Charles Clay Clunky Knee

Reviewing Week 5 loss against the Bengals and impact of Charles Clay knee injury including long term outlook.

The Bills, well, the Bills lost. They lost a very winnable game by a score of 20-16 in Cincinnati. The offense never got going, the run game doesn’t look anything like it has the past 2 seasons, and this Bills team continues to make this fan base crazy. That’s the nice, politically correct way of saying that. Two years from now, this will be a game that won’t be marked as a trap game, the kind of game that is an expected win. However, we all have to “Trust the Process” and trust I will!

Sunday was one of those games that while the depth that has been lacking in past seasons was there, the talent and cohesiveness was not. The team continues to stay relatively healthy, not losing anyone to season ending injuries. Notable injuries to the Bills are CB Leonard Johnson who left with a hamstring injury in the first half and did not return. However, the focus of today’s article is TE Charles Clay’s left knee injury sustained after catching a pass and getting hit in the knee going out of bounds towards the end of the first quarter. This resulted in Clay ending his day early and getting carted off the field.

Anytime someone sees an elite player go down with a knee or leg injury, they automatically think ACL tear. Why do we think that? Because the ACL is the sexy injury that the media loves to talk about. Everyone knows its serious, everyone knows its season ending, and it’s all over the news constantly. As you begin to hyperventilate or start cursing the Bills, R-E-L-A-X. Clay did get injured, it didn’t look pretty, and the results aren’t great. If you care to continue reading, I will help you step back from the edge and explain what really happened.

Based on reports, Charles Clay sprained his MCL, tore his meniscus, and will be out for an extended time with surgery to fix the meniscus. Most people know that if the ACL is bad, then the MCL must be bad as well. It is but it isn’t. The knee is comprised of many different structures including but not limited to: bones of the knee: femur, tibia, patella; ligaments including: medial collateral ligament, anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, and lateral collateral ligament; soft tissue includes cartilage and medial/lateral meniscus.

knee.jpg
Credit: webmd.com

The MCL runs on the inside portion of the knee connecting the femur to the tibia. The MCL allows for stabilization medially and along with the LCL, prevents the knee from going east/west and ensures that knee works as a hinge joint. When the MCL is sprained, the ligament is stretched and partially torn as with any other sprain. However, the MCL is more dynamic in that it connects into several muscles in the knee including the vastus medialis, sartorius, semimembranosus, semitendiosus, and gracillis. The MCL also attacks to the posteromedial portion of the medial meniscus. To simplify it, at various points, the MCL connects to parts of the quadriceps, hamstrings, adductor muscles, and part of the meniscus. Without these many connections, the knee would be far less stable and would not be able to change direction suddenly.

Despite a fantastic design by nature, design only allows for so much prevention. The MCL typically gets injured during sudden changes in movement such as cutting and pivoting. The MCL also becomes damaged during direct blows to the outside part of the knee during knee flexion, which is what occurred with Clay when a low tackle hit him out of bounds.

The MCL severity grades are broken down into 3 grades with the increasing grade indicate level of severity. Level 1 consists of some fibers torn with tenderness and no instability. There is some pain during application of force to the outside of the bent knee, but nothing else significant.

Grade 2 consists of increased pain and more noted swelling. There is moderate tenderness and laxity in the joint. Most of the pain is on the inside of the knee and patients typically poorly tolerate laxity testing to the MCL. There are varying degrees of a grade 2 sprain including 2- and 2+ depending on amount of damage.

Grade 3 is a complete rupture of the MCL, leading to instability along with extreme pain and swelling, resulting in difficulty with bending the knee. The knee also gives away during a valgus force which is when pressure is applied to the outside of the knee. Surgery is usually indicated as the ligament has been totally torn from the bone.

Credit: http://kingbrand.com/MCL-Injury-Information.php

Based on video of the play and difficulty with placing weight through the leg afterward, this indicates that he may have suffered a partial tear, possibly a Grade 2+. This is supported by the fact that he did not have surgery to repair the MCL itself.

To add insult to injury, Clay also tore his lateral meniscus. The meniscus acts as the shock absorber in the knee and helps with keeping the knee healthy during movement. Unfortunately, part of the lateral meniscus became torn during the hit. This likely occurred due to the direct blow along with the knee bent and planted on the ground, leading to twisting of the knee, resulting in a partial tear. Presentation of a partial tear involves pain, catching, and clicking during knee movement. While research has been proven that a nonsurgical approach can be just as effective as surgery to trim down the meniscus, this is the NFL and there is no wait and see approach. The procedure that Clay had today is called a meniscectomy which involved cutting out the frayed piece of meniscus and shaving down the area to smooth it over to ensure that more pieces do not fray off.

Reports indicate that Clay will be out at least a month, possibly indefinitely. I believe that he will be out closer to 6-8 weeks. The meniscus is something that could keep him out 2-3 weeks; the problem is the MCL. The body will need to heal and restore proper range of motion to the knee while regaining strength. There are therapeutic interventions that can encourage healing, but the body still has to do its job. Professionally, I would say place him on IR with designation to return. This gives him a guaranteed 8 weeks to heal up and return to full form. This would also allow the team to bring in another TE and not use up a valuable roster spot. This would place him on track for the Colts game in December. Considering the Bills have two games against Miami and one against New England after that, it would be an excellent time to come back healthy.

