2021 Buffalo Bills Training Camp Injury Preview- Running Backs

This is the 2021 Training Camp Preview for the Buffalo Bills Running Back room. This will outline every known injury from 2020 and outlook heading into 2021.

Returning:

Devin Singletary

Appeared in 16 games, 3 postseason games.

While Singletary did not have the production that he had during his rookie year, the one benefit was that he did not deal with the injuries that forced him to miss several games his rookie year.

His only injury was a right knee contusion suffered in Week 13 for which he did not miss any games. A lot has been mentioned about how he has re-shaped his body in the offseason to help him take his game to the next level. 

He hasn’t been injured a lot in his football career, I don’t expect that trend to change unless there is a direct contact injury or something unavoidable and random.

Zack Moss

Appeared in 13 games, 1 postseason game.

He runs hard and has a long injury history following him dating back to college. Appearing in 13 games and 1 playoff contest, Moss dealt with several serious injuries including:

  • Right turf toe injury, Week 2, missed 3 games.
  • Right knee injury, Week 13, missed 0 games
  • Left high ankle sprain, Wild Card game, missed remainder of playoffs, sent to IR.

Moss suffered the turf toe injury against the Dolphins, really slowing down his growth as he adjusted to the NFL. The right knee injury didn’t appear to be much of anything and shouldn’t be a concern moving forward. As for the left high ankle sprain, it required a tightrope procedure several weeks later forcing him to limit his participating in OTA’s and minicamp.

While I am confident that Moss will be fully healthy come training camp, I am concerned that Moss will be able to avoid injury all together this fall. The ankle injury should not carry over into this season with a recurrence as the tightrope procedure has had excellent outcomes. The toe is a concern as he also dealt with the injury in college, but hopefully improving the footwear heading into this season reduces the risk to re-injure the area. However, injury begets injury, Moss has had his share of them, I don’t expect that to change, but hopefully he can minimize the time missed.

Antonio Williams

Appeared in 1 game.

A fan favorite, Williams appeared in the season finale, potentially giving rise to his chance to make the roster this upcoming season. He did not suffer any publicly reported injuries last season and briefly dealt with a foot injury during voluntary OTA’s, but did not miss any time during minicamp. 

There are not any concerns moving forward other than whether he can make the active roster, but would be a near lock for the practice squad. However, if Moss can’t stay healthy, Williams could earn extra looks.

Christian Wade

Spent season on practice squad under international pathway program.

Another fan favorite, Wade impressed during his first preseason action in 2019, giving rise to the possibility we could see him on the roster in the future. He has no publicly reported injuries and it’s too soon to tell whether he could make the practice squad as a call up during the regular season or whether he would be under the international pathway program once more.

New to the roster:

Matt Breida

Looking for a new start after an uneventful stint in Miami and frequent injuries over his career, Breida could be a game changer due to his speed if he gets to the outside. Depending how much playing time he gets will dictate his injury risk. If he gets spot playing time like Yeldon did, I believe he could be effective when called upon. But if he has to play for an extended time, I am concerned about his durability. 

Not returning:

TJ Yeldon

Appeared in 3 games.

Yeldon was mostly an afterthought despite some early run in the season. Despite such few opportunities, Yeldon still suffered a back injury in Week 8 during practice, missing the Week 9 contest.

2021 Injury Expectations

This is a room where everyone could get some serious playing time especially if injuries occur, which is a very good chance someone will. Ideally with a more consistent offensive line, injuries can be minimized and production can improve.

2021 Buffalo Bills Training Camp Injury Preview- Quarterback

This is the 2021 Training Camp Preview for the Buffalo Bills Quarterback room. This will outline every known injury from 2020 and outlook heading into 2021.

Returning:

Josh Allen

Appeared in 16 regular season games, 3 post-season games. Injuries suffered include:

  • Left shoulder A/C Joint sprain, Week 4, missed 0 games.
  • Right knee MCL Sprain, ankle sprain, Week 12, missed 0 games.
  • Right knee MCL Sprain, Divisional round, missed 0 games.

