Sunday was simply disappointing. A 23-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers deflated all that pregame buildup, all that anticipation to have the game end like that. It’s like waiting for Christmas as a kid only to get socks and underwear when you were expecting Power Rangers.
But it’s one game, 0-1 does not define a season. Fortunately there were few in-game injuries that are addressed below.
WR Isaiah McKenzie (right shoulder)
McKenzie briefly left the game following a fair catch punt with 10:43 in the first quarter. He caught the ball off to the left before doubling over in clear discomfort, eventually going to the blue medical tent.
He later left the field with the training staff without his pads on before later returning and finishing the game after missing one offensive series. By video, it looks as though the ball hit his left shoulder where he had the previous AC joint sprain back on August 24th.
However, Sean McDermott noted that it was his right shoulder that he injured Sunday. His right arm did appear to be dangling briefly as though that was the problem area. How he signaled for fair catch, I’m not certain that the motion would have caused him to suffer any sort of injury.
He was involved with the offense earlier in the game and special teams with his monster kickoff return. He did take a hard hit to the right shoulder getting tackled on kickoff, but he bounced right back up. It’s possible his adrenaline was kicking in and he wasn’t aware of the pain he was in until he lifted his shoulder to signal fair catch.
Looking at what we know, there is something missing that doesn’t tell us right now why or how the right shoulder was injured. From what I’ve found, he doesn’t have any prior history of right shoulder injuries. This will be something to monitor as the week progresses as to whether this will affect him for Week 2 against the Dolphins.
WR Gabriel Davis (right hip)
Davis got up gingerly following a deep shot down the field late in the 3rd quarter. By video, he appears to land hard on his right hip and briefly exited, eventually returning for the next offensive series.
This possibly could be a contusion to the general hip area, though how he landed, he could have suffered a hip pointer injury. This is a contusion to the iliac crest which is more painful than anything but could limit him this week.
He will be yet another one to watch as to whether he is limited during the week in practice.
WR Emmanuel Sanders (right foot)
Sanders ended up playing despite his questionable status for his foot entering Sunday. Earlier in the week during practice, he was observed wearing kinesio tape on his right foot/ankle area which based on the placement suggested Achilles tendinitis or plantar fasciitis.
He didn’t appear to be limited at any point during the game which further suggests that this injury will be managed weekly for the time being.
WR Marquez Stevenson (right foot)
Stevenson is observed below running on an Alter-G treadmill as he rehabs back from his foot injury originally suffered in the Bears game. At the time, I suspected that he had a midfoot sprain. In the video, he looks as though he is moving well and does not appear to have any asymmetries in his running pattern.
The Alter-G treadmill allows a person to use air pressure to reduce the weight impact through a leg during walking or running. It isn’t know how close to 100 percent weight bearing Stevenson is, but this video is promising to see. Right now, the only way Stevenson returns in Week 4 is whether there is a corresponding injury or roster move to allow him to return or whether they decide to cut someone. It should not be surprising if Stevenson spends more time on IR until he is needed.
This injury report will be one to watch closely for Davis and McKenzie along with seeing whether Star Lotulelei returns to practice. There will likely be another player or two that are surprise additions. The Bills will need all hands on deck in order to beat a hungry Dolphins team coming off a win over the Patriots in Week 1.
Week 1 is finally here!! The Buffalo Bills will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 12th at 1 pm at Highmark Stadium in front of a full capacity stadium. Just that sentence brings a smile to one’s face, the simple idea of attending a football game in person after all that 2020 was and what 2021 has been so far. Life is not back to normal quite yet, but this is a small sliver of normalcy. Right now, that’s a win.
To top it off, the Bills head into the game remarkably healthy despite dealing with several injuries that are lingering from the preseason. Below are the injuries to watch for the Bills and new for this season, the Steelers injury report.
DT Star Lotulelei (calf)
The veteran defensive tackle showed up on the injury report last week on September 1st with a calf injury, though it isn’t clear when he injured the calf. I suspect it occurred during the Packers preseason game.
He doesn’t have a significant injury history regarding soft tissue, but it’s possible this may be more of an acclimation injury as he did not play in the other two preseason games. The team noted that he was trending in the right direction early on but after not practicing all week, the team announced he would be out for Sunday. They also said that it would be a committee approach to replace Star in the lineup. The team also protected DT Brandin Bryant on the practice squad and can call him up if needed.