My final thoughts on Clay is that he has had several years of reported knee issues, of which I wrote about during the preseason. From observation during practice, I believe he had most of the issues on the left knee, of which he injured Sunday. However, this injury is independent from his previous issues. He was not at a higher risk for this injury as the result of the previous problems. If anything, this may help take care of the other issues by giving him time to rest.

The Bills are certainly hurting from this one. Clay has been a consistent producer and a favorite target of Tyrod Taylor. Clay should be back later this season, but whether his return will make a difference remains to be seen. I still believe that this season we have more depth than in previous years, but having depth just is not the same as the starters. That was evident in the secondary and linebackers on Sunday. Thankfully, the bye week could have not come at a better time. I still believe the Bills have a shot to stay competitive this season with how the rest of the AFC is playing this season. The Bills still control their destiny, Charles Clay injury will not define the season.

Continue to check back for further updates regarding new injuries and posts designed to educate my fellow Bills fans and keep you from the edge. Thank you and GO BILLS!!

Week 5 Injury Breakdown- Bengals

Assessing the latest injuries prior to the showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals and how it affects depth.

The injury list continues to grow for the Buffalo Bills heading into the Week 5 match up against the Cincinnati Bengals. While the only notable players that are sure to be out are LB Ramon Humber and WR Jordan Matthews, there are still many others that are dealing with injuries. Most of these injuries appear to be players getting banged up due to the rigors of the NFL season.

Today’s article will review most everyone that has appeared on the injury list this week and attempt to determine the true severity of each player’s injury. Staring off with players who have not been limited in practice with injuries are as follows: RB LeSean McCoy (wrist), RB Mike Tolbert (thumb), and DT Jerel Worthy (thumb). It was observed that Mike Tolbert injured his hand at the end of the 3rd quarter which led to a fumble that Buffalo recovered. It is unknown how Jerel Worthy injured his thumb, but it was injured enough to appear on the injury report. Both players most likely sustained sprained thumbs which will affect play, but with proper management which may consist of taping for stability or even a wrist brace to reduce risk for further re-injury.

McCoy continues to appear weekly on the injury report due to a nagging wrist injury sustained in the season opener. While he continues to be a full participant, it does worry me that he continues to re-injure this wrist. He has been observed leaving each game briefly due to wrist pain after running the ball. He appears to jam it while cradling the ball, leading to pain and possible weakness. He could tape the wrist or wear a brace, but this limits the ability to cradle the football and effectively block. I expect him to miss some time during the game due to wrist re-injury, but the upcoming bye week may allow him to get the rest he requires to prevent worsening of the injury.

Those limited in practice were WR Kaelin Clay (back), DT Marcell Dareus (ankle), CB E.J. Gaines (groin), OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), CB Shareece Wright (back), DE Eddie Yarbrough (thigh), DT Kyle Williams (thumb), S Micah Hyde (knee), and DE Shaq Lawson (groin). Glenn continues to deal with his chronic foot/ankle injuries and Dareus is still recovering from his sprained ankle, which is consistent with this type of injury. Lawson injured his groin last week in practice and missed the Atlanta game.

Kyle Williams thumb injury may be similar to Jerel Worthy’s injury in that it may have been sprained due to the hand fighting that a defensive lineman performs during each play, getting the thumb hyperextended or caught. Williams is tough as nails and won’t let something like this slow him down. Shareece Wright and Kaelin Clay’s back injuries are injuries that not much information is available. This may be something that occurred during practice or something that is nagging. Considering that the spine is made up of bones, ligaments, and tendon attachments, it is quite possible they pulled a muscle, over rotated, or extended; causing pain and difficulty during tackling, running, and changing direction.

Eddie Yarbrough and Taiwan Jones also have little information regarding the nature of their injuries. These may be just contusions and limit the ability to go full speed, but do not concern me about underlying issues. Yarbrough continues to be a diamond in the rough, playing exceptionally well and Jones handles kickoff duties, which affect more game play rather than another body on the sidelines.

Finally, E.J. Gaines and Micah Hyde are questionable along with Cordy Glenn and Shareece Wright. As mentioned last article, Gaines’ groin severity is unknown at this moment, the team may take the approach that they did with Lawson last week and see how he feels going into the game, shutting him down if things don’t feel right. Micah Hyde is dealing with a knee injury that was not noted until Thursday afternoon. It was initially reported that he was dealing with general soreness which has since been narrowed down to a knee issue. This may be as simple as a sprain which he needs to rehab correctly or it may be something worse that the team wants to see how it responds before taking further action. Without video, it is impossible to speculate what specific injury may be ailing him. Losing Hyde going into the Bengals game will be a huge loss in the secondary considering the offensive weapons the Bengals have and several injuries already in the Buffalo secondary.

If this game were to be a non-conference opponent, I expect more players to be out include the above mentioned Glenn, Hyde, Wright, and Gaines. As the Bills would benefit from winning every game, it is more important to win the conference games if it comes down to tiebreakers at the end for playoff seeding. Excluding Gaines, I expect all the players listed above to play. Some of these players may see a limited snap count such as Dareus did last week. It remains to be seen if his snap count is limited secondary to discipline or whether they want to ensure that the ankle heals correctly. I am in favor of limiting snap counts in order to get the best players on the field.