Allen certainly gave the fan base several scares throughout the season dealing with injuries that he played through, at times affecting his play. His left shoulder injury with bracing affected him the next several games with his ability to move the ball, but he recovered as the season progressed. As this was more of an A/C Joint sprain, I have little concern for re-injury to the area in the 2021 season.

As for the right MCL and ankle sprains in both the regular season and postseason, there are no concerns for a recurrence next season. The MCL heals up very well non-surgically and he should not have to wear a brace. The ankle also appeared to be minor and reflecting back now, it may not have even been a factor.

While running quarterbacks are at a lower risk to suffer serious injuries compared to the more traditional pocket quarterbacks, this doesn’t eliminate the risk all together. Having his offensive line fully healthy and consistently out there along with familiarity with his offensive weapons should reduce rushing attempts and plays breaking down. Allen will still run, but they will be designed plays that can help minimize his risk.

There are no lingering injury issues heading into the 2021 season by my estimates. He will not get through the season injury free, but if the line can stay consistent, then this can limit his need to create plays or absorb unnecessary hits.

Jake Fromm

Appeared in 0 games, no publicly reported injuries.

Designated the emergency quarterback all season even before it was a thing, Fromm comes into this season healthy but unproven.

Davis Webb

Appeared in 0 games, no publicly reported injuries.

More of a coach than player, Webb continues to hang on as a practice squad player and has yet to appear in an NFL game. Until Fromm shows the chops to be the third quarterback, Webb justifies his place in the building, even on the practice squad.

New to the roster:

Mitchell Trubisky

Appeared in 10 regular season games, 1 post-season game. Injuries suffered include:

  • Hip pointer, Week 7, missed 0 games.
  • Right A/C Joint sprain, Week 8, missed 2 games.

Trubisky does come with several injury concerns from his time in Chicago, I have no worries based off his injury history and the assumption he doesn’t see the field often in 2021. Even if he does have to play a game here or there, the offensive line should be better than what he had with the Bears, offering more protection.

Not Returning:

Matt Barkley

Appeared in 5 games, suffered no publicly reported injuries.

Barkley exits following two successful years as as backup, helping Josh Allen develop as a professional. He did not appear to suffer any injuries in his appearances which was the expectation as a backup quarterback.

2021 Injury Expectations

The team rides or dies with Josh Allen at the helm. I would expect that Allen continues to suffer occasional smaller injuries, but ideally avoid the more serious or season-ending injuries due to his offensive line and ability to scramble. Overall, no injury concerns for anyone heading into the season.

Nazair Jones Injury Profile

Nazair Jones
Position: DT
Height/Weight: 6’5″/304 lbs.
College: North Carolina
Year joined Bills: 2021
Acquired: Free Agency via Seahawks

High School:

2011 Junior year:

Suffered a neurological condition known as CRPS. This is identified as persistent pain, intermittent swelling, decreased ability to move the limb, heightened sensitivity. This is a condition that can persist for months to years. Still reportedly taking medication to manage condition. Read this story to understand more how he dealt with it. Make sure to check out this story as well.

College Injuries:

2014 Redshirt freshman year:

No publicly reported injuries.

2015 Sophomore year:

Missed 3 games with a leg injury, specifics unknown.

Missed bowl game against Baylor, specifics unknown.

2016 Junior year:

Missed 1 game against JMU due to injury, specifics unknown.

Pro Injuries:

2017 Seahawks:

Knee injury, Week 7, missed 0 games, side not specified.

High ankle sprain, Week 13 practice, missed 5 games, went to IR.

2018 Seahawks:

Hip flexor injury, preseason, side not specified.

Illness, Week 10, missed 1 game.

2019 Seahawks:

Knee tendonitis, preseason, side not specified, sent to IR.

2020:

Did not play.

