Bills Season Injury Review- Tight Ends

Bills season injury review at the TE position & how much the position will turn over in 2019!

The 2018 Buffalo Bills tight end position suffered mightily as the result of the anemic passing game and as a result, will lead to significant overhaul going into 2019. The overall stats for the tight end position were 89 targets for 61 receptions for 525 yards and 1 TD. Those stats alone aren’t fantastic for one player, let alone an entire platoon for a team. Today’s post will review the injuries sustained during the 2018 season and how this will affect 2019.

First up is TE Khari Lee. The veteran end has been in the league since 2015 in mostly a special teams role with Chicago, Detroit, and Buffalo. Lee spent part of the 2017 season with Buffalo followed by 2 games during Week’s 3 & 4 in which he recorded 1 target for 1 reception for 5 yards and 0 TD’s. While his presence was more felt on special teams and as a blocking end, his offensive production did not warrant his continued presence on the roster. He did not suffer any injuries and depending how things shake out, he could be back in Buffalo if the front office sees any value in him.

Next player up is TE Logan Thomas. The converted QB to TE had his most productive season to date after entering the league in 2016 with Arizona. Thomas appeared in 12 games with 3 starts amassing 17 targets for 12 receptions and 77 yards with 0 TD’s. The converted tight end was able to stay relatively healthy all season minus a minor hamstring strain in practice prior to the Lions game which caused him to miss only one game which was more out of precaution due to the relatively acute nature of the injury. This is also an injury that should not carry over into next season. As Thomas is a restricted free agent, it will be curious whether the Bills retain his services going into 2019. Right now, the Bills have right of first refusal in the event that another team offers him a contract. If he gets a contract and the Bills refuse to match, they would receive a 4th round pick from that team in return for the upcoming draft. Knowing this information, I can certainly see why the Bills are in no rush to offer Thomas a contract, hoping that they can bait another team to offer him. If this plan does not work, I would strongly suspect that the Bills retain his services going into 2019.

The player who disappointed the most was TE Charles Clay. His stat line was as follows: 13 games, 12 starts, 36 targets, 21 receptions, 184 yards, 0 TD’s. I hate to be blunt, but this is terrible for any veteran player, regardless of contract status. For someone who has been in the league for 8 years, he has had his share of injuries, but he just failed to produce all together. He suffered ankle and shoulder injuries early in the season that landed him on the injury report but did not miss anytime. He did miss 2 games due to a hamstring string early in the loss to Chicago. Other than the hamstring, he was relatively healthy, just was far from productive. His defining moment of 2018 was missing the winning TD catch against the Dolphins in the end zone which summed up how things went this year.

Over Clay’s playing career, he has had a long history of knee and hamstring injuries that caused him to miss time nearly every season. He has also had a smattering of back and ankle injuries that do not appear to be recurring but even though Clay did not miss a lot of games during his career in Buffalo, it always seemed like there was a constant problem he was dealing with which aggravated fans. No one can play forever, but it will be curious to see whether Clay can rebound from the poor season he had in 2018 with a fresh start in Arizona, hoping the dry heat can help keep him healthier. Considering the Bills released him due to not living up to his contract, he will not be in a Bills uniform again anytime soon. He has shown the ability to be productive as evident by his first 3 seasons in Buffalo, but his time in the NFL may be ending unless he finds the fountain of youth.

Finally, the most productive tight end for the Bills in 2018 was TE Jason Croom. The converted wide receiver to tight end was able to put up decent numbers including 15 games, 3 starts, 35 targets, 22 receptions, 259 yards, 1 TD. While these are far from eye popping, they paced the tight end group in his first full year in the NFL. Injury wise, Croom suffered several injuries this season including a low ankle sprain in the preseason against the Browns, a knee injury during practice early in the season prior to the Vikings game, and a mild groin injury suffered in the loss to the Dolphins which caused him to miss one game. Groin injuries can linger if not dealt with properly but as he sat out and did not deal with it for the remaining games, it appears to be a non-issue going into 2019. Considering Croom is the only tight end under contract right now, it is strongly assumed that he will return. However, I do not believe that he will be the top option for the Bills going forward, but will continue to hopefully grow into the position.

