBNation.com

Week 16 Bills Injury Review- Patriots

Will Morse play Week 17?

Tom Brady has to retire soon right? He’s now 32-3 against the Bills despite many, many close losses by the Bills over that timeframe. I want to be mad, but Tom Brady has to retire soon right? I can’t even be that mad because the Bills already locked up a playoff spot which gave this game little to no meaning with an AFC East title possible, but unlikely. Plus, there have been 7 instances since 1970 where a team sweeps a division rival in the regular season & loses in the playoffs. 

Why not make it 8 if we get them in the divisional round or AFC Championships? Anyway, the Bills came out of the Patriots loss again with minimal injuries. Check them out below.

DE Shaq Lawson (left hamstring)

Lawson suffered what appears to be a minor hamstring strain at the beginning of the 4th quarter on a tackle for loss in the backfield. He came up ready to celebrate and immediately grabbed at his left hamstring, limping slightly around the field. However, he continued to play & maintain his regular rotation on the line, not immediately appearing limited.

The tackle itself didn’t appear concerning, which is why I didn’t feel that he suffered any injury upon the initial replay. On later drives, I was able to see that he occasionally motioned to the left side, but not really favoring the side too much. Sad to say, his celebration may have caused the strain.

The team has been incredibly conservative with hamstrings, but considering that he continued to play through the injury, it may not be a concern. I believe that the injury is hurting him more after playing in where the muscle has tightened up due to the injury from inflammation rather than during the game in where he was able to stay loose. The Bills only have 4 defensive ends on the roster & I expect that he continues to play unless he is dealing with a moderate strain. I believe he may be limited somewhat in practice this week but this will be a non-issue by Sunday.

C Mitch Morse (right ankle)

Morse suffered a right ankle injury as the result of Patriots DE John Simon falling on the back of his ankle, forcing it to twist out with a few minutes left in the 4th quarter. He came up hobbling, appearing to try to shake out the ankle before completing one more play in where Josh Allen converted the 4th & 1. Morse was evaluated by trainers on the field & required some assistance to walk off. He did not return & his absence was noticeable as the Bills drove down the field to attempt to tie the game. 

His injury appears to be a routine low ankle sprain which really isn’t all that concerning. I am sure he is hurting but it was later reported that if the Bills had another drive, he probably would have been able to come back according to The Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn. 

 

Considering the Bills do have some depth on the line, I could see a scenario where Morse is active but does not play. This isn’t implying that he won’t be healthy enough, but I believe he would be an emergency option in case G Jon Feliciano or even G Spencer Long go down if they play in his place. 

WR Andre Roberts (unspecified)

I wait until the Monday afternoon press conferences for reports such as these. More often than not, there are these injuries that aren’t apparent during the game & then they appear on the injury report. Reviewing the game film, Roberts was involved in 13 offensive snaps & 8 special teams plays. From my viewpoint, he stayed pretty clean during the game. There were a few instances where he got hit or bumped from behind, ankles got clipped on a return, but no glaring instance where he came up limping, appeared limited, or took a shot. 

It’s interesting that they note that the injury is unspecified. I wonder if it’s gamesmanship on the Bills part here. Even though they are playing a meaningless game against the Jets, they still need to safeguard the players for the playoffs & limit information coming out. To delay even a few days what Roberts could be dealing with could be a competitive advantage. They will eventually have to reveal it on the injury report, but my guess is he’s dealing with some type of strain or contusion, leaning more towards strain in the lower body.

I suspect this because he’s unspecified, his moneymaker is his legs & on special teams, and the injury isn’t obvious. My immediate guess is a calf or hamstring strain. To note, Roberts did deal with a quadriceps injury that kept him out of the 1st two games this season, but it’s unlikely that these are related. 

It’s simply too soon to tell whether he will suit up Sunday or if he will be a person that gets some much-needed rest. 

Other Notes:

DT Corey Liguet played after being ruled questionable for the 2nd straight week with a knee injury. I still don’t have specifics & likely won’t for some time. He did not appear to be limited, playing in 29% of the snaps, which has been on par for him the past few games. His knee continues to be something to note, but until more information is available, then speculation is all we have.

