Bills Season Injury Review- Wide Receivers

2018 Bills season review at the Wide Receiver position including injuries & who is likely to make the roster in 2019.

The 2018 Buffalo Bills WR corps weren’t expected to light up the NFL in any fashion but did have several bright spots from young contributors from which the team can possibly build off of going into 2019. Today’s article will review all the injuries sustained during the 2018 season at the wide receiver position.

A total of 12 players suited up for the Bills throughout the season with varying degrees of success. The total wide receiver statistics were: 149 receptions on 290 targets for 1,989 yards and 11 TD’s. While these stats do not jump off the page, they do represent the wide variety of talent on the roster and will identify who is likely to come back next year.

The first players that will be addressed will be veteran players who suited up for the team but have since been released for a variety of reasons and are unlikely to see 2019 in a Bills uniform. Those included are: WR Jeremy Kerley, WR Terrelle Pryor, WR Andre Holmes, and WR Kelvin Benjamin. Starting off with Kerley, he saw action in one game for the Bills this season before his eventual release. He was initially released to provide DT depth moving forward with plans to bring him back into the fold, but that never materialized. Kerley’s stats were as follows: 1 game, 4 targets for 2 receptions and 7 yards and 0 TD’s. He did not suffer any injuries and is not a player that is expected back next season.

WR Terrelle Pryor spent the first part of the season with the NY Jets and was released due to a groin injury. Once healthy, he was quickly signed by Buffalo appearing in 2 games with 1 rushing attempt for -1 yard, 8 targets for 2 receptions for 17 yards and 0 TD’s. He is also another veteran that did not suffer any injuries while in Buffalo and will not find himself on the Buffalo sideline in 2019.

WR Andre Holmes spent the entire 2017 season with the Bills and part of 2018 until his release late in the season. In the 12 games he appeared in, he started 3 and was targeted 23 times for 12 receptions for 157 yards and 0 TD’s. He was eventually released and picked up by Denver and played sparingly for them until an ankle injury forced him to IR. During his time with the Bills, he did suffer a neck injury that did not force him to miss anytime this year but he has had neck injuries in the past; 2017 saw his season end due to a neck injury. It is possible the Bills could take a look at him during free agency, but unlikely as he is no longer productive and is getting older.

Finally, WR Kelvin Benjamin, the receiver that is one Popeye’s biscuit away from a TE according to Booger McFarland. The much maligned wideout suffered a knee injury and brutal hit to the head during this season that did not force him to miss any games. Despite being available every week, appearing in 12 games and starting 10, Benjamin was only able to amass 62 targets for 23 receptions for 354 yards and 1 TD. The overall lack of production along with many instances in where he did not go all out on plays or fight for contested balls led to his eventual release where he was quickly picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs. However, he was found to be a non-factor in the playoffs and his season ended in the AFC championship game not even seeing one snap. Unless the Bills build a Chick-Fil-A in the team facility, there is no way Benjamin will come back to Buffalo and as a result, the Bills are far better off without him.

Next up is young receivers who could make the roster based on strong training camps in 2019 who include: WR Cam Phillips, WR Da’Mari Scott, WR Victor Boldin, and WR Ray-Ray McCloud.

WR Cam Phillips appeared in 2 games hauling in his only target for 1 reception for 9 yards and 0 TD’s. While his playing time was severely limited this year, it appeared as though the coaching staff were enamored by his abilities which led them to keep him on the practice squad after his initial release from the active roster. He may be a quality depth/special teams player going into the 2019 season and as he did not have any injuries, makes for an attractive, cost effective option moving forward at WR.

WR Da’Mari Scott appeared in 3 games for the Bills after spending most of the season on the practice squad for the Cleveland Browns. While Scott did not record any stats during his time with the Bills, he did contribute to several offensive plays and special teams. Like Phillips, he may be a quality depth/special teams player that the front office wants to keep around going into next season if he has a strong training camp.

WR Victor Bolden was another late season addition to the roster after spending most of his season with the 49ers. Like Scott, he did not produce any offensive stats, only receiving 5 kick returns for a total of 116 yards. Based on what the front office sees in him, he could be another option on special teams moving forward until they find higher quality players.

WR Ray-Ray McCloud was a surprise addition to the roster at the beginning to the season following a knee sprain during the Bears preseason game that forced him to miss 2 games as a result. He was able to come back after fully healing and spent most of his time on special teams appearing in 10 games, starting 1. He had 2 attempts for 4 yards rushing to go along wit 6 targets for 5 receptions for 36 yards. As he was a 6th round pick that did not produce when it counted, he may be a player who has to fight in training camp in order to secure a job next season. I see him as a strong possibility to return but buried on the WR depth chart or relegated to primarily special teams.

Others that saw time at the WR position this season in a limited role was WR Deonte Thompson. The veteran receiver spent time with Buffalo last year before returning after a stint with the Dallas Cowboys. During his time in Buffalo, he appeared in 5 games, starting 2. He was targeted 10 times for 3 receptions and 37 yards with 0 TD’s. He dealt with an Achilles strain shortly after he rejoined the team that did not force him to miss any games. Unfortunately, he later suffered a toe injury in the loss to the Patriots in Week 16 which caused him to miss the season finale. I had suspected that he suffered turf toe or a plantar plate injury which would cause him to miss time but as it was the season finale, the team elected to not dress him and shut him down for the year. That injury moving forward would not affect him going into 2019, however, due to his veteran status and lack of production this year, he may be a candidate that the Bills let hit free agency knowing there’s cheaper options after the draft.