He was observed walking around practice Friday and on the bike, but he will need several full practices before there is confidence that he will play against Miami in Week 2. It’s also important to note how hot and humid South Florida is this time of year which may cause him to miss Week 2 if he starts off with several DNP’s or limited status for practice.
WR Emmanuel Sanders (right foot)
Sanders was a surprise addition to the injury report with a foot injury and limited designation Wednesday that has lingered over the past month since injuring it on August 4th, occasionally missing practice. Initial reports were that he twisted his ankle during reps and eventually returned to practice August 9th. He sporadically dealt with the injury off and on, even playing in the final preseason game against the Packers.
By this point, the injury is in the chronic stage of healing where he may not deal with pain during day-to-day activities, but may notice it during overuse or end range movements. I had originally anticipated that he would return 100 percent, but this may be something that is present all season, much like we saw last year with WRJohn Brown. The difference being that this hopefully does not impact his performance like it did Brown.
He was observed briefly in practice Friday in a limited role jogging and catching balls. He was also observed to have kinesio tape on his right heel/Achilles. This would suggest that he may be dealing with Achilles tendinitis or plantar fasciitis based on the location of the tape. Both injuries are very common overuse injuries that can persist even with treatment and rest. However, both can be played through.
It is important to note that this is his right foot; he tore the Achilles in his left leg back in 2018. I believe he will play on Sunday despite this current injury designation.
CB Taron Johnson (right hand)
Johnson has been dealing with a hand injury that appears just prior to the Packers game on August 28th. He has been seen with a cast, a club, and now a splint on the area. It appeared as though he would enter the season wearing the club, but the fact that he is in a splint shows that he is healing from a potential metacarpal fracture.
With his fingers free, he can go up for an interception or at the very least stay with his man and deflect passes with more accuracy. He may be in the splint for a few more weeks as he continues to heal, though hopefully he doesn’t suffer further injury to the area. I’m sure the Steelers will be very wary of where he is on the field especially after his pick-six last season.
DT Harrison Phillips (left knee)
Phillips continues to work back from a left knee injury sustained against the Bears. It was described as a minor injury but forced him to miss the Packers game and initially left some doubt as to whether he would start the season healthy.
Based on the initial video, I suspected a PCL injury that is possibly close to being fully healed or close. He did not appear limited during the open practice on September 1st and no mention of him being limited in practice has been made in the media this past week.
WR Isaiah McKenzie (left shoulder)
McKenzie continues to work back from what I believe was an AC joint sprain courtesy of Bills S Jordan Poyer. He continues to move well on the field and out of the red non-contact jersey, though at times showing some pain according to video last week.
He may not be 100 percent healthy by Sunday, but a cortisone shot to the area will help reduce any pain he may deal with during the game. At worst, he may stick to special teams to limit his hits, but even if he does play in the offense, he can still be productive.
Other Bills observations:
Notably absent from the injury report are CB Dane Jackson (stinger), S Jaquan Johnson (knee), OT Spencer Brown (knee), CB Levi Wallace (hip), and TE Tommy Sweeney (foot). All appear ready to go, though the amount of information on their injuries vary which suggests that the injuries may still be present, but will not cause them to miss the game.
DT Treyvon Hester (injury settlement)
He was released with an injury designation September 8th due to a back injury that landed him on injured reserve on August 27th.
RB Christian Wade (right shoulder)
Wade officially had surgery on his right shoulder sometime last week for an injury sustained as early as August 5th. He was seen around the facility in a sling and attempted to return to conditioning briefly before being shut down and reported that he would have surgery. It’s not clear whether this was a labrum or rotator cuff tear, I suspect labrum, but he should be fully healthy come training camp next year.
LB Alex Highsmith (groin)
Not much is known regarding Highsmith’s groin injury, this appears to be the first reports of the injury from what I could find. According to reports, he practiced Tuesday, was limited Wednesday and practiced Thursday/Friday in full.
He doesn’t have a prior known history of groin injuries or even soft tissue for that matter from what has been publicly reported. I anticipate his reps may be limited as a precautionary measure.
Green practiced Tuesday, limited Wednesday, practiced in full Thursday/Friday. It isn’t clear which hand he injured, but it is important to note that he is right handed when it comes to snapping the ball. This could make snapping more difficult, however he has no injury designation heading into the game which indicate that may be a minor issue he plays through.
NT Tyson Alualu (elbow)
Practiced Tuesday, did not practice Wednesday. Practiced in full Thursday/Friday. This also appears to be an injury that was sustained Tuesday with the exact details not known. Has been incredibly durable since 2010, missing only 3 games over his career.