I do not recall a time when the Bills had a meaningless game to play. This is fantastic to note that there are games still to play but the Bills do not have to rely on the outcomes of games to secure their fate. I expect that the team treats this as a pre-season game in that the starters will get some playing time, but will quickly be pulled where able. I know that the team only suits up 46 for game day, but any backups should be playing considerable time to give the starters a rest & prevent injury. 

I did want to note a retweet that I received from a follower, Ned Hunt, the other day stating that the Bills have used the least amount of personnel this season, indicating their health. It’s great to see that they can keep their core players healthy & not have to continuously bring in new guys who have to learn a new system.

One more regular-season game to play. The Bills just have to get through this game against the Jets & then begin preparing for a likely matchup against the Texans. Here’s to hoping that the Bills escape yet another game with minimal to no injury before the playoffs. 

Top Photo Credit:

Yardbarker.com

Week 16 Bills Injury Preview- Patriots

Is Buffalo treasure Tre’Davious White healthy & ready to go Saturday?

This is odd, isn’t it? Playing meaningful December football, no longer being “in the hunt”, potentially winning the AFC East. It’s wild stuff! To top it off, the Bills continue to stay healthy as they head to Foxborough for a huge game with seeding implications. Win out & the Patriots lose out, the Bills win the East, potentially obtaining the 3rd seed and a home playoff game. Otherwise, the Bills get the 5th seed. Healthwise, the Bills have the advantage over the Patriots & appear to have the talent in order to win. We can only hope that the Patriots will continue their substandard play over recent weeks & allow the Bills to get their 11th win.

OUT

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe has already been ruled out for his 5th straight game due to his ankle injury against the Dolphins. I don’t really have anything to add besides that 4 weeks was an appropriate timeline but on the accelerated side of the healing timelines. These injuries can take 4-6 weeks, sometimes longer & he could be close but maybe closer to returning next week or for the playoffs. Until he practices in some fashion, only time will tell. By no means does there appear to be complications or lingering issues at this time.

QUESTIONABLE

DT Corey Liuget (knee)

Little continues to be released with Liuget’s knee injury. We still don’t know what side or the exact nature of the injury. He did have a quadriceps tendon tear that cost him half of last year. It’s possible he could be having some pain associated with that such as arthritis as he does have a lot of miles on him, but until more is made available, we are guessing. All the work that went into rehab & the severity of the actual injury supports that after a month of actual football could be causing some issues that need time & rest. The fact that he is limited is promising, but I need to see a full practice before I can be confident he will play. Until then, I expect DT Vincent Taylor will get another start. 

For more reading on Liuget’s injury, check out this piece from the Buffalo News Jason Wolf. It’s very comprehensive & accurately details the original injury, physical therapy techniques, struggles, and overall rehab. Worth the click.

CLEARED TO PLAY

CB Tre’Davious White (left shoulder)

White appeared to suffer a minor stinger on a hard tackle late in the 1st quarter Sunday night. He missed one play & was able to return, continuing his stellar play. The fact he didn’t end up on the injury report is promising as it may have truly been a minor issue & should not impact him at all Saturday. 

CB Taron Johnson (left 5th digit)

Johnson suffered a left finger injury late in the 4th quarter but was part of a key stop & prevented moving the chains for the Steelers. Video is poor & doesn’t show exactly what Johnson did, but it was observed he was getting his fingers buddy taped. He either stubbed it, suffered some type of crush injury, or possible dislocation. Either way, an injury as minor as this wouldn’t affect Johnson’s ability to do his job. Certainly, something to monitor. 

Something else that’s interesting that I’d like to note. The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia noted that practice squad member CB Cam Lewis wasn’t practicing the past 2 days. Typically practice squad members get really no press unless they are involved in a transaction or are called up. There aren’t details noted about Lewis’ injury, but for that attention to detail from Buscaglia & others that I routinely follow & retweet really set the Bills coverage apart from other fan bases. Bills Mafia, we’re blessed!