Next is the 3 players that made the most impact in the and are certain to make the roster next year. First up is WR Robert Foster. The UDFA burst onto the Bills roster after an up and down training camp appearing in 13 games with 3 starts garnering 44 targets for 27 receptions and 541 yards with 3 TD’s. Along with the unexpected production, Foster did suffer several injuries including very hard shots to the head/neck area and thigh region that thankfully were not serious.

The most significant injury Foster suffered was what appeared to be a thumb injury in the win over the Jets midway through the season which may have been a dislocated thumb. He exited the game briefly but was able to return with a possible thumb spica and gloves to finish the game. This thumb injury was most likely his most serious injury but should not have any long term impact going into next season. Considering the type of relationship that Foster developed with QB Josh Allen, he appears to be a lock on this roster moving forward.

WR Isaiah McKenzie was incredibly productive after being picked up on waivers from the Denver Broncos midway through the season. He appeared in 7 games with 1 start demonstrating versatility with 10 rushing attempts for 66 yards and 2 TD’s to go along with 30 targets for 18 receptions for 179 yards and 0 TD’s. McKenzie appeared to suffer several serious injuries that required the use of the gator to remove him from the field this season but none of the injuries were even remotely serious. He suffered a toe injury in practice back in December that did not appear to affect his mobility in anyway followed by minor ankle tweaks and cramping in his calf which brought on initial fears of an Achilles tear. Thankfully this was not the case, but due to the violent nature of the game, he got banged up pretty good. However, McKenzie should be able to rest up and prepare his body for another year of pro football and build off his excellent 2018 season.

Finally, the most productive receiver on the Bills this year, WR Zay Jones. He appeared in all 16 games for 15 starts with 102 targets, 56 receptions and 652 yards with 7 TD’s. While at times he was streaky with his production, he took a big step forward in both his statistics and health, avoiding the injury report all together this season after a trying off-season in which he got his labrum in his shoulder repaired along with a bizarre incident in LA which resulted in him cutting his knee open trying to kick through a glass window. That knee injury along with the resulting surgeries did slow his participation in the preseason but he quickly was able to come to form during the regular season. He began to show flashes of why he was able to leave college as the NCAA career leader in receptions and will hopefully be able to build off this going into 2019.

Overall, the wide receiver position will have significant turnover with only Jones, McKenzie, and Foster as locks to return in 2019. Phillips, Scott, Boldin, and McCloud are all practice squad or depth options moving forward, but we have seen every preseason someone make that next leap forward as in the case of Foster. In addition, the Bills signed WR Duke Williams out of the CFL to help shore up the WR corps going into training camp. I believe that the WR position is something that will be addressed somewhat in free agency but will be further addressed in the draft. While there are tempting targets early in the 1st round along with big fish in free agency with Antonio Brown and Golden Tate, I believe Brandon Beane when he says they will be judicious and avoid some of the flashy moves that have put the Bills in a bad spot in years past.

Continue to check back for the latest updates and news coming out of One Bills Drive. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills, and online at www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 14 Bills Injury Preview- Jets II

Assessing the latest Bills injuries including Taron Johnson’s shoulder surgery and Jason Croom’s groin prior to the Jets game.

This has been one of the more busier weeks of the Bills season as the front office is demonstrating “The Process” with moves preparing the team for 2019. If you’ve been under a rock, the team released WR Kelvin Benjamin & WR Andre Holmes, signing CB Denzel Rice & DE Mike Love from the practice squad, and placing C Russell Bodine on injured reserve as the result of a fibula fracture during last week’s game. With all this upheaval along with several injuries, this leaves many questions going into the Week 14 match up against the Jets. As one may fondly recall, the Bills absolutely destroyed the Jets 41-10 in their Week 11 match up behind an effective performance by QB Matt Barkley. This time around, it will be QB Josh Allen vs QB Sam Darnold with both teams jockeying to avoid the AFC East cellar. Today’s post will identify the injuries going into the game and how things may shake out.

Those already ruled out are QB Derek Anderson (concussion) and CB Taron Johnson (shoulder). Anderson continues to be limited indicating he is in stage 3-4 of the concussion protocol. I’m waiting for the other foot to drop and he gets placed on IR. At this point, he is taking a roster spot for someone else but his tutelage of Allen appears to be the reason he is still active despite not playing.

Johnson suffered a dislocated shoulder resulting in a torn labrum in his right shoulder during Week 1. He has since then re-injured the shoulder several times, missing only one game right after the initial injury along with wearing a shoulder harness to limit recurrence. He had been reportedly been in a non-contact jersey the past several weeks, giving his shoulder the rest and protection it required to get through the season until the Bills were officially eliminated from the playoffs. As a result, Johnson had successful shoulder surgery on Tuesday to repair his labrum and has since announced his season is done. I am not sure why the Bills are hesitating to place him on injured reserve; this may be due to a contract issue which we as fans are not privy to. The shoulder labrum recovery is a ~6-9 month recovery which will allow Johnson to ready for OTA’s in May-June at least in a limited fashion and fully healthy by training camp. To read more about the surgery that Johnson had, make sure to check out my article on WR Zay Jones who had the same procedure last year with great success.