WR James Washington (finger)
Washington showed up on the injury report Friday with a finger injury that limited him in practice, but this does not carry an injury designation.
Other Steelers observations
DT Stephon Tuitt (knee)
One of the top defensive lineman for the Steelers, coming off an 11-sack season, will be out the first 3 games on IR with a lingering knee issue from training camp. This will only make game planning for the Steelers defense all that much easier with less pressure up front.
LB Devin Bush (ACL rehab)
Bush has been rehabbing from a torn left ACL suffered in mid-October of last season. He will be just over 10 months removed from surgery in late October. While he is cleared to play, I suspect he will be a step slower as his knee is still not 100 percent and likely won’t be for some time. If I was the Bills, I’d force him and LBAlex Highsmith to make plays, hoping that a misstep or a slower reaction to the play could allow a receiver to take advantage.
OT Tommy Doyle
DT Star Lotulelei
TE Tommy Sweeney
RB Matt Breida
LB Tyrel Dodson
STEELERS PROJECTED INACTIVES
QB Dwayne Haskins
LB Jamir Jones
CB Ahkello Witherspoon
RB Kalen Ballage
TE Zach Gentry
The Steelers will be arriving at quite possibly the loudest stadium in the NFL Sunday. This will be a disadvantage for them and could have a significant impact on the offense to execute their game plan. Add in the overall lack of injuries to the Bills, this is a very winnable game for Buffalo.
I do have one request for everyone reading this, take a second to soak in the moment. This is the start of a special season and a significant moment as fans return to the stands. Buffalo Bills football is back!!
Last season surely exceeded expectations amongst Buffalo Bills fans, but there’s no reason the new campaign shouldn’t be just as successful.
After securing the first AFC East title since 1995, the Bills secured solid wins against the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs. Only the Kansas City Chiefs stopped their surge towards Super Bowl LV in an exciting 38-24 defeat. Whilst it could be viewed as a disappointment not to make the season showcase, there are plenty of reasons why Bills fans should be excited.
Firstly, there’s been good injury news over the last couple of weeks. Buffalo Rumblings reveals that seven players look set to return from injury following the return to public practice. Three, Taron Johnson, Dane Jackson, and Isaiah McKenzie, were wearing red non-contact jerseys, whilst another four were all back on the grass. Levi Wallace, Harrison Phillips, Tommy Sweeney, and Spencer Brown were all back in the lineup and ready to push the team one step further than last season.
Much of the roster has been kept from last season, with star quarterback Josh Allen even signing a new multi-year deal worth $258m. Allen is an emerging star who finds himself coming off a breakthrough season with the Bills. He set numerous franchise scoring and passing records as Brandon Beane’s team made their deepest playoff run in 27 years. With Allen amongst the 53-man roster for the 2021 season, there’s every chance they could go one further this season.
Who stands in their way? The obvious rivals in the AFC East are the New England Patriots, who won the AFC East 11 seasons in a row before the last campaign. They’ve won it 22 times since 1978, with three Super Bowl victories in the previous seven seasons. Their recent record makes them the most successful franchise in Super Bowl history, as demonstrated by a Bwin infographic, but the Bills should be able to hold off their challenge. The Miami Dolphins and New York Jets are still some way behind the other two – although Miami did go 10-6 last season and will be hoping to build on that.
What are the Bills strengths going into the new season? When assessing their key areas, the passing game is the first place you go, with Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders, and Gabriel Davis as strong as it gets anywhere in the NFL. Injuries to key players perhaps derailed their attempt to reach Super Bowl LV last season, but keeping those players fit will surely see them as a real force, not just in the AFC East but beyond into the playoffs.
One area fans have been concerned about is the cornerback depth. That isn’t a view shared by Beane or Sean McDermott. They believe in their depth on the roster, with Levi Wallace the expected first-choice and Dane Jackson his backup. Even Siran Neal could be trusted in an emergency, but fans won’t expect to see that much of the Alabama native if the team stays clear of injuries.
This is an exciting time to be a Bills fan, and if the team stays clear of those injuries, then it could well be a successful season. What is success for Bills fans? Is another deep run into the playoffs enough, or will a first Super Bowl appearance since 1993 be the only achievement regarded as real success?