General links:

Buffalo Bills Minicamp Injury Review

After a long layoff since January’s loss in the AFC Championship, the Buffalo Bills took to the field for the first mandatory practices of the season last week. Despite practicing only 2 out of the original 3 scheduled days, we still got to observe a lot of updates on the offseason training of veterans, impact rookies may have, and what roles may be up for grabs. In addition, we also got to see where several players were either returning from injury or dealing with new, unknown ailments. 

New Injuries

DE Bryan Cox Jr. (left leg/foot)

Cox went down on Tuesday with a lower leg injury, requiring assistance to get off the field to a cart. Not much has been reported since the injury which could be a good or bad thing, depending on how it’s viewed. 

The lack of an official report by the team indicates that it may not be season-ending such as an ACL, fracture, or Achilles. However, without video or further reporting, it is impossible to say what the specific injury entailed. This will be something to watch come training camp, but if this injury lingers, this could mean a quick exit for Cox with how deep the defensive line room has become this offseason.

Update: Cox has since been placed on IR with a left Achilles’ injury that required surgery.

S Josh Thomas (unknown)

Thomas, a practice squad player for most of the season last year, has been dealing with an unknown injury since OTA’s, showing up in a red jersey. Looking back at reports, he appeared in Week 8 and 10, but suffered no publicly reported injuries or observed injuries on the field.

Like Cox, he will be a name to watch come training camp to see if this is something that could prevent him from competing for a depth spot.

Recovering from injury

G Cody Ford (right meniscus tear)

Ford continues to work back from his right meniscus tear suffered in practice right before Thanksgiving, requiring surgery. He has been seen wearing a full length compression sleeve on the right leg while wearing a red jersey, indicating no-contact. 

It has been almost 7 months since the surgery and while he is likely close to 100 percent, it was smart that he did not participate in meaningless practices. The compression stocking indicates to me that he was possibly still dealing with swelling in the knee as he worked back into shape. This is not cause for concern as this can be an expected response even this late into his rehab process.

Ford has been banged during his time in the league and will need a healthy season in Year 3 in order to warrant keeping him around past his rookie deal. If the team kept him at one position with consistent lineups on the line, this could allow Ford to play to his highest level. 

RB Zack Moss (right ankle injury)

Moss continues to work back from his right ankle injury sustained in the Wild Card game against the Colts. This injury ultimately required a tightrope procedure shortly after. 

Like Ford, he likely was close to 100 percent, but the training staff felt it was not worth it to push him during the two days. Tightrope procedures can typically be played on much sooner, but this is the offseason and getting back to full health is more important than mandatory minicamp. I have no concerns for his availability come late July.

WR Isaiah Hodgins (left shoulder)

Missing his entire rookie year due to a shoulder injury dating back to college, Hodgins finally got it repaired in December shortly after getting activated before reverting to IR. While it still has not been specified which injury he was dealing with, the fact that he was dealing with this dating back to college and attempting to play though it suggests that this was indeed a labrum tear.

Hodgins has since been cleared for full activity, further supporting the timeline for a labrum repair. He unfortunately does have a chance to re-tear the surgically repaired area, upwards of 26 percent, but his position as a wide receiver would be a smaller risk than that of an offensive lineman.

Other injuries to note

RB Antonio Williams (foot)

Williams injured his foot during running back drills in early June, but rebounded for a strong minicamp several weeks later. He didn’t appear to be limited at any point and due to Moss and Matt Brieda being limited, this allowed Williams to take more reps to possibly solidify a place for him on the team come September.

RB Matt Breida (unknown)

Coming off a hamstring strain during his time in Miami, Breida comes to Buffalo with no new publicly reported injuries, but it’s important to note that he was not wearing a red jersey according to what was reported. 

Unless there is more information available, this is something to note but nothing more.

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral)

Milano was interviewed during camp and the health of his pectoral injury from last year was brought up. He came right out and said how he was 100 percent at the end of last season once he returned. 