I believe this game is winnable with the way the defense is playing, simple as that. How things play out with the questionable players, along with Ramon Humber’s and Jordan Matthews’ replacements will dictate the quality of play. McDermott and Beane have constantly been addressing depth and finding the type of players that fit their schemes, which in turn should reduce the drop off in quality of play dealing with replacement players.

Continue to check back for injury updates after the game and break down roster depth, injuries heading into the bye, and any injury highlights from around the league. Thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 4 Recap- Falcons

Breaking down the Bills latest injuries including thumb fractures, surgical approaches, and long term outlook.

This is a Bills team that continues to impress so far into the 2017 season. The defense is looking better than ever, Tyrod Taylor is moving the ball well, and serious injuries continue to be at a minimum. The Bills pulled out a solid win against the defending NFC champions, winning 23-17. These Bills look good, but I am not getting my hopes up yet. This happened in 2008 and 2011, both of which became lost seasons.

Unfortunately, with a hard nose win, comes some tough injuries which does affect how the next few weeks play out. A total of 4 players went out with some significant injuries that some will miss extended time. LB Ramon Humber and WR Jordan Matthews are out with broken thumbs, also known as the first metacarpal, the portion of the thumb that is highlighted as the broken area in the picture. Reports indicate that both will have surgery with Matthews requiring a pin to hold the fracture in place. There are not reports that Humber will require the same technique which may indicate a different type of fracture which may affect healing time.

fr_metacIllustration 1: Credit: http://www.mdguidelines.com/fracture-metacarpal-bones

While there are multiple ways to break a thumb and various ways the bone can break, the surgical options are fairly straight forward. For Matthews’, he will require a pin or “K-wire” which is inserted into the bone to hold it in place while it heals, which typically takes 3 weeks until it can be pulled out. A small piece of the wire sticks out of the skin and is protected to reduce infection. This is called a Bennett’s type approach. He may require this surgery due to a portion of the bone that has become fractured and requires stabilization to ensure proper healing.

Humber’s surgery may take the approach known as a Rolando’s type approach due to the nature of the break. Humber may have had several small breaks in the first metacarpal requiring a surgical approach to bring together all the various pieces together using a plate and screws to secure the area while it heals. Considering that the surgical area will be sewed shut, it is possible to have a cast placed over the area and continue playing. To better understand the difference between the thumb surgeries, please check out this link. While it does have basic drawings, it is the best resource that makes understanding the differences easily.

Next up is S Colt Anderson with a broken forearm. Any of my readers, please tell me what the Bills see in this guy? He continually gets hurt and I personally fail to see the value in him being on the roster. However, he suffered a broken forearm and has since been placed on IR. Typically, an injury such as this is sustained due to a direct blow to the arm such as during blocking or hitting the arm against a helmet. It is unknown which bone he broke in his arm, but he will require surgery which typically places a rod and screws to stabilize the area to ensure that it heals properly.

Finally, E.J. Gaines suffered a pulled groin on a hard tackle after changing direction in the 4th quarter and left the game. As of now, it is unknown how severe the injury is, but if it is similar to Shaq Lawson’s injury, then he should recover well. He was able to walk off on his own power and did not need any immediate attention which may indicate a mild strain. To understand further what the groin is and how it affects the football player, check out this article.

Expect to see Gaines at worst miss the next game, but considering he has more time than Lawson to recover, it’s possible for him to play in some fashion Sunday. Depending on the severity of the Humber fracture, he could come back after the bye and play in a cast while he continues to heal. Matthews on the other hand, makes his money using his hands and will require a longer recovery time because of this and the nature of the surgery. He will come back at some point during the season, but I wouldn’t expect him to come back until the Saints game on November 12th. This will give him at least 4 weeks to recover and then with the Jets playing the Bills on Thursday night, no sense in rushing him back and gives him an extra week to recover.

To make up for these losses, the Bills signed WR Philly Brown, S Trae Elston, and S Shamarko Thomas, moving S Colt Anderson to IR and releasing S Robert Blanton and DE Eric Lee. The Bills continue to make moves to keep the depth at a premium and sign players who know the system, allowing for a smaller learning curve.

Continue to check back for updates and any new injuries. These Bills may be real, let’s see how real they can get! Go Bills!!

Week 3 Recap- Broncos

Analyzing the Buffalo Bills injury report following the Week 3 win over the Denver Broncos.

The Buffalo Bills stole a crucial win from the Denver Broncos on Sunday, winning 26-16 during possibly the hottest game ever in Buffalo. The Bills played a solid game despite some parts of the first half that were sloppy. Tyrod Taylor pulled it together and moved the ball well, giving up no interceptions, fumbles, or making any poor choices. I do not believe he is the long term starter for this team, but he is what will work for now until Nathan Peterman develops or the Bills draft a QB next year.

Breaking down this week’s Buffalo Bill’s injury report, well, there’s not much to go over. Sunday’s game showed the first time in recent memory where a player did not go down with injury for either side. As I was at the insanely hot game Sunday, I did not have the vantage points that I normally have on TV. One Bills player did get assessed by training staff but was able to walk off on their own power. This indicates that either they were possibly dealing with cramping or got banged up. Considering the heat Sunday, cramping is the likely culprit.

