Bills Injury Recap- Dolphins & Playoffs

Detailing LeSean McCoy’s ankle injury and impact it has on Sunday’s playoff game.

THE BILLS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS! No this is not a typo, they finally ended The Drought; it is over, dead, gone, finished! This is a wonderful feeling that I’m trying to describe in the written word and it just isn’t quite coming to fruition at this moment. I suppose that my thoughts on The Drought finally ending could be summed up in another article for another time. As for today and every previous article, today’s post will identify injuries sustained in Sunday’s game and impact that they have on Sunday’s playoff game in Jacksonville.

It has been heavily documented and discussed RB LeSean McCoy’s ankle injury sustained in the 3rd quarter of Sunday’s game. It has since been revealed that McCoy sprained his ankle and there may be a possibility that he can play next Sunday. Looking at video, a lateral ankle sprain is pretty consistent with reports. It is difficult to see due to video angles, but as McCoy steps with his right ankle, he is being tackled to the turf. While tackled, his toes are planted in the ground, he is tackled with his body going left. This puts extra torque through the ankle joint, the ankle snapped up off of the turf as a result and he suffers a sprained ankle.

I had some initial thoughts that he fell directly onto the toe/midfoot leading to a sprain of the big toe or turf toe or a Lisfranc sprain of the midfoot. Thankfully, the lateral ankle took the brunt of the injury. This is beneficial because if McCoy is unable to push off his toe or midfoot during running, he would be even more ineffective. McCoy will be limited in lateral movements but with the proper rehab he can play in some fashion Sunday. This rehab includes range of motion stretching, pain/swelling management, light strengthening, and bracing to the area to limit further damage. Based on video, the ankle was injured, but the injury to the ankle appears to be less severe than what it could have been. As I am not the evaluating therapist, I am unable to determine severity so mechanism of injury, video, and knowledge of the area will have to do.

I believe McCoy will play in his biggest game in a Buffalo Bills uniform. I do not anticipate that he will miss the game, but may require a decreased work load to decrease injury and ensure effectiveness during each run. It does help that the field conditions will be ideal for footing and assist in reduction for re-aggravation of his injury. If McCoy is limited, both FB Patrick DiMarco and FB Mike Tolbert are available along with RB Marcus Murphy are able carry the workload. The Bills also recently signed RB Aaron Green to the practice squad to be called up in the event that McCoy does not play.

OT Jordan Mills injured his ankle late in the 2nd quarter during a block where he was forced to backpedal while blocking Cameron Wake. On video replay, he has to take several hard steps backwards and steps awkwardly on his left ankle. There did not appear to be any rolling of the foot inward which rules out a lateral ankle sprain but his foot was planted and his knee buckled in which could result in a inversion sprain or midfoot sprain due to the sudden jarring motion during the forced planting. Mills was unable to return but may also be limited for Sunday’s game. If Mills is unable to go, OT Seantrel Henderson will get the start.

As for other injuries, there does not appear to be any other injuries that should impact the roster ahead of Sunday’s game. I expect to see McCoy and Mills on the injury report along with WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), TE Charles Clay (knee), DT Kyle Williams (groin), WR Deonte Thompson (shoulder/back). All should play without question but no one is close to 100% at this point in the season. With how this season has progressed and the injuries sustained, it will take some serious injuries to keep any of the players out from attempting to play. I do not anticipate any surprises on the injury report tomorrow, but anything can happen.

Look for articles regarding changes in the injury report later this week, my thoughts on ending The Drought, and anything else that I believe is warranted to write about. For the latest updates and game time updates, follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88. As always, thank you for reading, the Bills have finally made the playoffs, and GO BILLS!!

That’s A Wrap!

Assessing the injuries coming out of the 4th preseason game against the Detroit Lions. Breaking down the IR, how it compares to past seasons, and upcoming posts.

The Buffalo Bills won over the Detroit Lions on Thursday night 27-17 behind a strong showing behind Nathan Peterman and company. With that win, Buffalo finishes the preseason 1-3 on a high note and ready for the home opener against the Jets in Week 1. Overall, the Bills continue this preseason by avoiding major injury, allowing them to have some depth going into the regular season. Injuries to note are Jerel Worthy’s concussion at the end of the first quarter which sent him into the concussion protocol for the foreseeable future. Michael Ola sustained an ankle injury in the first half and was unable to return. Besides the previously two mentioned, the rest of the game consisted of bubble players getting final chances at securing their roster spots.

As it was relatively a quiet preseason injury wise for the Bills, there are still some injuries to report. Right after the Lions game, the Bills had to make some hard decisions regarding their roster. As previously mentioned, TE Keith Towbridge was placed on IR with a foot injury back on 8/3/17 and TE Jason Croom was waived with an ankle injury and settlement on 8/18/17. Right now, there are no locks for IR as Michael Ola has been waived/injured, which means he may revert to IR and then released with an injury settlement in several days. I believe this to be the case as Ola had his ankle taped up after his Thursday night injury, possibly attempting to go back in. This would suggest his ankle was sprained and cost him a roster spot as the Bills had what they thought to be enough depth at the position.

Those released with injury settlement were as follows: WR Rod Streater (Toe), S Shamiel Gary (Unknown), WR Jeremy Butler (Concussion), and LB Sam Barrington (Unknown). As previously mentioned, Streater sustained what I believed to be a turf toe injury back against the Eagles. While I still believe it was a Grade II sprain, it may have been too injured to warrant holding a roster spot. Up to that point, Streater was having a solid preseason. He could be eligible to come back later in the season if the Bills run into depth issues, but it is too early to tell.

Butler was a long shot to make the roster, but he sustained what now appears to be a fairly serious concussion back on 8/8/17 and hasn’t fully recovered. Losing reps while recovering most likely cost him a roster spot. It is unknown what stage he is at in the league concussion protocol, but considering he has not been medically cleared yet, he may be still in Phase 1-2. There was little to no information on the nature of Barrington’s or Gary’s injury or when they sustained the injury. I have only been able to find that Gary came out of the Eagles game early but no description of the issue.

As the Bills are still dealing with injuries such as Taylor, Yates, and Worthy in the concussion protocol, along with Dareus’ hip and Glenn’s foot, these should not prevent these players from missing extended time. As the front office continues to shake things up releasing RB Jonathan Williams, LB Gerald Hodges, and WR Philly Brown yesterday, I am pleased to see that they are not having to replace players out of desperation.

These injuries this preseason are a stark contrast to the past several years in which multiple, big name players found their way onto IR or had significant injuries coming into the season. Going back the past several training camps, 2016 saw 10 players start the season on IR with Shaq Lawson designated to return. 2015 saw 3 players on IR and Marquis Goodwin missing most of the season with significant issues. 2014 saw 4 players out including Kiko Alonso already out due to an off season ACL tear. Looking back further, most seasons start off with 3-4 players on IR or missing large chunks of time. I had to go back to 2011 in where only one player started on IR and the noteworthy IR placements came with Kyle Williams and Eric Wood later in the season. That team if you remember, finished 6-10.

This wraps up the preseason for the Buffalo Bills with depth appearing to finally be where it needs to be at to have a realistic shot at staying in games when a starter goes down. In the next several posts, look for a final analysis of all the preseason injuries in the NFL, dissecting the severity of injury, trends, and what this means for the upcoming season. For the dedicated Bills fan, I will be doing a post on the 10 year anniversary of TE Kevin Everett’s neck injury with a retrospective look at what occurred and the outcomes afterward. I look forward to further educating my fellow Bills fans, other football fans, and growing this endeavor! Go Bills!