Probable Inactives:

OG Ike Boettger

OT Ty Nsekhe

DT Corey Liuget

TE Tommy Sweeney

RB TJ Yeldon

S Dean Marlowe

WR Duke Williams

Saturday will be a fun game, win or lose, but I’m feeling a win. This fan base knows the team can hang with anyone in the league & playing the Patriots again will only reinforce this. I think we’re starting to see the end of the dynasty that is New England & observing the rise of prolonged sustained success in Buffalo. This is a fun time to be a fan, such a different mindset than the past 20 years. It’s a beautiful feeling. GO BILLS!

Top Photo Credit:

ESPN.com

 

 

Week 15 Bills Injury Review- Steelers

How is Tre’Davious White’s injury?

The Buffalo Bills have secured a playoff berth! Following a 17-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football, the Bills have secured no worse than a 5th seed in the AFC. What Sean McDermott & Brandon Beane has accomplished in 3 seasons is nothing short of amazing. This is proof that with the right mindset & knowledge, a team can improve & not relegated to forever known as a loser. There is still a lot of football left to be played, but the Bills are in an excellent position to make a deep run with their continued health a major reason for their success.

CB Tre’Davious White (left shoulder/stinger)

White scared all of BillsMafia late in the 1st quarter when he laid a hard hit on Johnny Holton as soon as he caught the ball. White led hard with his right shoulder on a textbook tackle, taking the ball carrier down before getting up, briefly running to the sidelines, motioning to his left shoulder before rolling down to the ground.

He was assessed on the field before making his way into the medical tent before returning to play. Based on the video, it appeared that he suffered a left-sided stinger. Despite leading with the right arm, his head was snapped violently to the left, potentially compressing on one of the lower cervical nerve roots coming out of the neck. This would have sent weakness, numbness, & pain with a potential electrical shock feeling going down the arm as the nerve essentially gets shocked from the impact. 

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White went into the medical tent and sat out 1 play before returning to continue his stellar play. He also did not appear to have any ill effects from the hit for the rest of the game. During Monday’s press conference, it was noted that nothing was significant about White’s injury. Unless he is limited or continues to have issues, then I may consider this a dead issue as he came back & lit it up. Stinger’s can linger but considering that he returned so quickly, he may avoid problems. Only if he has future stingers will there be concerns.

OT Jon Feliciano (leg cramps)

Feliciano suffered leg cramps early in the 4th quarter despite the weather hovering around freezing. Typically, cramping is seen in hotter weather due to excessive sweating, rapidly losing water. However, coming off the flu in which the body can become dehydrated faster due to vomiting or diarrhea, this is the likely cause. I am sure the team was force-feeding him fluids, but the body can only hold so much & the sweat he was producing became too much for him, causing dehydration.

After getting some fluids & time on the bench, he was able to return & finish out the game. Hopefully, he is on the mend & recovers enough for Saturday in order to play in Foxborough. 

CB Taron Johnson (left hand)

Johnson suffered a left-hand injury as the result of attempting to bring down Nick Vannett right before the 2-minute warning, receiving help from S Jordan Poyer. He sat up, looking at his left hand before getting tended to by trainers. After a commercial, he was observed in some distress as the medical staff began buddy-taping the 4th & 5th digits together for support. It isn’t clear what he did to the hand as the angle wasn’t the best; he either stubbed it trying to bring Vannett down or got hit crushed together between Vannett & Poyer. 

Either way, these aren’t the types of injuries that would hold a player out. The Bills still have something to play for against New England & missing this game is not an option for most players. A hand injury should not stop Johnson & I expect he continues to play.

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle) & DT Corey Liuget (knee)

Nsekhe missed his 4th straight game with his low ankle sprain suffered in the win over the Dolphins. Liuget missed his first game with a knee injury following the loss to the Ravens. Both are progressing, according to Monday’s press conference. We don’t know much about Liuget’s injury, other than it’s termed as a knee.