There are not any new additions to the Bills injury report with many subtractions from last week. Finding their way off the injury report is S Colt Anderson, TE Charles Clay, DE Shaq Lawson, WR Kaelin Clay, LB Deon Lacey, LB Matt Milano, and TE Nick O’Leary. All of these players were dealing with a variety of complaints that do not appear to be long term issues. One note that I would like to make is Shaq Lawson. It was reported that he was dealing with a nerve contusion last week which affected his foot. As I thought previously, it did not affect his overall play with 1 solo tackle, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, and 1 QB hit. While he did not light up the box score in previous games, he still played in 60% of the snaps, which is in line with the other defensive starters. I do not expect that this injury will reappear again this season.

Those currently on the injury report include LB Lorenzo Alexander and DT Kyle Williams due to rest. Two veterans that give it their all every Sunday, they benefit more from rest than practice. Next up is LeSean McCoy with a wrist injury. This is 3 weeks now that he has been dealing with a wrist injury sustained in the home opener when diving into the end zone. He may be dealing with a mild wrist sprain that the team wants to ensure that does not get worse. I do not believe that this injury is any worse or is part of something larger at this time.

A positive sign for this week is that DT Jerel Worthy is listed as a full participant in practice. This is a huge step forward from the past several weeks. If you recall, Worthy sustained a significant concussion in the preseason finale against the Lions. Considering that he is a full participant indicates that he is in Stage 5 of the concussion protocol. This means that barring any recurrence of symptoms over the next several days, he should be cleared to return to play against the Falcons on Sunday. This is supported by the Bills roster cut of DT Deandre Coleman, signed last week.

DT Marcell Dareus and OT Cordy Glenn have made themselves comfy on the report this week. Dareus was listed as a limited participant. Considering there was video of him last week in an air cast performing upper body work indicates that he continues to deal with a mild lateral ankle sprain. If this injury was significant, he would not have been doing activities in standing and may have had a walking boot, creating more stability. Expect him to play Sunday and shut down the potent Falcons running game.

Finally, OT Cordy Glenn continues to deal with foot/ankle injuries. As I have said before, I continue to maintain that he has instability within the ankle/foot region due to repeatedly spraining the areas. Are these injuries that he could play through if this were the playoffs, quite possibly. However, it is still early in the season and Dion Dawkins held his own against the talented Broncos D-line. I expect the training staff to continue to bring Glenn along slowly to ensure that the O-line has the depth required to get through the season.

I still believe that McDermott is rotating through players more frequently to reduce overuse injuries and keep the integrity of the roster intact. As the season continues on, I will continue to address injuries that occur plus outline any injuries that can become common or chronic. Once again, thank you for reading and look for further updates, GO BILLS!!

Week 3 Injury Breakdown- Broncos

Analyzing the Buffalo Bills injury report for Week 3.

Week 3 is upon us! As we head into the match up at home against the Denver Broncos, I will review the team injury report and breakdown expectations for the players on the report. Unfortunately, the Bills injury report will continue to grow through the season. However, most injuries so far have consisted of minor problems that if managed correctly, will not become a problem long term.

Getting several of the names out of the way early are LB Lorenzo Alexander, RB LeSean McCoy, and DT Jerel Worthy. I address these players first because they are not serious issues or have already been addressed. Alexander is on the list due to rest, McCoy due to his wrist which does not appear to be a serious injury as he was listed as a full participant. Finally, Worthy is still in the league concussion protocol and still not practicing, which likely means he is still having symptoms during regular aerobic activities.

Those carrying over from last weeks injury report are S Colt Anderson, TE Charles Clay, and OT Cordy Glenn. Colt Anderson continues to deal with a foot injury and continues to somehow be on the roster. Clay was on last week due to shoulder complaints; this week is knee, which continues to be a long term issue year after year. Glenn reappears on the list due to re-aggravation of the foot/ankle area.

New to the injury report are DE Shaq Lawson, WR Kaelin Clay, DT Marcell Dareus, LB Deon Lacey, LB Matt Milano, and TE Nick O’Leary. Kaelin Cray is dealing with a foot injury, yet not much is known about the current injury. Clay did suffer a broken foot last year during training camp with the Ravens. He was eventually cut in November from injured reserve and essentially sat out last season. Hopefully, this is not something that will keep him out for long. Deon Lacey, Matt Milano, and Nick O’Leary are all dealing with hamstring injuries which can continue to be tricky due to the demands of their specific positions. Lawson’s injury was detailed greatly in my last post and should not affect him for long term. To note, all were full participants on Friday which indicate that they will most likely play Sunday.

It was reported today that both Cordy Glenn and Marcell Dareus will not play Sunday due to the previously reported injuries. I had initially thought that Dareus’ injury was not major due to the fact that he returned to the game against the Panthers. He most likely sustained a sprained ankle and the team is possibly being cautious to ensure that he will be available later this season. With Dareus ruled out, the Bills signed DeAndre Coleman to the roster. Coleman was in training camp and during the offseason, released during cut down day. Considering that Jerel Worthy and Dareus is out, depth will be crucial to place pressure on the Denver offense and contain the run game.

