2020 Week 5 Bills Injury Preview- Titans

Which of the questionable players will suit up?

Heading into Tuesday’s unusual matchup against the Tennessee Titans, the Bills are fairly beat up with injury designations already determined on Saturday afternoon. While the injury list looks dire, things actually aren’t all that bad. Check out the details below. Let’s hope this game gets played & put in the rearview mirror.

OUT

LB Matt Milano (Left pectoral)

Milano has since been ruled out for Tuesday’s contest which isn’t a surprise considering he did not practice all week.

Milano is coming off what appears to be a left pectoral strain. Based on the literature, it’s no surprise that he will be out for the short term. In my article at Buffalo Rumblings, I had detailed that he would be out at least 2 games and potentially more. The fact that he hasn’t been placed on IR also hints at the timeline the team thinks he may return sooner than later.

QUESTIONABLE

WR John Brown (Left knee)

Brown has been battling calf and foot problems all season, none of which have been serious enough to miss any time. Brown did appear to tweak something on the left side as shown in the video below.

Per the injury report, he is dealing with a knee injury now. While there is video of the injury, it’s hard to discern what he exactly did. In the video, he planted his left foot and pushed right before taking another step and then began hopping in pain.

He took several hard steps on his left leg to turn back to the right to catch the pass. His knee appeared to bow out on the next step, but it’s possible he could have tweaked the MCL or inside knee ligament on the prior step, felt it, took an uneven step which where we saw the bowing out, and then the final hopping off the field.

Credit: PTHealth.ca

If this injury was in isolation, I would say he’s alright to play especially with the few extra days off. But considering he’s dealing with foot & calf injuries, he may be best suited to take a week off. May come down to how he feels. This is one position where the team has healthy depth.

G Cody Ford (Groin/left shoulder)

Ford is battling a groin strain apparently suffered in the Raiders game. Sean McDermott did note that Ford was battling through some things during the Raiders game. I believe he was referring more to the left shoulder which could be anything at this point. There is nothing definitive on film & would need more information for a specific injury. There is a possibility that he’s dealing with a rotator cuff issue or labral injury due to the brace, but something to monitor.

As for the groin, also not sure when he injured it which makes it difficult to determine how it will affect him. The one upside is that playing on the interior part of the line; he will not have to use as much lateral movement or sprinting which can reduce strain on the area. If he doesn’t go, then G Quinton Spain would likely get the start.

RB Zack Moss (Toe)

Moss continues to be limited with a toe injury that appears to be turf toe. He was potentially able to play Sunday against the Raiders, but he ultimately did not suit up.

He has missed the last 2 games which fits in the timeline for a turf toe. The hope is that he returns for Tuesday’s game with a few extra days rest & is more of a factor than RB TJ Yeldon. Considering all the questionable players & that he practiced in full leads me to believe he will play.

LB Del’Shawn Phillips (Left quadriceps)

Phillips has returned to practice & began practicing in full which is an excellent sign for the special teams linebacker. He has missed the last 3 games following a quadriceps injury that appeared to be a strain by video.

I expect most of his playing time to be on special teams once again unless he is called upon to play on defense if injury occurs. I also expect that he will continue to be slowly worked back in as he acclimates to not playing football for nearly a month.

Update: Phillips has since been placed on IR. The team promoted LB Deon Lacey in his spot.

WR Andre Roberts (Ankle)

There is no information on Roberts other than he injured his ankle. Nothing on film indicates that he suffered an injury and nothing in the media reports indicate the type of injury he is dealing with. The fact that he hasn’t practiced all week isn’t a great sign either.

The only two instances I could find for a possible injury came in the 1st quarter. The first was a right end around where Roberts lost 3 yards when he was flipped upside down by S Johnathan Abram. The other, three plays later, when Roberts caught a 6 yard pass to the left and was taken down by CB Nevin Lawson.

He had his left ankle get clipped on the first tackle and on the second, he was twisted down. Hard to identify if this is when he hurt his ankle or what the exact injury could be.

This will be something to monitor as the season progresses.

CB Tre’Davious White (Back)

This has been a mystery. White played in every defensive snap on Sunday & has been fairly durable throughout this season & career. He has not practiced this past week & it’s not clear whether he is even at the facility.

Watching film from Week 4, he appears to move well around the field and is not labored or slow to get up. As this is a back injury, these are harder to identify the injuries as there is typically not bracing or specific movements that are limited by the injury.

More information would be needed in order to identify what he’s dealing with. I could list a bunch of injuries & conditions, but trying to identify this injury is like throwing a dart in the dark at the dart board. The only reason that he could possibly be questionable after not practicing is if it’s a pain related issue where the team is hoping that things can calm down before Tuesday. But even that doesn’t narrow things down.