Listed as doubtful is TE Jason Croom (groin). Upon video review, Croom doesn’t appear to have one play in where he injured his groin. He did not have any targets during the game but was involved in 35% of the offensive snaps and was playing until the final offensive series. Based on the knowledge we have, this appears to be a mild strain and the team is being proactive, allowing him to heal completely before rushing him back onto the field. We have seen most of the muscle strains this season result in minimum 1 game missed and this is no exception. I believe that this is a Grade 1 strain with Croom having the ability to return next week fully healthy. As he is listed as doubtful, most players listed as doubtful do not even play. In the event that he is active, he will likely be limited in offensive packages and used more likely as a decoy. Regardless of status, he should not play.

Listed as questionable is WR Isiah McKenzie (toe). Reports indicated that McKenzie injured his toe late in practice Thursday and was limited Friday, making him officially questionable for the game Sunday. Fortunately, publications state that he feels as though he will be able to go on Sunday which is a good thing as the Bills are expected to only have 5 WR’s available. My suspicion is that he sprained his great toe running a route pushing off too hard or pivoting. It is possible to injure the other toes on the foot, but when it comes to running, the great toe is essential for effective push off required for sprinting. He is truly a questionable decision, but considering the personnel available and his thoughts in the article, I expect that he plays.

G John Miller (oblique) is coming off a strained oblique suffered in the win over the Jaguars. He missed last week but is able to return which fits the timeline regarding muscle strains; I had suspected that he would miss 1-2 games based on the location. There is possibility to re-injure the area, but I would not consider the risk to be significantly greater than when he originally sustained the injury.

Those injured earlier during the Miami game that did not appear on the injury report were LB Tremaine Edmunds (knee/ankle) and S Jordan Poyer (finger). While they may be dealing with some soreness, this was not enough to warrant an injury report slot. Expect both to be key players to slow the Jets offense.

While the Bills are slowly losing players to injured reserve as the season winds down, most starters continue to stay healthy or at least available in order to help the team finish strong over these last 4 games. I believe the Bills will be able to finish this season with a 6-10 or 7-9 record. The big question marks I have are this upcoming Jets game and maybe the second Dolphins game. A 7-9 record would be a great finish after such a terrible start to the season. There’s a lot of promise on this team going into next year, we just have to see how the draft and free agency play to our favor. I believe the Bills will complete the season sweep of the Jets to move to 5-8.

Continue to follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills, and online at www.bangedupbills.com for the latest injury news and updates coming out of One Bills Drive. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 10 Bills Injury Review- Jets

Analyzing the latest Bills injuries following the beat down of the Jets and how the roster looks going into the bye.

This team, one week you’re ready to swear them off for good, next week, can’t get enough. What a complete win by the Bills over the Jets 41-10 to move to 3-7 sliding into the much needed bye week! There are so many positives coming out Sunday’s game, I will leave that to the pundits who know football more than I do to diagram the X’s and O’s. It was a fun win and reassures me that there is talent on the team, the coaching staff does have a plan, and hopefully next year they begin to bring personnel in to turn their grand plans into solid results. However, I am always here to assess the injuries sustained in the blowout and how they affect the Bills going into the Jaguars game two weeks from now.

Going in chronological order of injuries, starting off with WR Robert Foster (thumb). The rookie wide out sustained some type of left thumb injury early in the 1st quarter which required an assessment by trainers. At one point he was questionable to return, eventually returning to haul a huge pass from QB Matt Barkley in the 3rd quarter and finish with 105 yards on the day. As to the specific injury, he may have suffered a dislocated thumb.  He was observed going to the locker room with a trainer stabilizing the left hand at the carpometacarpal joint which is the lower portion of the thumb that connects to the wrist. While that does sound nasty, it is relatively minor. My guess is he somehow injured it on the fake punt play, it appeared he may have hit his thumb against a Jets defender coming down with the ball or he suffered it where there is no video available. In the event of a thumb dislocation, the thumb would be reduced and put back into place, he would be fitted with a thumb spica which is a small brace which would allow him some mobility to the area but reduce further injury. Foster was wearing gloves on both of his hands which prevent us from identifying if there is bracing under for support next time we got a close up. As he was able to return to the game, the week off should be good enough to allow him to heal effectively.

DE Jerry Hughes suffered a right knee injury during a tackle in the backfield and was able to walk off midway through the 2nd quarter. Upon review, he was pivoting up on his toe and rotating to the left, the mechanism suggested a minor MCL sprain but Hughes was observed jumping around and shaking his knee out, also grabbing at the front of the knee. He also did come down hard on the knee which then we are considering a contusion to the area which would explain the limping. Either way, he was able to return and continue to provide pressure on QB Josh McCown all day. The injury appeared to be minor and something that does not concern me moving forward.