With Cordy Glenn ruled out of the game Sunday, expect Dion Dawkins and Ryan Groy to see increased playing time. This will be the first true test for Dawkins, which I believe he will step up and fill in, demonstrating why the Bills picked him in the 2nd round. As for what Glenn is dealing with, possibly a foot sprain leading to further instability and pain. There are reports that he has issues with both feet/ankles, but unable to confirm each individual issue as that kind of detail typically isn’t released. At this point, I say keep him out until he is ready to play. I have outlined my thoughts on Glenn in the past, I still maintain that the previous issues are contributing towards this current one.

While missing Glenn and Dareus in the lineup, the depth is finally there to deal with these losses. All of the players except Worthy, Dareus, and Glenn practiced in full on Friday which leads me to believe that most of them will either be ready to play for Sunday or have their snap counts limited. Please continue to ask questions, leave comments, and educate yourself on Buffalo Bills injuries. I continue to be open to ideas and will address injuries that require further explanation. Once again, thank you for your time and GO BILLS!!!

Week 2 Recap- Panthers

Analyzing Buffalo Bills injuries coming off Week 2 loss against the Panthers.

Well, that game is over. That was a tough one to watch from an offensive standpoint. LeSean McCoy ran for 9 yards and the offense scored 3 points. Not the kind of football that I want to watch nor root for. While the defense kept the Panthers to 9 points in their own house, there are no moral victories. Only upside is that the Bills continue to stay relatively healthy, once again, not sustaining any significant injuries.

Today’s post will consist of any Bills players who sustained any sort injury and breakdown potential ramifications for future games. First up, Marcell Dareus sustained an ankle injury early in the 1st quarter and sat out for some time. Watching the game, there was no injury timeout or replays showing the injury. Considering that Dareus returned to the game, it does not appear to be anything concerning. Best case scenario is that Dareus suffered a mild lateral sprain which was taped up on the sidelines, giving him stability to finish the game. Expect for Dareus to be limited in the next several practices as he recovers and be a full participant next week against Denver.

Next up is CB E.J. Gaines who was down momentarily with a shoulder injury. If you recall, Gaines suffered a shoulder injury that knocked him out of last week’s contest against the Jets. While not confirmed, it appeared to be the same shoulder, believed to the left side. This injury was sustained during a tackle near the end of the 1st quarter. While it was initially reported that his shoulder was not concerning last week, re-injuring the same shoulder now makes it concerning. Considering that it was a direct hit to the area, he may have suffered an AC sprain or possible SC sprain which would limit arm elevation, vital for tackling and batting passes down. Expect to see Gaines be listed on the injury report, too early to tell if he misses next game.

Cordy Glenn was next with an ankle injury sustained in the 2nd half. No video or injury timeout occurred leading to further review, but the fact that Glenn continues to be hampered with foot and ankle injuries is concerning. No updated reports indicate that this may be a multi week injury, but expect Glenn to be out of practice the next several days. It does help that McDermott has been rotating his lineman out to keep them fresh which has allowed Dion Dawkins to get vital playing time in cases such as this. I still believe that Glenn may be dealing with some sort of ankle instability which could lead to further sprains if not conservatively managed.

Two injuries that are not concerning are Kyle Williams going down with an eye injury and Andre Holmes with a chest injury. Both returned to the game quickly indicating that no damage occurred. Williams appeared to suffer a cut above his right eye during a tackle and Holmes appeared to have the wind knocked out of him briefly. Williams is too tough to let an eye laceration slow him down and Holmes still made plays towards the end of the game which allows these injuries to become afterthoughts.

Finally, LeSean McCoy went down with a right wrist injury during a tackle at the end of the 3rd quarter but was able to return. Last week, McCoy reported that his hand went numb during a similar play last week and pulled himself out briefly. Despite his hand going numb and then returning to the game tells me professionally that no structural damage has occurred. What is most likely happening is when McCoy goes down, he may be striking the field with his elbow and hitting his funny bone. When someone hits their funny bone, they are actually directly striking their ulnar nerve which is slightly exposed on the inside part of the elbow. This can cause immediate numbness along with the pins and needles feeling as though the hand fell asleep. McCoy could reduce the incidence by wearing elbow pads, but may be a comfort issue or may limit the ability to cradle the football.

A final note, earlier today, it was reported that Shaq Lawson suffered a nerve contusion during yesterday’s game and has begun to recover. Once again, no injury timeout or detailed video indicating when this occurred. Reports also do not identify the area that the nerve contusion occurred. Until further reports are made, I will have to assume that this is a similar injury that occurred with McCoy mentioned above.

Updates will be made once the official injury report comes out and more information is released. None of these injuries except Glenn’s ankle concern me. I expect players to get injured, miss plays/time, and not always be at 100%. While the results are not what us as fans want, I would rather have a close loss with everyone coming back to play next week than a win with a major player going down with a season ending injury. Expect further articles to briefly analyze Week 2 injuries around the league and updates on any Bills injuries once more information becomes available. As always, willing to answer questions, break down injuries, and educate my fellow fans on injuries occurring with the Buffalo Bills and in the NFL.

Week 2 Injury Breakdown- Panthers

Breaking down the Bills injury report for Week 2 against the Panthers.

Going into Week 2, the Bills continue to look healthy as they travel down to North Carolina to battle McDermott/Beane’s former employer, the Carolina Panthers. While the Bills are not immune to injuries, they still continue to look better than other teams around the league injury wise, losing no big pieces such as the Chiefs and Jaguars did last week.