I have heard severe people say that he got his money & is not playing as hard anymore or that he is attempting to opt out because of the COVID concerns with the Titans with the team saying he has a back injury. Sure, there’s always that possibility that he is phoning it in now that he got paid. If he was, then that was a poor decision by the team to sign him to an extension. If he is not trying anymore, that’s on him. I don’t believe the Bills want guys on the team like that. I personally don’t believe this to be the case.

The COVID concerns are real, but to have the team say he has a back injury in order to keep him away from the facility, that’s a stretch. They could list him with an injury, we do see guys on injury reports often every week and don’t appear to have anything wrong. If I recall, Tom Brady was notorious for that with his right shoulder.

But to fake an injury would go against the competitive balance & intention of the injury report. To use it to cover up for something else makes me think the NFL wouldn’t take too kindly to that.

Right now, I am going with the fact that he has a back injury, details are not available, and the hope is that it isn’t serious. If he doesn’t go, the team has CB Dane Jackson they can call up for depth.

G Brian Winters (Right knee)

Winters appeared to injure his right knee on the same play that Josh Allen injured his shoulder. He fell hard on the right knee and was labored upon getting up and trying to get back into the play.

It appears to be a generalized contusion, but considering he hasn’t practiced in the past week, there’s potential it could be other things. He could have injured the bursa which is a fluid filled sac that helps lubricate the joint. A direct blow to that could cause inflammation to the area, limiting range of motion.

There are other possible injuries that he could have suffered but without more information, hard to establish a timeline. Considering the team has a bevy of offensive lineman, he could afford to sit this week.

INJURED RESERVE

CB Levi Wallace (Left ankle)

This move was a possibility but not certain as low ankle sprains can be played through, depending on the severity. Unfortunately for Wallace, he appears to have suffered a Grade 2 low ankle sprain early against the Raiders. This is due to the fact that he was placed on IR on Wednesday which requires a 3 week stay indicating a timeline for severity.

Credit: Medium.com

According to this picture sent in by a fellow Twitter user, Wallace appears to be off crutches and the swelling in the left ankle looks minimal. However, there is still likely instability due to the ligaments getting stretched out from the injury.

What we also don’t see in this picture is if he is on crutches and he put them down for the picture. We also don’t see how much weight he is putting through his left foot. Both feet could be down but he could be leaning more to the right to off weight the leg. Whatever he’s doing, he can rest for the next 3 weeks now that CB Josh Norman has returned from IR.

ACTIVE

WR Cole Beasley (Left foot)

Beasley continues to battle with numerous injuries including previous injuries to his thumb and hip. After being limited in practice earlier this week, Beasley was a full participant which signifies that he is healthy enough to play. The extra days off will certainly help his foot to heal further which will allow him to make those cuts over the middle effectively and use his speed to work around the field.

QB Josh Allen (left shoulder)

Allen practiced in full every day despite the left shoulder designation from Sunday’s injury. The injury designation officially notes that he does have an injury and that it could affect his ability to play. The concern is that he has either an AC joint sprain, rotator cuff injury, or labral tear.

He did have a brace on for Wednesday’s practice and kinesiotape on for Thursday’s practice. The hope is that he has the AC joint sprain & it’ll heal on its own. My worry still remains that he had more damage in there as mentioned above. I would anticipate to see some bracing on for Tuesday regardless of the injury.

As the season progresses, the injury will become more clear if he takes further hits to the shoulder or if he continues to wear bracing.

Inactives:

LB Matt Milano
TE Lee Smith
G Brian Winters
QB Jake Fromm
RB TJ Yeldon

A bye week would be beneficial like it was last year at this time, but the Bills are not due for one for some time. These kinds of weeks will really test the depth at each position and the training staff’s ability to get each guy ready. It is important to note that a player may be active but may not get much play, only available for depth if needed. The team was forced to do this several times last year.

While the Titans are healthier as evidenced by the list below, they also have not had the ability to practice as a team in the last 2 weeks, unless you could the unauthorized practices after their facility closed. They also still have a number of players on the COVID reserve list.

Even if they’re healthier, I would be concerned about in-game injuries due to the sudden ramping back up of game play. I do not wish injury on anyone, but there is a greater risk. That along with not having the ability to fully implement their game plan may help be an equalizer in the game.

Remember, this is a team that was an AFC finalist last year. This team is no slouch. I would expect the Bills to win because I am biased and believe we have the better team. But if they lose, they are a worthy opponent. I’d like to see a win, but more importantly, minimal injuries as the Bills prepare for a short week against the Chiefs in Week 6 at home.

Top Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

2020 Week 4 Bills Injury Review- Raiders

Is Josh Allen going to be ok? What happened to Levi Wallace? How long will Matt Milano be out for?