CB Taron Johnson (shoulder) exited the game once again midway in the 2nd quarter and did not return. It appears that he suffered a re-aggravation of his right shoulder injury he has been dealing with all season. It is quite possible he subluxed the shoulder once again despite bracing to the affected area, though I was not able to see him wearing it Sunday. He suffered the injury on a hard tackle midway through the second quarter, tackling the offensive player with his left shoulder, and coming down hard on his right. After the play he was able to move it around, giving several high fives after shaking it out briefly. Interestingly, despite the upbeat activity after the play, Johnson did not return to the game which makes me suspect a subluxation as there is already laxity in the joint from previous injury. This means that less force is required to disrupt the joint, leading to easier and easier injures. This is something that he has experienced previously and may require rest and rehab in order to get ready for Week 12. It may be realistic that the Bills shut him down later this season if he continues to re-injure the area so that he can have surgery and be ready for OTA’s.

OG John Miller suffered what appeared to be a right knee injury on the scoring play by WR Zay Jones late in the 3rd quarter. Video is limited but he was pancaked and rolled back onto his own leg, appearing to twist his knee going down. He was able to walk off with a minor limp but yet another injury that does not appear to be serious. In the event that he needs to sit out any time, the coaching staff have been working in additional lineman to find the right scheme fits to spring the running game which appeared to be the case Sunday.

The most serious injury of the day is LB Matt Milano (head). The stalwart linebacker suffered a hard hit early in the 4th quarter that snapped his neck to the left upon contact with Milano going down instantly. It is unknown whether he lost consciousness but he was eventually able to stand up and enter the medical tent. On broadcast and initially getting up, he was favoring his left arm which may indicate that he suffered a stinger based on how he hit and the angle of his head/neck upon impact, but the more concerning injury is the blow to the head. He was eventually brought to the locker room for further evaluation but looking at video, there is cause for concern with a concussion. Whether he actually sustained one is not known yet, but in the event that he did, he will enter the concussion protocol as QB Derek Anderson is currently working through. Time will tell how he responds and hopefully he is cleared as he is having another standout season after a stellar rookie campaign.

Those that were questionable today going into the game were LB Tremaine Edmunds (concussion) and WR Andre Holmes (neck). Both appeared to play with full effectiveness and did not appear to be limited in their availability during Sunday’s win. I do not anticipate that they will continue to deal with their recent complaints and use the bye to rest up.

Overall, the Bills are in good shape going into the bye. While they are missing a lot of starters now, everyone with the exception of QB Derek Anderson appear to be ready to come back 100%. After the performance of QB Matt Barkley, there is question whether he should continue playing or to hand the reins over to QB Josh Allen. If Allen is 100%, play him and see what he can do. If there is any lingering issues which are possible considering the injury, rest him until he has no complaints or concerns. Barkley will eventually get figured out by opposing defenses which supports the idea that Allen should start, but at least the Bills have options moving forward. Personally, I would like to see Barkley or Allen starting Week 12 against the Jaguars, Anderson tutoring Allen as the 3rd QB, and QB Nathan Peterman cut and brought back on the practice squad to develop and be available if things go south.

As a fan, I am looking forward to having a week off from football. I do love the Bills, but they are mentally fatiguing at times and we all need rest. I suggest you all do the same. Over here at Banged Up Bills, continue to look for new content to help gear up for the remainder of the season. Feel free to ask questions or engage in discussions, I want you, the reader, to learn and understand these injuries so that you are a more educated fan and not a mindless lemming that is confused by clueless media reports regarding the health of the Buffalo Bills.

Continue to follow for the latest news and updates coming out of One Bills Drive. Follow on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Facebook at Banged Up Bills, on Reddit u/BangedUpBills, and online at www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 10 Bills Injury Preview- Jets & Why Josh Allen Shouldn’t Play

Read the latest Bills injury prior to the Jets game including why Josh Allen shouldn’t play this week despite being listed as questionable.

The bye is rapidly approaching and the Bills are welcoming it with open arms. Over the past month, injuries have been rapidly piling on, the team is on a 4 game losing streak, and analysts openly questioning whether the Bills could even beat Alabama in a theoretical match up. As fans, while we do support our team though thick and thin, we need a break. Having a showdown against a Jets team that is also having a down season could allow the Bills to secure their 3rd win and rest up for the final 6 games to gain some respectability going into 2019. Today’s article will detail the injuries going into the Week 10 showdown, why QB Josh Allen shouldn’t play, and how things may look after the bye.

Those already ruled out of the Jets game include QB Derek Anderson (concussion), TE Charles Clay (right hamstring), and DE Trent Murphy (right knee). The veteran QB Anderson is still working his way back from a concussion suffered in the MNF loss and has been unable to practice since then. As we have no video of his presence in practice, I can only assume that he is still in Stage 1-2 of the concussion protocol. This would mean that he’s still not at baseline cognitive testing or if he is, he would be in stage 2 which would be a light aerobic graded exercise program which is possibly still bringing on symptoms. It has been noted he has been working with trainers off to the side, but that has been the extent of his activity so far. Until he is able to tolerate his exercise program, he will not be able to progress in his protocol. It is too early to tell whether he will end on IR with his concussion but it is not trending in the right direction.