Breaking down the injury report, DT Jerel Worthy is still out with a concussion from the preseason game against the Lions on 8/31. As he is not practicing, he is still most likely in the early stages of the concussion protocol, most likely on Level 2-3 at best. To refresh, he may be cleared to begin light aerobic activity with watching game film and participating in team meetings. He may also be cleared for lifting and increasing intensity with aerobic activity. Considering he has not been moved to IR with designation to return, it appears as though he is continuing to recover and may be ready by Week 3-4. The fact that he has not recovered as quickly as Tyrod Taylor did indicates that it may be a more severe concussion; also consider positional demands. Though he is not a starting player, he is crucial for depth and can continue to provide effective play in place of the starters.

Those limited in practice are as follows: S Colt Anderson (foot), CB Leonard Johnson (quad) and LB Tanner Vallejo (knee). Thankfully, none of these players are starters, but for a team to be successful, they must have depth. Colt Anderson has rarely seen the field since joining the Bills last year. He has been described as a special teams ace, but has yet to show his array of skills so far. Considering that he has not been outright waived yet, this indicates that the team will continue to wait for his recovery. As for what is ailing him, professionally, I have been unable to truly assess as there is no film or detailed description of injury on him. Leonard Johnson is listed with a quad; due to the position and demands, possibly could be a quad contusion, which is typically known as a deep bruise. This would limit running forward/backwards and prevent planting effectively to perform coverage duties in the secondary. Finally, Tanner Vallejo is listed as a knee and continues to be limited. Early in the preseason, Vallejo sustained a shoulder injury which knocked him out for several preseason games. It is unknown when Vallejo sustained his knee injury, but it was reported that he had a knee scope which indicates that he may have had fraying of the meniscus or a loose body, causing pain and discomfort. As a knee scope is a surgical procedure, as minimal as it is, will still require rehab and rest. He will have to ensure that his knee does not swell up frequently and can adjust to game time activity. Regardless, this is not a good start to Vallejo’s rookie campaign.

Those cleared for full practice were as follows: TE Charles Clay (shoulder), CB E.J. Gaines (shoulder), OT Cordy Glenn (foot), RB LeSean McCoy (wrist/groin), and FB Mike Tolbert (knee). In my previous article, Gaines and McCoy sustained injuries in the win over the Jets that knocked McCoy out briefly and knocked Gaines out for the game. Gaines’ injury was not reported to be serious and does not appear to have any long lasting effects. McCoy is worrisome as he is the force that drives the offense. McCoy stated after the game that he did not injure his wrist severely, but that it went numb briefly during the previous run into the end zone. It has also been reported later that he is dealing with a groin injury that was most likely sustained in practice. While he is a full participant, this is still something that must be watched due to requiring the groin to be ready for bursts and cutting, moves especially crucial to any running back.

Other injuries including Glenn, Tolbert, and Clay do not appear to be serious. While Glenn continues to have issues with his foot, it appears to now be different from the ankle injuries he dealt with at the beginning of training camp. There is not much information regarding the exact ailment; he is able to play, splitting time with Dion Dawkins to keep both lineman fresh and healthy. Clay and Tolbert did not appear to be removed from the Jets game for injury, possibly indicating that they are banged up due to the physical nature of the game. As practice is important, rest is more important. Teams under the current CBA are allowed 14 padded practices during the first 11 weeks of the season and coaches are not required to use all of them. I believe that McDermott will limit padded practices and provide maintenance days for veterans, focusing on proper play calling, technique, and keeping everyone healthy to maintain depth.

The Bills certainly have a winnable game later today. Cam Newton is coming off a rotator cuff tear repair which should not limit him physically, but the rust was evident in Week 1. Add in the fact that McDermott knows the nuances of the Carolina defense and personnel, expect to see the Bills to exploit those weaknesses. Continue to look for updates after the game with injury review, analysis around the league of significant injuries, and any other big news. Thank you for your time and Go Bills!

Week One Recap-Jets

Breaking down the Week One Bills victory over the New York Jets and Bills injuries sustained during today’s contest.

Football is back and Week 1 is in the books! With a solid 21-12 win over the NY Jets, the Bills sit atop of the AFC East due to the Patriots loss Thursday night and Miami not playing due to Hurricane Irma. While it may be short lived, we must enjoy it while we can. The Bills running game looked solid, gaining nearly 200 yards on the ground and moving the ball well throughout the game. As this is an injury blog, I will be reporting the injuries sustained to the Bills during today’s win.

Prior to the game, inactives were Khari Lee, Vladmir Ducasse, Kaelin Clay, Tanner Vallejo, Greg Mabin, Jerel Worthy, and Conor McDermott. Worthy is still in the concussion protocol following the 4th preseason game and Vallejo is out with a knee injury that not much is known about.

During today’s game, only two Bills went down with injury that are worth noting. Early in the 4th quarter, LeSean McCoy dove for the end zone and came up appearing to injure his left wrist. He initially looked to be in significant pain and was assessed in the trainer’s tent. McCoy eventually came out 15 minutes later and appeared to not harbor any ill effects from the injury. More may be known over the next several days, but considering that he reentered the game so quickly signifies that this shouldn’t cause any long term problems.