As for Nsekhe, he needs to return to practice in a limited fashion before I can say when he will return. I continue to speculate that he will be back in time for the Patriots game, but that window is rapidly shrinking unless he practices on Wednesday. Until there is an update for either player, it will be a wait-and-see approach.

TE Tyler Kroft

Kroft stepped up in quite possibly the biggest moment of the season & possibly his career, securing the game-winning TD to put the Bills up 17-10 in the 4th quarter. Thankfully he didn’t suffer any further injuries following his broken foot & sprained ankle, but I bring him up for a reason.

During Monday’s press conference, Brian Daboll noted that the route he ran for the TD was the same one that he broke his foot on during OTA’s. Kroft has been invisible nearly all season & to come back, score the go-ahead TD on the exact route that cost him half the season is simply ironic. But this shows that football is a team sport & that everyone has their part.

The Bills have done it, they made the playoffs & can begin thinking about their opponents, whoever it may be. This doesn’t mean that they will rest all their starters or phone it in as teams that have done that typically don’t fare well later on. I do expect to see important players continue to play the next two games but are pulled similar to a preseason game in order to prevent injury. 

To see the Bills grab an AFC East crown would be incredible & put the Patriots into unfamiliar territory as a Wild Card team, where they haven’t been seeded that low since 1998 when they finished 9-7 as a 6th seed. As Bills fans, we’ve seen crazier things happen that have both favored us & harmed us. By now, why think anything different? The impossible is possible!

Top Photo Credit:

Democratandchronicle.com

Week 15 Bills Injury Preview- Steelers

What is going on with Liuget & Feliciano?

The Buffalo Bills haven’t won in Pittsburgh since 1993, a 24-3 win in their march towards a 3rd Super Bowl appearance. Regular season, they haven’t won there since 1975. To date, the Steelers have won the last 6 meetings with the last win coming in 1999. Safe to say there’s a lot riding on this game, a chance to make up for previous failures. To top it off, this is a Sunday Night game, the Bills haven’t appeared on Sunday night since 2007, an embarrassment by the Patriots. There’s so much at stake, we may need a priest to perform an exorcism for good measure. 

The one upside is that the Bills continue to be healthy heading into a win & in playoff scenario. Players are reducing padded practices per the CBA & trying to manage their health during the week to maximize their abilities on Sundays. Below are the injuries & expected inactives prior to the Sunday game. 

OUT

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe will miss his 4th straight game following his severe sprain suffered in the win over the Dolphins. He continues to show progress, observed walking without a walking boot, but not practicing just yet. I had anticipated that he could come back in time for the Patriots game which is still realistic, but not a guarantee. Once he begins practicing, then a return to play timeline can be definitive.

QUESTIONABLE 

DT Corey Liuget (knee)

Liuget has been dealing with a knee injury all week that forced him to miss Wednesday’s practice, but limited Thursday & Friday. It is not known which knee is bothering him but there were several instances where he could have sustained a contusion due to hitting his knee on a helmet, getting kicked, or having bodies fall on him. Unless a clear mechanism of injury is identified or even which side, hard to really tell if he’s a guarantee to play. If he is unable to go, DT Vincent Taylor gets the nod.

OG Jon Feliciano (illness)

Feliciano was sent home Friday with an illness that affected RB Frank Gore this week & RB TJ Yeldon & OG Quinton Spain last week. It’s flu season & people are bound to get sick. He is truly a 50/50 on whether he plays Sunday night. Considering he has extra time to recover with hitting the fluids & resting, there may be a chance he plays. From the looks of what I’ve seen him do this season, he’s one tough dude. With the ability to clinch a playoff spot, I would think he could muster enough energy Sunday night. If he can’t go, OG Spencer Long would likely get the start.

CLEARED TO PLAY

DT Jordan Phillips (knee)

Like Liuget, it’s unknown which knee he is dealing with. He popped on the injury report as limited Thursday indicating he missed some drill at some point, reportedly receiving extra attention from the training staff at the beginning of practice. Looking back at Sunday’s game on replay, it was a brutal, physical game. It’s no surprise several guys are banged up, especially the big uglies in the trenches. Thankfully, Phillips is cleared to play & he will continue his rotation on the defensive line as they have every other game. 