The final roster is set! Following Tuesday’s cut down day and Wednesday’s IR and waiver wire transactions, the Buffalo Bills have their roster they intend to take into Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. There are always surprises including that Jacob Hollister was cut, but the health of several players and overall vision for the team helped shape those decisions. Below are the updated injuries following the 53-man roster cutdown.
Treyvon Hester (back)
Hester was placed on injured reserve Saturday August 28th with a back injury designation. Teams and the player have a 5-day window in which they can negotiate an injury settlement, but that window has closed. Hester will stay on injured reserve for the season and rehab his back injury or require a procedure if needed. It’s noted that the specifics of the injury are not currently known.
Christian Wade (shoulder)
Largely out of practice since August 5th, Wade did not make the 53-man roster as expected, nor did he go to the practice squad as an international player exemption. Instead, it was announced that he would require season-ending shoulder surgery. Details of the injury still are not known, but considering he needs surgery indicates that this is a more severe injury than what was initially perceived.
At this point, I would believe that he either suffered a rotator cuff or labrum tear. How he injured the shoulder isn’t known and which side for that matter. Social media doesn’t provide any additional clues as to the specifics of the injury. More information will be known in the coming days and weeks, but regardless of the injury, he should be ready for training camp next season.
Marquez Stevenson (right foot/head injury)
Stevenson was a surprise to go to injured reserve despite several other players dealing with what were thought to be potentially longer term injuries. Stevenson had suffered what looked to be a right midfoot sprain in the win over the Bears, just prior to his electric punt return TD before exiting the game. He required x-rays and a boot but quickly returned to practice and play in the game against the Packers, suggesting that this was minor.
However, foot injuries can and do linger. It’s possible that he was feeling good and aggravated things Saturday. He did play in 8 offensive snaps and 3 on special teams. He was evaluated for a head injury late in the game but it never was revealed whether he was officially diagnosed with a concussion.
While moving a player from active roster to IR following roster cut downs is common, this move simply kept Stevenson away from the waiver wire. The earliest he can return is Week 4 against the Houston Texans and his return will be dependent on either the play of others or injuries.
Warring comes to the Bills as a former third-round pick of the Houston Texans and has since had cups of coffee with the Patriots and Colts this preseason before getting signed by the Bills on September 2nd to the practice squad.
He was originally selected 10 picks ahead of Dawson Knox but injuries significantly limited his ability to stay on the field since being drafted two years ago. These injury concerns date back to college and at least show a trend in his inability to stay healthy. You can read more about his injury history in his injury player profile page here.
Star Lotulelei (calf)
Lotulelei did not participate in Wednesday’s open practice due to a calf injury, side not specified. He played in 12 plays Saturday but calf injuries are notoriously hard to decipher on film alone. This may be a precautionary thing, but more information must be known before making any final rulings for his status for Week 1. The team does have Brandin Bryant on the practice squad as a call-up in case Lotulelei is not ready next Sunday.
Other injury updates
Harrison Phillips (left knee)
Following the release of Reid Ferguson and Jacob Hollister, it was assumed that these roster cuts were made so that others could be moved to IR after the cut down day. However, only Ferguson returned when Marquez Stevenson was moved to IR. Phillips was a candidate to move to IR simply to keep him around and something I considered after the initial roster moves. The fact that this did not occur and his participation in this week’s practice suggested otherwise.
According to Cover 1’s Greg Tompsett, Phillips was seen sprinting down the sidelines at Wednesday’s open practice, signaling that he was close to returning. He was not in a red non-contact jersey and participated fully with a hinge brace on his left knee, a common presence following his most recent ACL tear.
Based on the video and updates, I still believe he suffered a PCL sprain and that he is working through the rehab to be ready for September 12th. It was reported that this was a minor knee injury and this appears to be the case. To read more about the suspected injury, check out the article following the Bears preseason game.
TommySweeney (left foot)
Sweeney is a massive surprise to see return to practice as he originally injured what looked to be his left foot against the Lions. This was the same foot that appeared to be injured last year that cost him the first half of the season before COVID and myocarditis ended the remainder of 2020 for him.
Sweeney was seen in a walking boot since then and had not been participating in practice, suggesting a potential aggravation from last season’s injury or even a fracture. Fortunately, he returned to practice in full on Wednesday without anything other than cleats on either foot/ankle area and looked to move without hesitation. This may have been a minor strain or sprain that the team wanted to be conservative with considering his history.
The fact that he made the roster out of training camp despite missing a significant portion indicates the faith the team has in not only his abilities, but his health. He will be someone to watch for a recurrence of injury, but he appears to be trending upwards.