Shortly after McCoy went down, E.J. Gaines went down with 11 minutes left with a shoulder injury. While there is no video that is available to truly assess what happened, it appeared that it shook up Gaines as he walked on the sidelines with trainers. It appeared that a trainer was assisting in supporting the left shoulder which may indicate instability. Without seeing video, my initial diagnosis may be a sprained shoulder due to direct impact. I expect to have a more concrete diagnosis in the coming days as more information becomes available.

While this is not an injury that occurred during today’s game, I would like to note that rookie Dion Dawkins shared reps with Cordy Glenn throughout today’s game. This was most likely done to expose Dawkins to the pro game along with limiting stress on Glenn’s ankle/foot, which has been well documented, including one of my first posts. I expect to continue to see Glenn dealing with this injury throughout the season and share time with Dawkins in order to keep both lineman healthy.

Buffalo continues to minimize the injuries and keep starters healthy on the field. As expected, there were other injuries around the league including: Jaguars Allen Robinson (Knee), Ravens Danny Woodhead (Hamstring), Cardinals David Johnson (Wrist), and former Bill, now Eagles Ronald Darby (Ankle) all exiting the game. Add in Chiefs Eric Berry (Torn Achilles) and Patriots Danny Amendola (Concussion) from Thursday’s game and there is already a sizable injury list with the afternoon games yet to be played.

Overall, it was a great day for the Bills getting their first win and minimizing injury. This allows them to bring a healthy roster into their Week 2 match up against Cam Newton and the Panthers. While this was a great start to the season over a hapless Jets team, I expect a much tougher test against McDermott and Beane’s former employer. I will continue to provide updates and detail E.J. Gaines injury once more information is know. Thank you for reading and continue to check back for further updates!

Retrospective: Kevin Everett

Looking back on the 10 year anniversary of TE Kevin Everett sustaining a nearly fatal spinal cord injury and his miraculous recovery

Ten years ago today, September 9th, 2007 was going to be a day just like any other in Buffalo Bills history. It was the season opener for the Bills against the Denver Broncos. It was the first games for Marshawn Lynch and Paul Posluszny and a slow start into the 2nd season of the Dick Jauron era. The Drought was 7, going on 8 years after that season and still to this point hasn’t stopped. But on this date in 2007, TE Kevin Everett of the Buffalo Bills nearly died on the field of Ralph Wilson Stadium.

At the beginning of the 2nd half kickoff, Everett was running downfield during kick coverage, attempting to tackle kick returner Domenik Hixon when Hixon collided with Everett’s head and Everett collapsed to the ground. There is video here to recount that moment. Up to that point, Everett was a 3rd year backup TE and special teams player, having only recorded 2 receptions for 4 years in his career.

Upon impact, Everett sustained direct compression to the cervical spinal cord, initially paralyzing him and at that moment, nearly killing him. Upon falling to the turf motionless, Everett sustained a dislocation of the cervical vertebrae at C3-C4. As the spinal cord travels through the cervical vertebrae, the dislocation compressed directly on his spinal cord, which if left untreated, could have killed him. To educate how severe this injury could have been, the phrenic nerve is the nerve that innervates into the diaphragm which assists in breathing. The phrenic nerve is comprised of C3, C4, C5 within the cervical spine. This is right where the injury occurred, f that nerve were to be severely damaged or severed, the body would lose the ability to breath.

The cervical vertebrae that were damaged assist in maintaining neck posture, supporting the weight of the head, and bend forward/backward, and sidebend the neck. Since the vertebrae dislocated over the vertebrae below it, this placed a significant pressure on the spinal cord, leading to immediate disruption to the functions below the area and without quick action, could cause lasting injury. The only reason this injury was not worse was the fact that there was not a severance of the spinal cord, leading to irreparable damage.

In another era, Kevin Everett probably would have died, at worst, been a paraplegic, due to the damage sustained. Thankfully, he sustained the injury where he did and was able to get the assistance he needed right away. Dr. Andrew Cappuccino assisted in stabilizing the injury and applying cold therapy to the body. This is very similar to placing ice on a sprained ankle after injury. The idea was that if cold was applied to the spinal cord, this would reduce the chances of immediate swelling to the injured area, leading to reduced long term damage.

Cappuccino’s theory appeared to work as while Everett’s prognosis was initially grim, it rapidly improved once surgery was completed to stabilize the cervical region. On December 23rd, he was able to eventually walk at the end of the season when the Bills played the NY Giants at Ralph Wilson Stadium. With quick thinking by the right doctors, the lack of spinal cord severing, and determination, Everett was able to regain walking and a significant portion of his mobility. Many other people in his situation may have died or been paralyzed for life.

It is hard to believe that it is 10 years since Kevin Everett sustained his neck injury. There is not many articles regarding life for Everett following his injury. Most articles state that he has begun raising his family with his wife and participated in speaking engagements. The Buffalo News did an article on Everett and his family several years ago, detailing the long term effects of the injury.

As we get further away from that moment in time, it slowly becomes a footnote in history. My goal with today’s post was to bring it to the forefront, even just for a brief moment. While as a professional and fan, I pray this never happens to any player again. As fans, we know that football is a violent sport, there are risks both short and long term. It is important that we recognize that a player’s career and possibly even life, could end in a moment on the field. As we all sit down to watch the Bills home opener against the Jets on Sunday, remember Kevin Everett and the events of 10 years ago.