Murphy is missing his 3rd straight game with a right MCL knee sprain suffered late in the loss to the Colts. While he has not practiced since the injury, it is expected that he is rehabbing daily and working hard to return to the field. The team is taking it slow with his recovery as he has dealt with a multitude of injuries since training camp and do not want to experience further serious injury. When healthy, he is effective, but he must rehab properly in order to be available. Barring any setbacks or unknown information, he should be back after the bye for the final stretch of the season.

Clay is ruled out due to suffering a right hamstring injury early in the 1st quarter of the loss to the Bears. He appeared to tweak his hamstring decelerating, then attempting to change direction, eventually limping off the field. While it is difficult to identify the severity of the hamstring strain on video, it appears to be minor as he did have it stretched out and at one point have his helmet on during the game, implying that he may have wanted to return. As a precaution, not practicing all week along with the bye should allow him to return fully healthy.

To note, WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) appeared on the injury report with a knee injury but was limited only Wednesday, but practiced in full Thursday & Friday. He did suffer a shot to the right knee in the Bears game but only sat out 1-2 plays before returning. This does not appear to be anything more than soreness and should not be a factor in his abilities to play this weekend.

Those ruled questionable are: RB Chris Ivory (left shoulder), WR Andre Holmes (neck), LB Tremaine Edmunds (concussion), and QB Josh Allen (right elbow). Reviewing injuries, Ivory suffered a separated shoulder or AC joint sprain during a failed goal line plunge in the 4th quarter and was ruled out the remainder of the game. While Ivory was limited the past 2 days, it does not appear that he should be ready to take the brutal hits of the NFL. Plus, being limited in practice on Friday is typically not a good sign to play Sunday.

Holmes was dealing with a neck injury that was not apparent in Sunday’s game but it worth noting that he suffered a neck injury that sent him to IR at the end of last season. There was nothing on video that stood out so it is rather difficult to identify specifics of his malady. This may be an injury we have to watch moving forward and see if it limits his reps or abilities on the field. However, the fact that he was able to practice in full the past two days indicates that this may be a minor injury and should suit up come Sunday.

Edmunds is dealing with a concussion suffered at some point in the first half of the MNF game against the Patriots. He did take several shots to the head, most notably against FB James Develin which may have brought on a delayed response in concussion symptoms. As he did not practice last week and was limited this week, he is truly a questionable decision as he will need to be cleared by an independent neurologist before returning to the field. He has been practicing without a red jersey which prohibits contact which is a good sign but no guarantee for clearance. I would estimate that he is in stage 5 of the concussion protocol but has not been cleared yet. We have seen concussions cleared the day before or day of the game such as in the recent case of RB LeSean McCoy. This will truly be a game time decision and whether he clears protocol.

Finally, QB Josh Allen as we all know, injured his right throwing elbow during the Texans game. His absence during the past 3 games along with his rehab has been intensely scrutinized on when he will be ready to return and how he will perform. It was only this week that he began throwing, albeit with a brace and on a limited basis. During the limited video available, he was making a variety of throws around the field which is fantastic to see. However, while he does appear to be ahead of schedule with his rehab, it does not mean that returning to game play ahead of schedule is always recommended. We hear all the time how this player and that player are doing well in their recovery and ahead of schedule. We hear timelines with recovery from injury and always expect to take the under on weeks for them to return. As fans, we then get upset when they’re not back by what could be perceived as unrealistic outcomes for that player as every injury is unique.

Most protocols do state that this particular injury takes 6-10 weeks to heal, much less play at full efficiency. Coming off the bye will be 6 full weeks of recovery. While I have stated he appears ahead of schedule due to his throwing program, this doesn’t mean he is ready to fully play. He does have the advantage of highly skilled doctors, physical therapists, and athletic trainers treating him daily which may explain why is moving faster plus his youthful age does help.

Despite performing the ability to throw and go through all his motions, Allen still has not completed a full practice which means he has not gone game speed consistently. We have also have not seen him throw without a brace which currently provides stability and compression to the affected area. Most players do not want to wear any bracing on game day as it affects their movement. The bracing that he is currently wearing in practice would be limiting the ability to naturally move during throwing and could alter his throwing mechanics if he plays long term with it on. Rushing back into the game with a brace may do more harm than good as he may perceive that he is protected from injury from the brace and do more than he should.

From a therapist perspective, it is important to load the injured area and slowly stress the tissues to build up tolerance towards the activity before going full speed. Going too hard, too fast can and does lead to further injury. At this point in his healing process, he would not severely damage the ligament with his current activities unless he were to sustain similar trauma such as the original injury or a fall onto the elbow or outstretched arm, both of which are uncontrollable at game speed. Unfortunately, he could irritate the still healing ligament in his elbow or injure other areas of his arm attempting to compensate for the elbow if he returns too soon. This could lead to a potentially chronic complaint rather than the acute injury that it is currently.

He would benefit from another two weeks off, his body will be two weeks healthier and stronger to withstand the demands of his position to reduce his injury risk. If this were not his throwing elbow, he would have been back much sooner. As a physical therapist, I would want to see that he can make all his throws, that he can make the throws without bracing, that he has no pain up to several days after throwing, and that he has no compensation patterns as a result of the injury. I would also want to see consistency in all areas over a set timeline. One day things can look great, another day, it can be awful. In the video above, we may have just seen a great day; we’re typically not privy to the bad days during practice. At this point in time, there is just too many questions surrounding his abilities and a full week of participation in practice would prove that he’s ready to come back 100%.