Overall, I expect Croom and hopefully Thomas to return in 2019. I expect the Bills to address the position in both the draft and in free agency as there has been much talk regarding how OC Brian Daboll likes to work 2 TE sets in his offense. Considering the money the Bills have to spend this off-season, I expect them to pay a mid level player a decent contract to help give QB Josh Allen another weapon along with drafting some young talent in order to build towards the future. This is one position that will be nearly turned over, but one that is sorely needed.

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 16 Bills Injury Review- Patriots

Read the latest injuries to Julian Stanford and Deonte Thompson following the loss to the Patriots.

The Bills came into the Patriots game with a lot of hope that this was going to be the beginning of the end of the dynasty. While the pass defense did hold Tom Brady in check, the run defense did not do their part and offensively, never really got going. The only upside to the 24-12 loss is that the carnage of the past two weeks injury wise appeared to simmer down and allow the Bills to play with a mostly healthy roster of what’s left. Today’s post will dive into the injuries and what they mean going forward into the final game against Miami.

Those ruled out prior to the game were CB Ryan Lewis (concussion), RB Chris Ivory (shoulder), and TE Charles Clay (healthy scratch). Lewis is limited but still working through concussion protocol; there is a realistic chance that he is able to play next week if cleared. Ivory is still dealing with a shoulder injury that has kept him out the past 2 weeks. He is able to practice in full but still questionable which makes me believe that pain and shoulder function appear to be the main limiting factors. I still believe he’s dealing with an AC joint sprain that he keeps re-aggravating. It is quite possible he is dealing with a torn labrum, strained/torn rotator cuff, or nerve issue, but if he was dealing with the previously mentioned issues, the team would want to get surgery done in order to have him be healthy in time for training camp as he still has one year left on his deal. Thankfully, the team has reported that he should be in good shape this week which indicates that he may be ready to play the season finale.

As for TE Charles Clay, it appears the writing is on the wall. There is a strong youth movement on this team and Clay has not been producing. While his availability would have been beneficial on Sunday, he still has not produced to the level that his contract dictates. He does have a spotty injury history plus his age does not make him a viable candidate to finish out his contract and the team take a cap hit. Pending other offensive weapons availability, he may be inactive for the season finale.

Those injured on Sunday included LB Julian Stanford (ankle) and WR Deonte Thompson (right toe). LB Julian Stanford (ankle) sustained an injury to his ankle on a punt return with 5:50 left in 1st quarter. Upon video review, there is concern for a high ankle sprain as he was hit from behind and a body fell onto his right leg with foot in eversion or turned out. However, video is very poor and there were not any additional angles at time of writing. Considering he was questionable, eventually downgraded to out with the team reporting an ankle injury makes me believe the injury is more severe than an inversion sprain. There has not been any additional reports that state that he suffered any fractures, but it appears his season may be done even with a mild high ankle sprain. It was reported that he would not practice Wednesday which indicates that he is not going to IR but his availability will be determined by practice this week.

WR Deonte Thompson (toe) suffered a toe injury with 11:10 left in 3rd quarter. Thompson sustained the injury attempting to catch a pass when DB Johnathan Jones tackled him early, falling on his feet before Thompson took another step in vain to catch the ball. Thompson came up and began hopping on his left leg before going down to take his right shoe off. He was later taken into the medical tent and the sideline reporter initially reported a right ankle injury that was taped up. However, he was unable to return for the remainder for the game. The team later designated him with a toe injury. There are several possibilities for injury including turf toe, plantar plate injury, midfoot sprain or fracture. The most likely ones are turf toe or plantar plate. This is supported by the fact that the team taped up the area and he tested it out which indicates that a fracture or midfoot sprain was likely ruled out.