2017 NFL Preseason Injury Breakdown

Final analysis of the 2017 NFL Preseason Injury Breakdown. Looking at the injuries that occurred, how many service years, position, and by team.

As promised, the long awaited preseason breakdown! This article has been difficult to write due to accuracy and constant changes. As the first game of the NFL season has already been played by the time of this publication, I can say these are the final numbers. At the end of the day, the NFL is a business, players are looking for jobs, and something as simple as an injury can derail those prospects. The intended purpose of this article is to identify types of injuries, breakdowns involving teams, years played, and when the injury occurred. At the beginning of training camp, at least 2,880 players vie to make an NFL roster. Of those 2,880 players, only 1,696 reach their goal. That’s only 59% of the players that make it. This doesn’t account for all those who were unfortunate enough to be injured, cutting short their chances even before they had a shot.

As of 9/8/17, 328 players have sustained some sort of injury during the preseason that has sidelined them to either miss significant time or season ending. Of those that had sustained significant injury, 211 went to IR, 117 went to IR with an injury settlement which meant that once healthy they could sign with another team. Out of those 117, 3 players have already resigned with different teams. To understand what an injury settlement means, please check out this article.

Out of the reported injuries, the knee was the most common body area for injuries. 66 players sustained injuries which includes 29 ACL tears with a scattering of general knee injuries and meniscus, other ligament damage, or patellar tendon tears. This was followed by 31 ankle injures, 29 thigh injuries mostly consisting of hamstring strains, and 23 shoulders consisting of generalized shoulder injuries. Following up the breakdown of injuries, 21 arm injuries consisting of arm, elbow, wrist, hand, finger; 15 head injuries consisting of concussions, 13 back injuries consisting of disc issues; 12 hip injuries consisting of groins, and finally 8 lower leg injuries with mostly fractures. The remaining injuries were 32 undisclosed and 59 unknown.

Some of the teams were hit harder than others with the injury bug. Leading the way with injuries was the Colts with 17. Following close behind with 16 was the Jaguars and with 15 was the 49ers and Ravens. Tied for 14 are the Texans and Panthers. This was followed by the Giants with 13; Titans, Jets, Chargers, and Bears with 12. The teams with the least amount of injuries were the Broncos, Vikings, and Raiders with 5 and Packers with 6. As this is a Bills blog, the Bills finished with 8 players injured. Most Bills players were waived with injury settlements which meant that had they not gotten injured, they may have been cut.

During this analysis of player injuries, the highest number of injuries by position was at WR with 60. This was followed by LB at 49, CB at 40, followed up by TE at 28, and S at 26. The least hurt position was K with 0 and P with 1. Considering that the highest injuries involved positions with a wide variety of high impact movements, this is not surprising. Overall, 162 Defensive players were injured, 162 Offensive players were injured, and 4 special teams injured.

It was found that if a player was new to the league, the chances of injury were drastically higher. Out of the years of service, 100 rookies were injured, 70 2nd yr players. 58 3rd yr players, and 37 4th year players. According to ESPN, the average NFL career is about 3.3 years. Out of the 328 players injured, 265 fell in that time frame which accounted for nearly 81% of injuries.

Finally, while there is little information on when the injuries occurred, I was able to find that as the preseason wore on, injures increased. Preseason game 1 brought 19 injuries. Game 2 brought 12, Game 3 brought 24, and Game 4 brought 31. There has been talks to reduce preseason games, reducing the last 2 games alone would reduce 54 injuries or 16.7% of injuries in the preseason. Many more occurred in practice or in an unknown, but NFL setting.

Going down the rabbit hole, out of the 29 ACL tears, 11 were rookies. Looking at other injuries, no other trends stood out that was alarming; a variety of hamstring, foot, ankle, and concussions. Out of 2nd year players, 6 had ACL tears, but no one other group of injuries lead the way. Looking at 3rd year players, 4 ACL tears occurred with no other significant injuries noted. So to recap, 21 of the 29 ACL injuries were sustained by players 3 years or younger in the league. This brings up the question, are these players coming into the league not physically prepared? Are they not adapting to the increased speed of game play? What is the root cause? I do not have the answers at this time.

Finally, out of the ACL tears, the 49ers and Patriots were hit hardest with 3 players lost for the season with ACL tears. There were several other teams with 2 which included the Bears, Dolphins, Ravens, Seahawks, and Texans. For 29 tears over the course of the preseason between 32 teams, 7 teams accounted for 18 of the 29 ACL tears which comes out to 62% of the tears this preseason alone. Once again, what are the factors behind this? Coaching? Field surface? Luck? Many different factors at play.

I know that this breakdown only scratches the surface of the injuries during the preseason. I know that further analysis can be inferred from the raw data. At the end of the article, the raw data will be available for you to analyze and process at your own leisure. If there are any questions, comments, or concerns, please message me and I will get back to you. Thank you for reading and please continue to come back for further information! Future articles will consist of revisiting the Kevin Everett cervical injury 10 years ago and injury breakdown following Bills-Jets game.

NFL Training Camp Injuries 2017