This is already a lost season and rushing the future of the franchise out there in meaningless games does nothing for Allen. This would be a prime way to ruin a young quarterbacks development and set the stage to rush back from future injuries before he really understands how his body recovers from injury at the NFL level. I believe the Bills only listed Allen as questionable was due to the public relations angle plus forcing the Jets to consider game planning for him which may get them to overthink their strategy. Just because he looks good, doesn’t mean he is good yet. I expect the Bills to roll out their 4th starting quarterback of the season in QB Matt Barkley with QB Nathan Peterman as backup with a heavy emphasis on the running attack by RB LeSean McCoy & Co.

To add facts on facts, so far through Week 9, 53% of players listed as questionable on game day have been ruled inactive by the Bills. So based on those listed as questionable this week, theoretically, just over half will be ruled inactive; my bets are Ivory and Allen. Edmunds is a wildcard and could go either way but I’m leaning towards him playing. Based on what we know about everyone’s respective injuries, the extra week of rest during the bye will allow everyone in today’s article to come back to play in the Jaguars contest. As for the game prediction, I believe the Bills will get a much needed win over the Jets, moving to 3-7 which will allow them to regroup for the rest of the season.

This wraps up another Bills injury preview here at Banged Up Bills. Continue to follow for the latest updates and news coming out of One Bills Drive. Follow on Facebook at Banged Up Bills, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit u/BangedUpBills, and online at http://www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- WR

Assessing the WR corps injuries sustained this season and impact for next season.

Continuing with the off-season coverage of Buffalo Bills position review, today’s post reviews the WR position. As other posts have shown, no position is immune from injury and lots of analysis continues. A total of 7 wide receivers suited up at the position for the team this season with a variety of outcomes this season. First up is WR Kaelin Clay who came over from the Carolina Panthers in a trade during training camp. Clay did not stay long as he saw 4 targets for 1 reception totaling 28 yards. He was shortly released afterward and reclaimed by Carolina. During his time in Buffalo, he did suffer a foot and back injury which possibly contributed to his lack of productivity but did not cause him to miss time. As he returned to Carolina, finding his way back to Buffalo unlikely anytime soon.

WR Brandon Tate saw most of his playing time during special teams in the return game. Tate’s limited playing time at the position saw him targeted 14 times for 6 receptions totaling 81 yards and 1 TD. Thankfully, Tate did not suffer any injuries this season. The 9th year pro’s value remains at the special team position and with his lack of recent injury history remains an appealing target to bring back with his versatility.

WR Andre Holmes became a steady player after coming from the Raiders last season. While he has career low as a regular player totaling 13 receptions for 120 yards and 3 TD’s, he was still a key depth player, appearing in 14 games. Holmes was limited around Thanksgiving with an ankle injury that he was able to play through. Unfortunately, the 7th year veteran suffered a neck injury which sent him to injured reserve. It is undetermined what type of neck injury Holmes dealt with. Neck injuries are a hot button in Buffalo at the moment with C Eric Wood forced to end his playing career and former S Aaron Williams announcing his retirement shortly after. My educated guess is that Holmes strained several muscles in his neck and wasn’t responding well to treatment, forcing the team shut him down. He still has 2 years left on a 3 year contract at an affordable rate which allows the Bills to bring him back for depth. Pending his neck injury, he should find his way onto New Era Field next season.

Next up is WR Deonte Thompson. The 8th year pro was quite productive after coming over to the Bills after being cut by Chicago earlier in the season. Playing in 11 games, he was able to snag 27 receptions for 430 yards and 1 TD. While none of these numbers are eye popping, the receivers as a whole were down due to QB Tyrod Taylor’s limited passing abilities. Thompson suffered several injuries throughout the season including an ankle injury sustained during the Chargers loss in which he attempted to catch a ball while going out of bounds. Towards the end of the season Thompson suffered a nondescript back injury during the first Patriots game. He then suffered a shoulder injury that was either identified later in the week or injured in practice which placed him on the injury report but did not cause any time missed. As Thompson is getting older and a unrestricted free agent, roster turnover will determine if he returns. As he earned the veteran minimum for his experience, he may command more money in free agency but an affordable option to bring back for next season.

Assessing the receivers who have some injury questions for next season include WR Jordan Matthews. The 5th year pro suffered a series of injuries that eventually landed him on IR for the end of the season. Starting off, Matthews sustained a chip fracture during the first practice after he was acquired in a trade with Philadelphia. The chip fracture limited his ability to participate during the preseason but he was able to return to start the season. After getting used to the offense, Matthews sustained a thumb fracture during the crucial win over the Falcons. Matthews only missed one week and was able to return far faster than anyone had expected. This is another injury that will not cause any issues next season.

However, Matthews’ knee landed him on IR and while there is not one particular injury that landed him there, it may have been a recurrence of knee tendonitis he was dealing with during the early parts of training camp when he was still with the Eagles. This knee injury may determine how much he can command on the open market. His stats for the season included 27 receptions for 282 yards and 1 TD may limit his bargaining power considering he is in the same class as former Bill Sammy Watkins, along with Odell Beckham Jr., & Mike Evans. Considering his contemporaries, he could command more money than what the Bills are willing to pay and I expect the front office to move on from Matthews.