The mechanism of injury also supports either injury due to Jones falling on his foot as he was running forward, placing his toes into hyperdorsiflexion. In the event of turf toe, this is when the great or big toe is placed into hyperdorsiflexion with a force placed through the heel, pushing the toe past its normal limits. These are unfortunately common in football players and would greatly affect Thompson’s ability to push off during walking/running and make pivoting very difficult.

There is also concern for a plantar plate injury as the mechanism is similar in presentation to the turf toe. The difference is that this affects the attachment point that connects the plantar fascia to the metatarsals which are the smaller toe bones of the foot. To understand why this is possible a quick understanding of the plantar fascia must be understood. The plantar fascia connects from the heel to the bottom of the toe bones or metatarsals and acts as a lever when we walk/run to allow us to have a rigid area to push off effectively. As the medial arch elongates due to weight bearing, the plantar fascia tightens and becomes rigid to allow effective push off and prevent the feet from flattening out further. The plantar plate acts as a bridge between the plantar fascia and bones and also acts as a transverse attachment to prevent the foot from splaying out during push off.

It is difficult to identify which injury occurred without more information or physical examination. Both injuries would present with immediate pain/swelling with palpation, loss of range of motion, possible deformity if injury is severe along with bruising. Either way, it would be difficult for Thompson to play this upcoming game unless either injury is very mild. Reports indicates that he was not practicing Wednesday. In the event that Thompson is unable to play, this might allow WR Ray-Ray McCloud to get one more shot to prove his worth to the team before the season is over. They also have WR Di’Mari Scott, WR Victor Boldin Jr, along with WR Cam Phillips and WR Tanner McEvoy on the practice squad if Thompson goes to IR. To note, Thompson was dealing with an Achilles injury earlier in the week but that issue would not have any bearing on this most recent injury.

Going into the final game of the season, the Bills host the Miami Dolphins in the friendly confines of New Era Field with favorable weather conditions suited for the Bills. I believe the Bills can overcome the special teams mistakes of the first meeting resulting in a loss, finding a way to win, and finish 6-10. The team can then move into the offseason focused on how to find the best players in both free agency and the draft in order to build the team that is envisioned to compete for division, conference, and Super Bowl titles.

I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and glad that you all made it to the end of another disappointing Bills season. Continue to follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills, and online at http://www.bangedupbills for the latest updates and news coming out of One Bills Drive. Thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 13 Bills Injury Preview- Dolphins

The latest Bills injuries going into Week 13 agains the Miami Dolphins.

The Bills are on a two game winning streak and getting healthy! As they travel down to balmy Miami for Sunday’s matchup, they do so with nearly their entire roster available and an offense starting to find its groove. Today’s post will review the injuries going into Sunday’s game.

Already ruled out is G John Miller (oblique). The veteran guard suffered an oblique injury late in the 1st half of the win over the Jaguars and did not return. Since Sunday, he has been unable to participate in practice which due to the location of the injury, is not surprising. As obliques are vital to the duties of his position in relation to bending forward, twisting, and pushing, it is already known that he he will not suit up Sunday. Even if the Bills were in the thick of a playoff race, this injury would sideline the big man for at least a week. Expect Miller to miss 1-2 games due to this injury. Starting in his place may be G Jeremiah Sirles who has shown effective play in limited time this year.

QB Derek Anderson (concussion) has also been ruled out due to continued symptoms of a concussion sustained during the Monday Night Football game against the Patriots. The more we know about concussions, the greater understanding we have of its effects. This is why Anderson’s symptoms are not concerning overall because we know that the brain heals at different rates and each concussion is unique. However, I do believe that if Anderson wasn’t mentoring QB Josh Allen, he would have been placed on IR long ago. As he is limited, there is hope that he will be able to practice in full next week and at least be available game day in Week 14.