The Bills are 4-0 for the first time since 2008 and the fanbase is buzzing! That was about the time I began to sink my teeth into what is now my full-fledged Bills fandom & totally embraced it. While the beginning of the season was fun, the later half clearly wasn’t. However, this 2020 team is something else! 4-0 including two wins over division opponents in the Dolphins & Jets and two more wins over playoff contenders in the Rams & Raiders. 

While it’s unrealistic to run the table to a Super Bowl, the Bills are showing they know how to win games that they are expected to win. There are still several games on the schedule that aren’t automatic & realistically, they will suffer some losses. But for now, the Bills are getting stacking wins as they continue to march forward in the season.

In light of the win, there were several injuries to note of varying concern. Below you will find my thoughts and expectations for each injury moving forward.

CB Levi Wallace (left ankle)

Wallace injured his ankle with 8:22 left in the first quarter with what appeared to be a calf/ankle injury. Upon review & just prior to falling to the turf, Wallace changed directions suddenly, going backwards in order to get the tipped ball. As he was going backwards, he rolled his ankle inward. That sudden weight through the rolled ankle likely worsened the severity of the ankle sprain observed on film. He was down on the ground in obvious pain and required assistance to get back up and off the field. Regrettably, he was unable to return.

Noted above, following the game, he was on crutches as Coach McDermott was giving his post game speech. From the video, it isn’t determined whether he had a boot on, but considering the possible severity of the sprain along with the crutches, it’s very likely he did. 

McDermott has since stated that he is week-to-week which translates out to several weeks missed. Grade 1 ankle sprains can usually be played through. Grade 2, which I believe is what Wallace has, is anywhere from 3-6 weeks. Considering they have not put him on IR yet, I believe he can come back after missing 2-3 games, barring setbacks.

They do have Josh Norman available and may be the only option until Wallace is ready to return. 

WR Cole Beasley (left foot)

Beasley suffered what he termed a foot sprain on his TD catch when he got flipped into the air before coming down hard for the score. As he came down, his left foot smashed into the turf.

This appears to be a generalized foot sprain, more specifically to the midfoot. He had it taped up and returned later in the game, at times labored. He’s a guy who could benefit from some time off but he’s a baller and he’s going to play. I expect him to be limited in practice or have a day off this week. Unless the foot gets much worse Tuesday & Wednesday, I expect that he’ll have it taped up for next Sunday.

QB Josh Allen (left shoulder)

Allen scared the entire NFL when he got tackled scrambling out of the pocket before getting taken down from behind, falling with his arm outstretched, hitting at the elbow then rolling onto his left side, grabbing at his non-throwing shoulder. 

There’s a lot to unpack with the injury so stick with me here. It initially appeared that he injured his hand due to shaking it out with noticeable discomfort. Due to the elbow striking the ground, he likely hit the ulnar nerve that runs on the medial portion of the elbow, aka, the funny bone. 

That would explain the hand component. When the elbow struck the ground, he immediately grabbed at the shoulder. There are several things that he could have injured with that fall including an AC joint sprain, rotator cuff, or labrum tear due to subluxation/dislocation.

I would take the above order of injury based on severity. Best case he could have injured his AC joint with the fall. He can wear a brace for a few weeks and have no lasting effects, especially considering this is his non-throwing shoulder. 

The rotator cuff could have been strained due to the elbow hitting the turf, jamming the humerus up into the acromion, causing injury. This injury would also take several weeks to recover from. Think QB Drew Lock of the Broncos from Week 2 below.

However, the worst and I feel is most likely is the labral tear due to a subluxation/dislocation. The elbow hitting the turf and forcing the arm up and into the shoulder socket could have forced the head of the humerus away from the labrum which helps deepen the socket for the shoulder to articulate.

Credit: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00167-015-3979-8

If this is the case, I see a scenario where he wears the brace the rest of the season as he rehabs in order to keep the shoulder strong and as stable as possible. My hope is that he subluxed the shoulder, it caused a small tear in the labrum that he plays through and then the team can evaluate if he needs to undergo surgery in the offseason. There is concern that he injures the shoulder further if he falls on it.

Check out Bears QB Mitch Trubisky’s shoulder injury from two years ago for similarities.

My biggest worry if he continues to sublux or dislocate the shoulder, leading to missed time. This could cause further damage to the labrum or a significant dislocation could lead to a brachial plexus injury which is the bundle of nerves that supply the arm for sensation and movement. This is less common, but still possible. A non-throwing shoulder injury isn’t as big of a deal, but if he takes further shots, this could take him out of games even temporarily.

As it’s not his throwing shoulder, the team will unlikely give any further information and we will have to read the tea leaves. 

RG Brian Winters (right knee)

Winters suffered what appears to be a right knee contusion on the same play that Josh Allen got injured on. He was engaging his block before getting shoved down way behind the line of scrimmage, falling directly onto his right knee. He was able to get back up & finish the play, but was laboring to get back towards the action. 