Isaiah McKenzie (left shoulder)
McKenzie, also a potential IR candidate at one point, returned to practice with a red non-contact jersey and participated in every aspect of practice Wednesday. He was at times wincing due to pain if he caught a ball away from his body as seen in the clip below, but that is more pain limiting than any potential damage. As long as he avoids any hits to the shoulder for another week, then that will allow him to be closer to 100 percent.
He’s on track for Week 1 as the primary kick and punt returner, though I would not be surprised if he sticks to that role initially over Week 1 and even Week 2 to limit his re-injury risk.
Taron Johnson (right hand)
Johnson has returned to practice with a red non-contact jersey and club on the right hand following being seen with a cast on prior. This suggests that he has some sort of fracture in one of the metacarpals. I have no concern for him playing Week 1, however I don’t expect him to be getting any interceptions anytime soon.
Jaquan Johnson (knee)
Jaquan Johnson has returned to practice according to reports but did not appear to practice anymore past open media availability. Details of the injury are non-existent but it is important to note that the team has not ruled him out for Week 1 yet.
Dane Jackson (stinger)
Jackson is still in a red non-contact jersey as the result of a stinger from the Bears game. He did undergo an MRI following the game, but no further information has been revealed since then. Stingers can linger if there is an underlying issue, but more information would have to be known to have a long-term outlook or how it will affect him.
Levi Wallace (right hip)
Practicing in a normal jersey, Wallace continues to participate with a wrap/compression sleeve that’s under his shorts on the right side. Details of the injury are also not known, but he appears on track to play Week 1 and nothing that the coaching staff has stated suggests otherwise.
Spencer Brown (left knee)
Brown has returned to practice but he has been sporting hinged knee braces on both knees. Collegiate programs require double knee braces to reduce injury risk and his injury from the Bears game may have scared him enough to brace up to protect the knees. The injury does not appear to have long-lasting issues, but it’s possible that the bracing doesn’t go away this season.
The Bills are slowly getting healthier with most of the main injury concerns receiving more positive news than prior to cut down day. Practice next week will be more telling as to who may miss Week 1, but injury news continues to improve with each passing day.
The Buffalo Bills continue to dominate, this time with a complete 19-0 win over the Green Bay Packers. Unlike last week, the Bills walked away with few injuries with little long-term concern. However, injuries from Saturday’s game may have a significant impact on Tuesday’s looming roster cut down.
Brandin Bryant (concussion)
Bryant suffered a concussion with 35 seconds left in the 3rd quarter when he attempted to tackle Packers running back Dexter Williams. His head bounced off Williams and Bryant fell down onto the turf, lying motionless for a moment before getting up and appearing disoriented.
Trainers ran out to assess him and get him off the field into the blue medical tent where they later ruled him out with a concussion. Bryant doesn’t have any publicly reported concussions so it is unknown when he will return. My initial guess is that he receives an injury settlement and moves on elsewhere.
Ryan Bates (right hand)
Bates suffered a right hand injury with 10:01 left in the 4th quarter. It’s not clear what he did but it looks like he hit it or got it caught in a jersey while blocking. He played two more snaps before coming out and going to the locker room. Considering his right hand is his snapping hand, this is likely why he left the game.
He did not return to the game but since the game was well out of reach for the Packers, it made sense to not go back in. It’s not clear what he did but it doesn’t appear that this will be a long-term issue at the moment.
Marquez Stevenson (head injury)
Stevenson suffered a head injury with 6:41 left in the 4th quarter on a punt return when he was hit by two Packers taking him down.
At time of publication, it has not been announced whether he suffered a concussion or not. This will not be announced until Wednesday’s practice or potentially during roster cut downs. This could affect his roster chances as to put him on the active roster and then move him to IR. He could also make the roster and play Week 1 if cleared. But there is no scenario where he stays on IR for the season or leaves with an injury settlement.
Did not play:
Antonio Williams- neck
Christian Wade- shoulder
Isaiah Hodgins- left knee
Isaiah McKenzie- left shoulder
Tommy Sweeney- left foot
Harrison Phillips- left knee
Spencer Brown- left knee
Taron Johnson- right hand
Levi Wallace- right hip
Dane Jackson- stinger
Jaquan Johnson- knee
Reid Ferguson- back
Stefon Diggs- rest/knee
I had thought Levi Wallace would suit up but did not and I had expected Isaiah Hodgins to play due to his need to fight for a roster spot, but he was also out. Diggs had been practicing and at warmups but ultimately did not suit up, possibly out of an abundance of caution. Otherwise, the rest were not surprising in that they did not play with the exception of Ferguson.