TE Charles Clay (hamstring) has been ruled questionable, which in the case of Bills players ruled questionable, whether they play is ~50% based on this season statistics. I believe Clay will play as he’s missed several games, he has given his injury ample time to heal, and if this video is any indication of his abilities, then I am fairly confident that he will play against his old team. Add in the fact that he will be playing in 85 degree weather will help the muscles warm up easier and stay warm, reducing the incidence of re-injury during the game. I also believe that he will want to hang some stats on his old team to let them know what they lost.

Others dealing with injury coming off the report this week are CB Lafayette Pitts (concussion) & CB Taron Johnson (shoulder). Pitts suffered a hard hit to his head on a punt return early in last weeks win and was unable to finish playing. He has since been cleared to play in full and will continue to be a key piece in secondary depth and on special teams.

Johnson continues to deal with his injured right shoulder which he will eventually require surgery on the torn labrum. He has been quite effective despite being limited but has a much higher risk to be re-injured during hard hits. Hopefully he can get through these remaining 5 games and then work hard on recovering fully for training camp.

Fortunately, the Bills are in much better shape health wise than the Miami Dolphins who have been hit hard by injuries which may limit their ability to effectively play both sides of the ball despite having home field advantage. The relative lack of injuries for the Bills has been a key reason why the Bills have been able to stay in more games and build for the future effectively as they are not relying on 2nd and 3rd string players starting for significant chunks of the season. I hope this trend continues in a positive direction with next year allowing the Bills to bring in some top end talent they are sorely missing this year.

As an eternal optimist, I believe the Bills will win this one against the Dolphins. However, coming off two straight wins may set the Bills up for a trap game and they could lose a very winnable game. Even though each win represents a worsening draft position, these young Bills must know how to win now to win bigger games later.

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

Week 12 Bills Injury Preview- Jaguars

Read on the latest injuries coming off the bye as the Bills get ready to face the Jaguars.

I hope you all enjoyed your week free of Bills football along with Thanksgiving! As a devoted Bills fan, make sure you are recharged and ready to hunker down to take on the last 6 games of this season. This season has been a dramatic step back from last season’s successes and while it is tough to see that the Bills lose more than they win, they are still building towards something greater than the 2018 season. Regardless of outcomes, I do I enjoy watching the Bills every Sunday and today’s post will review the injuries going into the Jaguars game.

Those coming off injury from the Jets game include LB Matt Milano (concussion) & CB Taron Johnson (shoulder). Milano has cleared the concussion protocol and practiced in full which is an excellent sign and should continue his stellar 2nd season as an integral part of the defense. As for Johnson, unfortunately suffered another injury to his right shoulder in where he continues to sublux/dislocate his shoulder during direct blows to the area. He was observed to not wearing his shoulder harness during the Jets game which reduces the shoulder movement in order to limit dislocation which may have resulted in the most recent re-injury. The direct hits to the shoulder continue to dislodge the humerus from the socket, causing pain, weakness, and limited strength. This in turn has caused him to miss short stretches of the season. This is something that he will continue to play through until he feels he cannot anymore or until the end of the season, whichever comes first. He was limited in practice this week and will continue to play at less than 100% until he gets surgery to correct the problem. To note, we have full confirmation of his shoulder injury based on GM Brandon Beane’s appearance on One Bills Live this afternoon, outlined in this tweet here. I expect that Johnson will still suit up come Sunday.

Others practicing in full include RB Chris Ivory (shoulder) and QB Josh Allen (elbow). Ivory was dealing with a left AC joint sprain that caused him to miss the Jets game after suffering the injury during the loss to the Bears. He should have no limitations on Sunday and relieves RB LeSean McCoy as a change of pace back. Allen has been a big talking point when it comes to injury this season, missing 4 games due to the sprained right UCL suffered in the loss to the Texans. He has progressed as expected; Allen himself has reported that his elbow continues to feel better and news reports are showing him making all his passes without obvious compensation. Interestingly, he is still wearing a brace on his right elbow which does concern me, but he may play with the bracing on the elbow as he may be comfortable with the throwing motion with it on. I would prefer to see him play without it, but the medical staff knows best and will ensure that he will minimize re-injury. The only benefit to the brace would be to provide protection in case of a direct blow to the area. While he could re-injure it throwing, the chances are significantly reduced as he has given himself an appropriate time to heal to where he is able to play at a high level. He may not be 100% healed but enough that the medical staff feels he can perform without causing further injury. 