WR Zay Jones suffered an up and down rookie season which is not uncommon for a new player to the NFL. Unfortunately, expectations may have been set too high as he came out of college as the all time leader in receptions which did not initially translate well to the NFL. Jones’ stats were similar to other receivers on the team with 27 receptions for 316 yards and 2 TD’s. A slow start to the season along with several now known injuries were contributing factors to his lackluster season. Jones suffered an low ankle sprain which had appeared to be a severe knee injury during the Jets game. Thankfully, his knee hyperextended and his ankle absorbed the brunt of the force causing the sprain. This did not force him to miss additional games outside of some plays in an ugly loss to the Jets.

The unknown injury that came out after the season in an interview with Zay’s father revealed a torn labrum in what was possibly his left shoulder. He did appear on the injury report during the last week of October but this did not force him to miss anytime. My article on his injury appears here, please take the time to read. He has since had successful surgery to fix the tear and should be back in time for the regular season. He will continue to be an integral piece of the offense and production should increase if the QB position improves.

Finally, WR Kelvin Benjamin was the biggest acquisition by the Bills this season of unexpected trades. Upon arriving to Buffalo, Benjamin never really took off, injuring his knee in his 2nd game against the Chargers which resulted in a partially torn meniscus. Missing 2 games to rehab and recover, he was able to return against the Colts and play through the injury for the rest of the season. His production, 16 receptions for 217 yards for 1 TD, was limited as expected but playing through the injury did not cause further injury. He has since had successful knee surgery to shave down the partial tear and will be able to return in time for OTA’s. As for injury risk next year, his previous ACL tear is more of a long term concern to re-injure than the meniscus tear. Benjamin will be back next year and pending salary cap ramifications, I hope the Bills find a way to keep him long term.

The Bills WR corps will look different next year with the exception of Jones, Holmes, and Benjamin. There is the possibility of Thompson coming back along with futures contracts of WR Malachi Dupre, WR Quan Bray, and preseason favorites WR Brandon Reilly and WR Rod Streater. In addition, the Bills also had WR Jeremy Butler on injured reserve due to a concussion during the preseason. The Bills are building something to create more stability in the offense and give either QB Tyrod Taylor or whoever the new Bills QB will be more weapons to energize the offense and build off the anemic passing offense of 2017.

Continue to check back with me regarding injury updates and news coming out of One Bills Drive. Thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 16 Recap- Patriots II

Assessing injuries observed following the Patriots game including Travaris Cadet’s ankle injury.

The Bills are still in the playoff hunt! Despite losing to the New England Patriots 37-16 Sunday, the Bills still have a very realistic shot at ending the long suffering playoff drought. With a win at Miami along with a Ravens loss to Cincinnati, or losses by the Chargers to the Raiders and Titans to the Jaguars, the Bills can enter the playoffs with an actual shot at winning the Super Bowl! While it is an incredible long shot, just making the playoffs is a step in the right direction. Regardless of the playoff implications, players continue to get injured leading to constant changes to the roster.

The only major injury sustained during Sunday’s game was to RB Travaris Cadet with a gruesome ankle dislocation/fracture. This occurred during a routine play late in the 2nd quarter in which he got wrapped around as he tackled while his foot got caught up underneath. The play ended with Cadet lying on his stomach with his ankle lying at an unnatural 90 degrees to the right. While not surprising, Cadet did suffer a dislocation and fracture to the right ankle which landed him on IR for the rest of the season.

During a dislocation of the ankle, the foot becomes dislodged from the area that articulates with the tibia/fibula and is pulled out of alignment. Due to the forces associated with this injury along with the rotational forces in play, the outside portion of the ankle (lateral malleolus) which is the bottom portion of the fibula broke. Had he solely dislocated like former Bills CB Ronald Darby during the season opener, he may have been able to return at a later date in the playoffs. As it was fractured, he is done for the season. While on the field, he has his ankle relocated and placed into a compression sleeve to maintain stability and manage swelling. He will require surgery to stabilize the fibula with the use of a plate and screws while assessing for any other damage. As there are so many variations of types and location for the hardware to be placed, it is difficult to obtain an accurate picture to the procedure he is going to have. He should be able to make a full recovery for 2018 to continue to build off the solid season he had this year.

Others injured during the game included WR Deonte Thompson (back) and CB Micah Hyde (abdomen/chest). Thompson was hit from behind early in the 2nd quarter and had to leave the field from several plays. He was eventually able to return but would be expected to end up on the injury report on Wednesday. Hyde managed to tackle TE Rob Gronkowski late in the 3rd quarter and got a hard heel to the chest/abdomen area. Hyde appeared in acute distress but was able to return. It appeared as though he had the wind knocked out of him but was able to return.

Other injuries to note include WR Andre Holmes going to IR due to a lingering neck injury. This injury was sustained during the Colts game and while Holmes was able to play the next week, but at some point aggravated it at which time the team decided that he needed to be shut down. As of right now, it is unknown what occurred to his neck. I continue to maintain that he strained his neck in some fashion and it was not healing as quickly as expected. Up until being ruled inactive this week, he had been involved in ~20% of the offensive plays and ~65% of special teams plays which indicate lack of serious injury. The WR corps was thin at the beginning of the season; it continues to be hurt by injuries but the impact has been limited secondary to the anemic passing game. Hopefully with a better QB next year will allow the receivers to blossom and improve the offense vastly.