I went back to the Bears game and looked to see if there was anything I missed on extra points and punts, but there was nothing apparent on film where he appeared to injure his back. Sean McDermott noted that he was held out as a precautionary measure and he is day-to-day. This will be something to watch, hopefully this is minor. As I said in my previous article, any future roster moves may determine the severity.
Davis Webb (left shoulder)
Webb was spotted by TV cameras on the sideline with a shoulder stabilizer brace. This comes after his shoulder injury with 9:12 in the 4th quarter on a bad snap against the Bears. At the time, the injury did not appear to be anything, especially considering he returned next series.
But the presence of a brace certainly changes the severity of the injury. The brace would suggest a labrum injury considering how the defensive lineman landed on Webb’s shoulder during the Bears game. This specific brace prevents external rotation and abduction, motions that can stress the labrum and cause further subluxation.
However, the team could place Webb on IR at roster cut downs to allow them to keep him around but he wouldn’t be able to participate in practice. He was able to play through the shoulder injury but if the team is concerned about keeping guys around, this could be an easy out to keep Webb in the room.
Tommy Doyle/Spencer Brown (knee)
During the broadcast, Brandon Beane said that Spencer Brown dinged his knee up last week and was held out to be safe. He went on to say that Tommy Doyle bruised his knee, he was seen with a hinged brace on. While the injury is not a new development, it is important to highlight things that are said and how things match up with what is reported.
Taron Johnson (right hand)
Beane spoke on Taron Johnson and that hurt his hand this week at practice, specifically banged it up. Based on the presence of a cast, this would suggest a fracture in either the metacarpals or possibly even carpal bones. This is not a new development but it at least gives us a timeline of when he injured the hand and when he could return to play and be 100 percent effective. Right now, I don’t anticipate that he will miss Week 1, but interceptions may be tricky to come by initially.
Tommy Sweeney (left foot)
From the looks of it, Sweeney didn’t have a boot on either foot on the sidelines which is excellent to see considering he hasn’t practiced since injuring his foot against the Lions. This development may allow the team to move Sweeney to IR following roster cut downs to allow him to return during the season. Simply something to note prior to Tuesday’s deadline.
Players potentially eligible to go to short-term IR include Tommy Sweeney, Isaiah McKenzie, Jaquan Johnson, and Antonio Williams. While Christian Wade has not practiced much at all since early August and could be an IR candidate before roster cut downs, he is best to remain on the practice squad as an international player exemption to continue practicing and learning.
We will still see some questionable decisions made Tuesday that will be explained Wednesday. Until then, it appears that the team is slowly on the mend.
While the Buffalo Bills are undefeated in the preseason and running like a well-oiled machine, injuries are stressing the effectiveness of that machine. Numerous roster moves have been made and new faces have been brought in to get through this game. Below are all the transactions and injuries in how it breaks down prior to this game and the regular season.
Forrest LampandDuke Williams
Lamp was placed on IR with the calf injury originally suffered on July 31st.
Duke Williams was dealing with a minor hamstring strain prior to the Lions game but it’s highly likely he suffered another injury that isn’t publicly known.
Both have since agreed to an injury settlement and will go rehab elsewhere and potentially find a new home.
Vernon Butler, Star Lotulelei, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis
All had close contacts with a trainer and despite testing negative, are in a 5-day window that forces them to miss practice as per the NFL protocols. The exact dates each can return depend on when their exposure to the COVID positive trainer was first documented.
Bug Howard, Tyler Gauthier, Tyrell Adams, Tariq Thompson, Lance Lenoir. All were cut down to get to the 81 man roster limit by Tuesday at 4 pm.
Christian Wade (shoulder)
Wade has returned to practice working off to the side, out of his sling and briefly conditioning, but still has not even returned to individual drills. He is set to miss his third consecutive preseason game which all but spells his return to the practice squad on the international player practice squad exemption. He is not expected to play Saturday.
Tommy Sweeney (left foot)
Sweeney continues to miss practice following his foot injury in the first preseason game against the Lions. Details of his injury also have not been disclosed, but I am concerned that this is an aggravation of his foot injury that required surgery from last season. It’s possible he had a Jones fracture last year and he may possibly have suffered a re-injury. There have been no new reports of surgery and he may be a candidate for short-term-IR after roster cut downs. He is not expected to play Saturday.