He was later ruled questionable with a right knee injury & did not return. This isn’t something that should linger outside of dealing with pain. He could have played through, but considering that the team has depth & still wants to get reps for all their guys, it was a smart move to avoid having him continue to play. This might show up on the injury report but it doesn’t appear to have lasting concerns.

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral)

Milano injured his left shoulder/pectoral area attempting to tackle RB Josh Jacobs near the line of scrimmage. As he went to wrap him up, Milano’s momentum kept him moving upfield as Jacobs began to run downfield. In the process, his left arm was pulled away by Jacobs running. Milano got up, having his left shoulder/pectoral muscle checked out by the team doctor on the sidelines.

This is the exact mechanism of injury for a pectoral tear, maximal eccentric contraction of the muscle, leading to overload and tearing. However, it does not appear that a full tear is the case. This appears to be more of a strain by how Milano responded and how quickly he fell to the ground, allowing the ground to stop some of his momentum. This could be an injury that he does miss some time for, but isn’t something that I expect to hinder him all season. 

He has since been termed as week-to-week, which isn’t promising. Most of the literature I found spoke more of the pectoral tendon rupture, exactly what G Jon Feliciano is recovering from. There are some resources that note that this strain could be a 2-6 week recovery.

Considering they’re not placing him on IR at the moment, this leads me to believe that he’ll be out 2-4 weeks. Not quite enough to be placed on IR but not a quick return. I will say he’ll miss probably 2 games which will put him on track to return for the Jets game. Unfortunately, that second game missed would line up with the Chiefs game which would be vital for him to be available. More information will have to be available in order to change my mind on the timeline.

Already this season we have seen Eagles DT Javon Hargrave miss almost 4 weeks with the injury before returning to play in Week 2. Raiders LB Nick Kwiatkoski missed 2 games with a pectoral injury and returned to play with bracing. So to put him on track to return after 2-3 games should be reasonable. Had he outright ruptured, this wouldn’t even be a discussion. This is highly unfortunate considering he already missed one game with a hamstring strain. This will be another injury he simply has to battle back from. 

S Jaquan Johnson (right lower leg)

Johnson continues to show why he is active every Sunday as a special teams contributor. He successfully recovered the onside kick that the Raiders attempted to try and recover to get one more shot at the end zone. During the recovery, he was kicked hard in the lateral lower leg area during the scramble for the recovery. That kick, along with at least a dozen grown men landing on him would make even the toughest of men hurt.

Like Winters, there will be pain, but outside of that, he should be alright for next week.

Other observations:

G Cody Ford (left shoulder)

Ford was noted wearing a brace on his left shoulder signifying some type of instability. This was first noticed by Erik Turner over at Cover 1.

Looking back at the Miami game, there wasn’t any apparent instance of an AC joint sprain or even a labral tear. You could make the case for some pectoral strain possibilities, but nothing was definitive and I would have expected he would miss some time.

I then also grew concerned for a labral tear. These are highly common in NFL lineman & something that can be played through. Finding that on film would be difficult due to repeated blocking with the arms extended & I’m not certain that he even suffered this during a game. He could have injured the shoulder at practice In between the Rams and Raiders game.

Like all the others, something to monitor. To note, he had surgery on the opposite shoulder last year but details were never made public on whether it was a labrum or rotator cuff. We are once again left to speculate. 

All these injuries, most of them aren’t things that could have been prevented with preseason. These are just unfortunate and the reality of the Bills returning to the mean in regards to injuries. None of these injuries are season ending and most can return to full health. Football is a physical sport, there are injuries, I am glad that we are not seeing season ending ones yet. Looking forward, the Bills move on to play the Titans in Week 5 as they continue to maintain control of the AFC East. 

Top Photo Credit: larrybrownsports.com

G Brian Winters Injury Profile

#61 Brian Winters

Position: G
Height/Weight: 6’4″/320 lbs.
Age: 29
College: Kent State
Year joined Bills: 2020
Acquired: Free Agency via Jets

College Injuries:

TBD

Pro Injuries:

2013 Jets:

Ankle injury, preseason, missed 0 games.

Ankle injury, Week 8, missed 0 games.

2014 Jets:

Left ACL tear, Week 6, missed 10 games, sent to IR.

2015 Jets:

No publicly reported injuries.

2016 Jets:

Concussion, Week 4, missed 1 game.

Shoulder injury, Week 15, missed 2 games. Later found to have rotator cuff repair.

2017 Jets:

Abdominal tear, Week 2, missed 1 game, later went to IR for last 2 games.

2018 Jets:

No publicly reported injuries.

2019 Jets:

Shoulder injury, preseason, went to IR after Week 10, missed 7 games.

2020 Bills:

Leg contusion, preseason

Right knee contusion, Week 4

General links:

Buffalo Rumblings Brian Winters Injury History