The injury report comes out tomorrow as it does every Wednesday and I expect TE Charles Clay (knee), WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), and DT Kyle Williams (groin) to remain on the report but not expected to miss any time. As always, there are new additions but thankfully, the team continues to be relatively healthy with the idea that the team still can make the playoffs.

It is hard to believe this is Week 17 and the Bills are still in the mix. It has been 13 years since they have played a meaningful Week 17 game with playoff implications. There are many things that can happen Sunday, but one thing is clear: this team has talent to contend in the NFL, but it is far away from contending from championships. Even though the AFC is weak this year, 6 teams still have to make the playoffs and the Bills potentially are one of them.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and for those Bills fans that don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you enjoyed your holidays and continue to enjoy this rare playoff push. Whatever comes of Sunday’s game, I can look forward to next season with the idea that the front office and coaching staff have a plan in place to execute and bring the Bills back to glory.

Continue to check back for the latest articles and updates regarding Bills injuries. For breaking news and thoughts on new injuries, follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Bills Injury Breakdown- Patriots

Breaking down the latest Bills injury report & thoughts on E.J. Gaines latest injury.

The Buffalo Bills continue to play meaningful games in December! This is quite the rarity, but something the fan base should and is embracing! Regardless of this week’s outcome, the Bills will not be out of the playoffs which sets up a huge showdown with the Miami Dolphins in Week 17! This is an exciting time to be a Bills fan and hopefully a sign of positive things to come!

Today’s post will assess the injury report prior to the game against the Patriots. To earn a win in Foxboro, the Bills must play mistake free football and have everyone still available healthy. Right now, the latter is a distinct possibility. Those not practicing today are as follows: LB Lorenzo Alexander (rest), WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), CB E.J. Gaines (knee), WR Andre Holmes (neck), TE Nick O’Leary (back), DT Kyle Williams (groin).

Alexander is a seasoned veteran that still puts up solid play at the linebacker position and earns every one of his rest days. Benjamin continues to require extended rest breaks and rehab to manage the pain and swelling that he suffers after each game as a result of the meniscus tear that he will require surgery for at the end of the season. Holmes and Williams continue to deal with their respective injuries that appear to be nothing more than muscle strains which require rest and stretching. O’Leary has been on the injury report earlier this season due to back issues which may be muscle strains as he has had multiple short term complaints rather than a chronic long term issue.

As I stated in my last article, Gaines injured his left knee on a tackle of TE Julius Thomas in the 3rd quarter. After looking at video during coaches film, Gaines was running towards Thomas and had to change direction suddenly. During pivoting on the left knee to go to the right, it appears as though he sprained his left knee as he was able to take one more step and then throw his body into Thomas to knock him out of bounds.

Gaines was carted off the field and tests are still being performed as of today. I suspect a MCL sprain as the primary injury based on video with an ACL/meniscus tears always worst case scenarios. However, had he torn his ACL, that type of news would have been released by now. I suspect that the team is keeping tight lipped so as to not allow teams to game plan as if he doesn’t play. Considering his injury history, I suspect he misses the next game which would be a blow to the secondary as there is an obvious difference when he starts and when he is out.

If Gaines is forced to miss the next game, S Colt Anderson is returning to the roster from IR after breaking his forearm earlier in the season. This is a surprise due to the fact that he saw little playing time when he was healthy and has not made an impact during his time here. However, he provides depth in the secondary and may allow special teams to add a new wrinkle to this week’s game plan.

Those limited in practice are: TE Charles Clay (knee), RB LeSean McCoy (knee), G John Miller (ankle), and WR Deonte Thompson (back). Clay continues to deal with his knee and may forever be listed on the injury report. McCoy continues to take a beating as the workhorse of the offense and while I had originally thought he may be on the report due to a hip, his knee continues to be listed as soreness, though does not appear to limit his ability. McCoy is another player that will require a serious injury to be ruled out.

Miller is still dealing with what I believe to be a high ankle sprain and may be ruled out again on game day. Thompson has seen the injury report several times during the season but is currently dealing with a back injury. It did not appear that an injury forced him out of Sunday’s game, but he took several hard hits that could cause some expected discomfort in the following days.

Finally, those practicing in full are: QB Nathan Peterman (concussion). Peterman continues to bounce back from the concussion in the Colts game and appears to have resolved all issues in order to return to the backup QB position. I do not expect him to play unless QB Tyrod Taylor goes down with another injury at which time he will build off his solid outing against the Colts.

This game against the Patriots doesn’t have the Bills favored, but in the NFL, it’s Any Given Sunday. The Bills have a shot at winning. If they play like they did in the first half of the Patriots game, they have a realistic shot at keeping it close and possibly winning. I believe the coaching staff will bring everything they have in order to win and that includes most of the players on the injury report with the exception of Gaines.

I’m going to boldly predict a Bills win to push them to 9-6 and to the brink of the playoffs! Continue to check back for updates articles injuries as more information is known. Follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88 for the latest updates and game day analysis. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!