QB Josh Allen (left ankle)

Allen suffered a mild left ankle sprain as the result of getting stepped on by C Mitch Morse which forced him to limp off the field briefly. He quickly got his ankle taped back up & was able to return to play without missing a snap. As he didn’t appear on the injury report this week, I don’t anticipate it being an issue. He will likely have either some bracing or have it taped up in order to provide extra support. I don’t believe that it will hinder his overall mobility. 

Probable Inactives:

TE Tommy Sweeney

OG Ike Boettger

RB TJ Yeldon

OT Ty Nsekhe

DT Corey Liuget

S Dean Marlowe

WR Duke Williams

The Steelers boast a talented defense, strong offensive line, beat up starting running back in RB James Connor, lacking their top wide receiver in WR Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster & playing their 3rd string QB Devlin Hodges. Heinz Field is not an easy place to play as Steeler Nation shows up every game & this will be no exception. It will be cold & the pressure will be on. The Bills appear to be the more talented team heading down to Pittsburgh to play on the national stage. They have shown they can hang with anyone; this is a winnable game & I expect Buffalo to end Sunday night with 10 wins. 

On a personal note, growing up in Erie, PA, I was surrounded by Steeler fans including many family members. It is incredibly satisfying to see Facebook meltdown after a Steelers loss. I plan on watching the game from the comfort of my own home, watch the Bills win, and then sit back, with a tasty beer as Steelers nation cries themselves to sleep. GO BILLS!

Top Photo Credit:

Sportsbookreview.com

Week 14 Bills Injury Review- Ravens

Despite a loss, the Bills still showed a lot on Sunday afternoon. I’m not talking about this was a moral victory or if one thing was different, they could have won. What it simply comes down to is the offense didn’t come alive until it was too late, but what it did show that the Bills weren’t overmatched as in years past.

The Bills simply weren’t as good as the Ravens were Sunday with a 24-17 loss, but it shows that there isn’t a team, at least in the AFC, that the Bills weren’t as good as or can’t keep up with. We have seen this team rebound after a loss & improve their shortcomings, rather than getting stubborn & refuse to realize when something isn’t working. On top of that, the Bills continue to stay healthy & gear up towards an almost certain playoff trip. Below are the updates from the game.

QB Josh Allen (left ankle/foot)

Allen suffered an ankle sprain/foot contusion as the result of C Mitch Morse stepping on his left ankle/foot, attempting to keep the pocket clear. However, friendly fire strikes again & Allen was briefly down, limping off before getting his ankle wrapped & returning. He was able to play the entirety of the game & did not appear to be fazed by it, but this is more of a pain issue than anything else. It’s possible he may be limited one of the practice days if they work outside or he may not even show up on the injury report.

During Monday’s press conference, it wasn’t noted that he was dealing with anything concerning. Regardless, this isn’t something that I anticipate will hold him back from playing & at most, keep him in the pocket, reducing the need to run.

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe continues to work back from an ankle injury that has already cost him 3 games. He has yet to practice with him returning in a limited fashion possible Wednesday. Detailed in previous articles, outlines of why he was able to avoid an ankle fracture, why it takes so long for a ligament injury to heal, & when he will return. As I write this, it is possible that he could begin practicing Wednesday for the Steelers game, but it’s more realistic he comes back against the Patriots. Until he shows up as a limited participant, it will only be an educated guess. Though when he does return, he will be close to, if not, 100%.

The Bills continue to stay healthy down this final stretch as they look to finally clinch their playoff spot. While we can’t prevent injuries from happening, the medical staff will do their best to keep the players in one piece. The big hope is that major injury continues to escape the Bills. If this does occur, this team is deep enough to overcome some losses but would certainly dash hopes to make a playoff run. All we can do is take it week to week & have the Bills control their own narrative.

Top Photo Credit:

Pennlive.com

Week 14 Bills Injury Preview- Ravens

Breaking down why Nsekhe is out so long.

9-3. What a sight to behold!