Isaiah Hodgins (left knee)
Hodgins missed all of last week and the Bears game with possible knee bursitis due to the hit he took on his left knee in the Lions game. Due to the injury and his lack of production when the pads went on doesn’t do him favors in making the roster. I expect him to play Saturday and needs to in order to make the team.
Antonio Williams (neck)
It’s important to note that Williams’ injury transitioned from a stinger to a neck injury which is not all that much different. Peripheral nerves branch off the spinal cord and out between the vertebrae that make up the spine.
When he got hit, there was either some type of compression or stretching to the area that caused pain, numbness, and tingling down that particular nerve or nerves that were affected. His injury designation may be the result of the area of where the pain originated to and potentially has centralized.
There could be a number of reasons his neck could still be hurting including but not limited to a disc bulge, compression of the foramen where the nerve exits, muscle tightness seen in whiplash, or other possibilities unknown at this time. This is a perfect example of how stingers are unique in their recovery. I do not expect Williams to suit up Saturday.
Stefon Diggs (knee)
Diggs has returned to practice looking like he has not missed a step. We don’t have a specific issue that caused him to miss practice close to two weeks, but he is back and looks healthy. Looking back, I suspect some sort of overuse or tendinitis injury for which the training staff was right to conservatively manage. However, I do believe he will play Saturday, albeit briefly.
Jaquan Johnson (knee)
Little is known about Johnson’s knee including which side. He showed up as not practicing Tuesday following the Lions game which makes it difficult to determine what exactly he did. He has not practiced since and it is hard to speculate what he is dealing with without further information. I do not believe he will play Saturday.
Harrison Phillips (left knee)
Phillips continues to be out following his knee injury early on against the Bears. He was seen walking in a sleeve on the sidelines Thursday though not participating in any drills. Based on the video and supported by this angle, I suspect he is dealing with a PCL sprain. These can heal up well on their own and would explain why he did not have a more supportive brace on his knee as the knee is less likely to buckle backwards than forwards with an ACL.
Based on a new angle seen above, it’s possible he could have injured his LCL, he did reach for the back portion of his knee briefly once he got up following the injury, but if that were the case, the recovery time is still similar. Phillips will be one to watch closely but do not expect him to play Saturday.
Dane Jackson (stinger)
Jackson left the Bears game late in the first quarter and was designated as having a stinger. He was reportedly getting an MRI which would confirm or clarify what the training staff is looking at clinically.
As we have seen with Antonio Williams, this could be a more time intensive injury than stingers usually are. Jackson cannot afford to miss anytime as DC Leslie Frazier said that the battle for CB2 is still neck and neck. I do not expect him to play Saturday.
Marquez Stevenson (right foot)
Stevenson left the game immediately after his electric punt return TD with a right foot injury that required x-rays that were ultimately negative. He was seen in a walking boot on the sidelines but without crutches during the game.
During practice, he was off to the sidelines without a boot and in street clothes Sunday and Tuesday, but returned to practice doing conditioning drills Wednesday. Thursday he was a full go in practice which is exciting to see considering the concern right after the injury.
This is incredibly promising that the foot injury does not appear to be worse than the midfoot sprain I thought he suffered, though it could have been a minor one. It appears Stevenson dodged a bullet for now and is on track to play Saturday, especially considering McKenzie is out for the foreseeable future. However, this will be something to watch to make sure it does not linger.
Tommy Doyle (right knee)
Doyle appeared to tweak his knee attempting to stop following Jake Fromm’s sack early in the 3rd quarter before getting it taped up or a brace on to attempt to finish the game. He eventually had to exit the game and was limited Sunday but returned to practice in full later in the week.
While he does need the reps I question how important it is for him to get out there not fully healthy. I expect him to play Saturday.
Spencer Brown (left knee)
Brown appeared to have his leg rolled up on early in the 2nd quarter before ending his day early. He also has returned to practice but on a more limited basis. He has also been observed wearing a sleeve on his knee. Like Doyle, he would benefit from the reps but whether he is fully healthy or not is the big question. I am not certain he plays Saturday.
Treyvon Hester (back)
Hester has been out since late last week with an undisclosed injury that was finally revealed Wednesday. He did not play in the game against the Bears which makes me believe this happened in practice or weight room.