Others limited in practice include: C Russell Bodine (shoulder), QB Derek Anderson (concussion), and DE Trent Murphy (knee). I am not sure what Bodine did to his shoulder as he did not appear to require medical attention during the Jets game but this could be an injury sustained in a previous game with re-aggravation or could be a new injury. Until we have more information, I cannot even speculate what he is dealing with.

Anderson continues to battle back from the concussion sustained late in the 4th quarter of the Patriots loss on MNF. He has been slowly working his way back into shape with his limited designation, but is clearly not ready yet. Based on being limited, he appears to be in Stage 3-4 of the concussion protocol, allowing him to go through sport specific activities and perform aerobic activities. Unfortunately, he has since been ruled out for Sunday’s game, dealing with concussion symptoms for nearly a month now. While this is atypical from what we usually see during a concussion recovery, this would be considered normal for concussion management outside of the NFL as not all concussions are mild with a quick turnaround time. Hopefully he continues to improve and help Josh Allen develop.

Murphy continues to battle back from injury after injury. The latest injury is a right MCL sprain suffered halfway through the 4th quarter in the loss to the Colts. He has since missed 3 games and is slow to return but the vibe is that he will be ready come Sunday to help contain the rushing attack. The veteran DE has had 4 weeks to fully recover which is within the expected recovery times for an MCL injury. With his recent injury history, the Bills training staff were not in a position to rush him back and cause further complaints.

Those not practicing are TE Charles Clay (hamstring) and DE Shaq Lawson   (elbow). Clay pulled his hamstring running a route early in the Bears game and was unable to return. He since missed the Jets game and right now could potentially miss the Jaguars game. Lawson suffered an elbow injury during practice early in the week which makes it nearly impossible to diagnose. Reports indicate that he tweaked his elbow and is considered day-to-day. Until we get further information, I will not speculate as to what he is dealing with at the moment. 

Overall, while the list does look long, with QB Derek Anderson ruled out, TE Charles Clay is doubtful, and those questionable include: C Russell Bodine, CB Taron Johnson, DE Shaq Lawson, and DE Trent Murphy. Clay will not play and even if he somehow suits up, he will not be effective. Those questionable that I expect to play are Murphy and Johnson. We do not know whether Bodine or Lawson are ready to play based on the fact that we do not know the extent of their injuries. If they do indeed sit out, this fits with the roughly 50% of questionable’s not playing this year. I do have a feeling Lawson will be available.

With injuries beginning to take their toll, this is also the time of year where we begin to see players go on IR quickly if they have an injury that will take longer to heal than the remainder of the season so that the team can roster healthy players or guys they want to take a longer look at in game action. Do not be surprised if we see players such as QB Derek Anderson and CB Taron Johnson go on IR in the near future so they can fully address their medical complaints in order to be healthy next season.

Continue to follow for the latest updates and news coming out of One Bills Drive. Follow on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Facebook at Banged Up Bills, on reddit u/BangedUpBills, and online at http://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!!

Week 9 Bills Injury Recap- Bears

Read the latest about RB Chris Ivory’s shoulder injury, TE Charles Clay hamstring, and other concerns following the loss to the Bears.