The Bills are 9-3 heading into the month of December. That’s pretty incredible after all the years of cold meaningless football. While the Bills still have more work to do this month, this has turned into quite a special season, making the national media take notice on the team from Western NY. As the Bills embark on vital December games, the team continues to stay healthy following a rash of injuries around a well-timed Week 6 bye. But the Bills, they’re incredibly healthy now & in prime position to capitalize on teams limping into the playoffs. With the Ravens coming to town on an 8-game winning streak, this is a true test for the Bills to create an opportunity to capture an elusive AFC East crown.

OUT

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe continues to rehab back from his severe ankle sprain suffered against the Dolphins back on November 17th. On Wednesday, it was reported that Nsekhe would be out on the practice field in some role, however, he was a DNP all week. This is not surprising considering the severity of the ankle sprain he suffered, assessed out at least as a Grade 2 inversion ankle sprain. 

The reason this ankle continues to require more time is due to how ligaments heal. Like all tissues, they are made up of various building blocks. In the case of ligaments, water, collagen, & amino acids create the makeup of the tissue. During normal use, the ligaments crimp & uncrimp based on the tensile loads placed through the joint as they connect bone to bone for structural support. As the joint is progressed through the range of motion, the ligaments elongate until they are maximally stretched. Prior to the injury, the striations of the ligaments are linear and allow for support during the full range during joint motion. Think of the striations in a nice steak, all linear and uniform as seen below.

blood cell types
Credit: Sportsinjuryclinic.net

When an injury occurs, the ligaments are either overstretched or outright tear. When a joint is taken to its end range, the proprioceptive nerves in the ligament start signaling for the muscles around the area to contract to prevent the joint from injury. While this attempts to reduce injury, the muscles are not always able to overcome the forces from the injury. Based on the severity, anywhere from several fibers to the entirety of the ligament can tear. 

During healing, the body attempts to heal quickly by putting scar tissue down in a haphazard fashion to heal the tissue. Because the tissue is not linear, the elasticity decreases & the tissue is not as strong as what was originally torn. What happens then is if the tissue is reinjured, it takes less force for the tissue to tear or it stretches out & does not regain its normal shape as easily. You can see below how the makeup of the tissue changes with injury.

scar-tissue-image-300x175
Credit: oregonmassageandwellnessclinic.com

All this tissue healing takes time, anywhere from 6 weeks to a few years for the tissue to fully mature. Fortunately, progressive loading movements help remodel the tissue as it heals in order to return to activity sooner. This is why we are able to gauge return to play timelines based on the severity of the injury. At the end of the day, Nsekhe needs proper rest with increasing loading of the surrounding tissue and ankle joint to ensure that he regains full function in the ankle without causing further damage to the healing tissue.

According to ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques, Nsekhe is out of the walking boot this week, hopefully walking without pain. Ideally, he begins to practice in a limited capacity next week with an outside chance to play against the Steelers but more realistic chances to return against the Patriots. 

CLEARED

OG Quinton Spain & RB TJ Yeldon (illness)

Both Spain & Yeldon missed Thursday’s practice with what was described as an illness. Considering its flu season, that’s likely the cause. Neither were ruled out and while Spain won’t be 100%, enough fluids & Vitamin C should get him through the game. Just another reason to get the flu shot so you don’t get the flu. If you can’t get the shot, you know you can’t. But if you’re able, it helps keep you & others around you healthy. 

Possible Inactives:

TE Tommy Sweeney

OG Ike Boettger

OT Ty Nsekhe

WR Duke Williams

RB TJ Yeldon

S Dean Marlowe

DT Vincent Taylor

The Ravens are on an 8 game winning streak coming into New Era Field. Winning streaks in the NFL like this are rare & need to end at some point. I believe the Bills with their elite defense are primed to stop Lamar Jackson & Greg Roman’s offense. The Ravens are dealing with injury, but the Bills are healthier which with that and the ability to contain Lamar Jackson, could propel the Bills to victory. Here’s to a competitive game with the home crowd advantage, leading to a defining Bills win.
Top Photo Credit:

Baltimore Sun