He doesn’t have any publicly reported back injuries in his career, but the hope is that this absence since August 17th is precautionary and not a more pressing issue.
Based on that info, it is simply wait and see as to whether he plays Saturday and his future outlook.
Update: he has since been placed on IRFriday August 27.
Levi Wallace (hip)
Wallace began sitting out this week following the Bears game despite not playing Saturday. This injury also suggests that this was more of a practice injury that the team wants to be conservative about. This could be as simple as a hip pointer injury, muscle strain, or something else entirely. He did some conditioning Thursday with a compression sleeve on his right thigh suggesting that this is the affected side in the video above.
Sean McDermott announced that starters would play Saturday which puts Wallace in the mix. However, not practicing all week really puts into question whether he should. I believe he will see the field briefly Saturday.
Reid Ferguson (back)
This is the first instance that I can recall of Ferguson dealing with a publicly reported injury since I started this back in 2017.
This could be generalized soreness or a minor strain, however the team has not made any moves to bring in a long snapper for this weekend indicating this is a minor issue. There weren’t any notable instances in the game where Ferguson was appeared to be laboring looking at the film.
He will play Saturday and considering his position and time on the field, roster moves will dictate the severity level of this injury moving forward.
Taron Johnson (right hand)
Johnson missed Wednesday’s practice sporting a cast on his right hand according to multiple reports. He is designated as a hand injury which could mean a multitude of possibilities. He did not play in the Bears game which like all the others on this list of new injuries, suggest that this occurred in practice. The cast also suggests a fracture in either the metacarpals or carpal bones.
Considering his position, he could certainly play through this injury with the cast on and still be effective. This will be something to watch regarding how long he has the cast on; that will shed further light on the potential injury. I’d expect him to play Saturday.
Isaiah McKenzie (left shoulder)
McKenzie was seen at practice sporting a standard sling on his left shoulder following his collision with Jordan Poyer Tuesday. He required an MRI following the hit and updates from Sean McDermott indicate that he is between day-to-day and week-to-week. Usually we see the designation as one or the other, but that wording suggests that they want to see how he responds to rehab. This also means he did not break his collarbone.
Based on the reports out of practice as it occurred, it sounds like this is an AC joint sprain and the MRI was to assess for the severity. However, it can’t be totally ruled out as a labrum issue if he reached out to brace the fall with his arm. My guess was that he was hit so hard unexpectedly that he was unable to brace and hit his shoulder.
If it is indeed his AC joint, then this is the best case scenario with rest and rehab allowing him to get fully healthy rather than trying to play through it like Tremaine Edmunds was forced to last year. I expect him to miss practice for several more days and then begin conditioning, eventually progressing to practicing with a brace for support before they reintroduce him to full contact. He is still very much in play to play Week 1, the next week of practice will be key to watch.
Update: Gafford and Ivie have since been released Friday August 27.
Green Bay Packers notable injuries:
Jordan Love (right shoulder)
Love suffered a right shoulder injury after getting hit from behind that caused a fumble. This occurred in the first preseason game against the Houston Texans back on August 14th. This Saturday will be two weeks since the injury and despite the MRI coming back clean, the team still was conservative in his return to the practice field.
He appears on track to play and get considerable time on Saturday.
Za’Darius Smith (back)
Smith has been dealing with a back injury that initially led him to start camp on the NFI list, but even after getting activated early last week, he still has not been able to do much. Considering this has been lasting for at least a month, this has become a chronic issue that I would be concerned that this could be a disc issue that may need further treatment or surgery.
There are concerns that he will not be ready for Week 1 which indicates that he will not see the field Saturday.
David Bakhtiari (knee-PUP)
Bakhtiari still is recovering from his late season ACL tear just prior to the playoffs. He is still on PUP as he rehabs and the Packers are slow playing this to ensure he is 100 percent. He’s at a weird spot in that he could be activated to be on the roster any day now and play Week 1, or the team keeps him on PUP and he won’t be activated until after Week 6.
He obviously won’t play Saturday, but it will be interesting if they try to push Bakhtiari or let him continue rehabbing until midseason.
Once again, hoping for no injuries. This article is proof that we don’t need any additional injuries. The Bills starters will be playing at some point early in the game, but I hope they exit early and the sooner the game ends, win or lose, the better. The team will have several days to figure out who makes the roster and then corresponding roster moves. Several injuries including Phillips, McKenzie, Sweeney, and potentially several others will force the Bills into some hard decisions Tuesday.