This 2018 season is really testing our patience. 2017 was a new regime and we ended The Drought! After such a high, the 2017 off season saw several key players leave and well, we thought the team would take a step back. Though we expected this, we still go crazy with the results. I think what drives most of us nuts is how bad they have lost some of these games. They have not had a loss yet that came down to the final minutes nor have they had a loss that was defined by a single play or two. These losses have come during blow outs and mind numbingly horrible offense. Though the defense continues to hold their own, not even the best players in the league can play for 60 consecutive minutes of football; essentially what the Bills defense has been forced to do due to the ineptitude of the offense. Along with the lack of production, the Bills continue to lose offensive producers to injury. Today’s post will review the injuries sustained in the soul crushing loss to the Bears.

While the Bills did not lose much on Sunday, what they did lose was still painful. First up is TE Charles Clay (right hamstring). The veteran TE suffered the injury on the last Bills offensive possession in the 1st quarter running a route to the middle of the field. He appeared to slow down, turn to his right and begin to try and run towards where the play was taking place, but appeared to take a step and began limping. He was observed on the sidelines getting assessed and stretched by the training staff but was unable to return to the game. He suffered a hamstring strain that appears to be Grade 1 but will unfortunately cause him to miss some time. He has been since listed week to week.

Hamstring strains can and do happen at any point in the season but are more frequent early in the season as players are still ramping up into game shape. As this injury was in the 1st quarter and not the 4th, fatigue does not appear to be a contributing factor. He may have decelerated too fast and felt a pull when attempting to turn direction. Unfortunately, the video available is limited and the injury is subtle in nature, limiting the ability to confirm the specific action. This may have been an unfortunate circumstance or as the result of cumulative injuries as he’s had hip, ankle, and shoulder injuries this season along with a well known knee issue. If this upcoming game meant more or he was desperately needed, it’s possible he would be able to play, but considering he’s had several injuries already, he’s a veteran, and the bye is coming up, it would not make sense to rush him back out there. I’d expect him to miss next week with him coming back after the bye.

The other injury noted was RB Chris Ivory (left shoulder). He suffered his injury on a goal line plunge that was unsuccessful halfway through the 4th quarter. He got hit hard up in the air by LB Danny Trevathan and was stopped cold in his tracks. Ivory immediately went down and began motioning to his left shoulder, requiring assistance to get off the field and eventually carted to the locker room. There was initial speculation that he may have suffered a painful contusion but reports have since come out indicating that he suffered a shoulder sprain.

The most likely sprain that Ivory suffered is an AC joint sprain. The joint that is injured is known as the acromioclavicular joint which is near the top of the shoulder. This joint is made up of the distal or far portion of the clavicle and the acromion which is the hook portion of bone that creates the bony edge of the shoulder. This joint helps connect the shoulder to the thorax via the clavicle and allows for shoulder movement throughout its range. This allows for overhead, pushing, and pulling motions required for activities in every day life.

When a AC joint sprain occurs, the ligaments holding the clavicle and acromion together are damaged due to a direct blow to the shoulder, as in the case of Ivory. These types of injuries can also occur as the result of falling on an outstretched arm, or FOOSH injury. However, most of these injuries occur as direct blows and cause immediate pain and loss of function. This will be evident by the limitation in motion to the shoulder, pain with movement, possible visual deformity as the result of the clavicle rising up higher than the shoulder, and bruising. There are specific grades that allow us to identify the severity as seen below. While MRI may be helpful to identify specific ligament damage, a physical examination and x-ray will typically tell a medical professional the grade level. While we are unable to identify the grade level on Ivory as he had his shoulder pads on, my best guess is that he suffered a Grade 1-2 AC joint sprain which would put him at 2-4 weeks for recovery.

AC-Joint-Separation-Image.jpg
Credit: sportsinjuryclinic.net

Rehab will include rest and stretching to allow for proper healing to the area. Once he is able to move the arm without causing further discomfort, he will begin strengthening and stabilization activities to challenge the joint to perform its function and ensure proper healing to the area. These are injuries that a player can play through if minor enough, however considering the hit that Ivory suffered and the fact that he had to go to the hospital due to initial concern for internal organ damage makes me believe that this is not minor. I can realistically see Ivory missing next game and then using the bye week to recover fully enough to resume playing against the Jaguars. He may be healthy enough to return to play by that time but he may also have taping to the affected area to help provide some type of additional support in order to get through the game. There is a possibility that he will be out longer if the severity is worse than I anticipate, but this is not something that the team would consider placing him on IR at this time. Had he had a Grade 3-5 injury, reports would have surfaced and he would have most likely been placed on IR by this point.