He was still observed wearing the shoulder harness despite being healthy, but this was likely more precautionary to get through the remainder of the season. It may have also been a diversion to opponents thinking he still wasn’t effective. Either way, it’s excellent that he did not require surgery or have any lingering issues.

Other observations

Outside of Cox, there are no concerns heading into training camp. Having a healthy team coming into camp, not dealing with the NFI or PUP list will allow for positional battles to commence and see who is truly the best. 

It is also important to note that the Bills added DT Eli Ankou to the roster on June 21st, bringing the total roster to 89 players. While Ankou has bounced around the league, he does bring several years of experience and depth to a position that needed serious upgrades following very public struggles in the playoffs against the Chiefs.

This is excellent to see the continuity of the team returning and healthy to hopefully take the next step towards reaching the Super Bowl. While it may be a long month until training camp starts, it is satisfying knowing the Bills are in a great position to maximize their chances for another deep playoff run in 2021.

Top Photo Credit: Buffalo Bills

DT Eli Ankou Injury Profile

#51 Eli Ankou
Position:
DT
Height/Weight: 6’3″/327 lbs.
College: UCLA
Year joined Bills: 2021
Acquired: Free Agency via Falcons

College Injuries:

2013 Freshman year:

Knee injury, side not specified, possible meniscus, missed most of season, appeared in 3 games.

Pro Injuries:

2017 Houston/Jacksonville:

No publicly reported injuries

2018 Jacksonville:

Knee injury, side not specified, preseason.

Calf injury, side not specified, Week 8, missed 2 games.

2019 Jacksonville/Cleveland:

No publicly reported injuries.

2020 Indianapolis/Houston/Cowboys:

No publicly reported injuries.

2021 Atlanta/Buffalo:

No publicly reported injuries.

General links:

WR Lance Lenoir Injury Profile

#9 Lance Lenoir
Position: WR
Height/Weight: 6’0″/210 lbs.
College: Western Illinois
Year joined Bills: 2021
Acquired: UDFA via Seattle

College Injuries:

No publicly reported injuries.

Pro Injuries:

2017 Cowboys:

No publicly reported injuries.

2018 Cowboys:

No publicly reported injuries.

2019 Cowboys:

Knee injury suffered in training camp, side or injury not specified, waived, reverted to IR for the season.

2020 Seahawks:

No publicly reported injuries.

General links:

DT Treyvon Hester Injury Profile

#62 Treyvon Hester
Position: DT
Height/Weight: 6’2″/304 lbs.
College: Toledo
Year joined Bills: 2021
Acquired: Free Agency via Eagles

College Injuries:

2013 Freshman year:

No publicly reported injuries.

2014 Sophomore year:

Tore shoulder labrum, side not specified, Week 3, missed 0 games.

2014 Junior year:

No publicly reported injuries.

2015 Senior year:

Tore other labrum, side not specified, missed 3 total games.

Pro Injuries:

2017 Raiders:

Ankle injury, side not specified, Week 15, missed 2 games.

2018 Eagles:

No publicly reported injuries.

2019 Washington Football Team:

Elbow injury, side not specified, Week 8, missed 0 games.

2020 Packers/Eagles:

Had COVID-19 during training camp, released with injury settlement, undisclosed injury, signed with Eagles later in season.

General links:

Shoulder labrum tears

LB Joe Giles-Harris Injury Profile

#42 Joe Giles-Harris
Position: LB
Height/Weight: 6’2″/240 lbs.
College: Duke
Year joined Bills: 2021
Acquired: Free Agency via Jaguars

College Injuries:

2016 Freshman year:

No publicly reported injuries.

2017 Sophomore year:

No publicly reported injuries.

2018 Junior year:

MCL Sprain, side not specified, missed 4 games.

Pro Injuries:

2019 Jaguars:

No publicly reported injuries.

2020 Jaguars:

No publicly reported injuries.

General links:

MCL Sprain