Overall, this upcoming bye will be a welcome reprieve for this team trying to get healthy for the final stretch to salvage any respectability for this season. Ideally, most of those on the injury report will be healthy enough to return and play out the rest of the season. Fortunately, one player will not be completing the final home stretch of the season with the Bills. CB Phillip Gaines has been released with CB Levi Wallace replacing him on the roster. Gaines has been a liability all season and even in his absence due to injury, his replacements demonstrated why he was expendable on this roster. As a fan, I will not miss his giant pass interference calls giving the opposing offense an easy trip down the field.

This wraps up another post for Banged Up Bills injury review. 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 at u/BangedUpBills, and online at www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 5 Bills Injury Preview- Titans

Dissecting the latest injuries prior to the AFC matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

The Bills roll into Orchard Park with a 1-3 record and much to play for when they host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. While it is quickly becoming a reality that this team will not look like last year’s surprise playoff team; the fan base is still hoping that there are some positives that can be squeezed out of this season.

According to Friday’s injury report, no one has been ruled out prior to Sunday’s game. Three players have been ruled questionable including: S Rafael Bush (shoulder), S Micah Hyde (groin), and TE Charles Clay (ankle).

Reviewing video, Hyde’s injury was fairly straight forward, pulling his left groin midway through the 1st quarter attempting go upfield and get involved with the play, coming up lame. He was on the injury report the prior week with a toe injury but this is not something that would have caused compensation patterns leading to the injury. He simply performed a football move and it caught him. While he is questionable, he has not practiced all week which historically is not favorable when predicting whether he will play Sunday. He will realistically need at least one more week before he can even consider playing in a game. Expect him to miss this Sunday.

S Rafael Bush injured his shoulder on the last play of the 1st quarter tackling RB Aaron Jones out of bounds. He injured his left shoulder when he got spun around off Jones, falling directly onto his shoulder without having the ability to brace for the fall. He was able to play the rest of the game but was not really directly involved in many plays regarding physical contact after that. His injury was not immediately apparent until reported on the injury report Tuesday. I believe he suffered an AC joint sprain or possible contusion to the general area. Other possibility of a SC joint sprain, though less likely. Typical mechanisms of injury are similar to what was described above; a direct blow to his shoulder. Considering that he was able to play the rest of the game, but take the entire week of practice off suggests that it is a mild sprain/contusion that may take a week to heal.

From my previous article from the Tampa Bay game last year, edited for relevancy:

“On average, the Grade 1 shoulder sprain that Bush possibly could have sustained typically takes 9.8 days to fully recover from according to Dr. David Geier. He will be at day 7 by kickoff Sunday, which may affect his ability.”

It’s possible that he could play, but not practicing all week may have allowed him to heal in order to play, but more realistically, he is not quite ready for contact. Like Hyde, he was unable to practice which almost certainly seals his fate.

TE Charles Clay suffered an ankle injury that on film did not appear serious. He had a Packers defender falling to the ground and fell into Clay’s ankle while he was trying to get out of the way. He was able get the ankle taped up, continue playing and finish the game. It appeared that he got his ankle rolled up on or tweaked as a result. While he was limited Wednesday, did not practice Thursday, he was able to practice in full Friday which is a strong indicator that he will play. In addition to the ankle, he is also dealing with previous shoulder and hip issues from the previous game. He is also a veteran and requires more maintenance which is why he is unable to practice during the week yet play Sunday’s. I would expect him to suit up to be QB Josh Allen’s safety valve.

Other injuries on the report include RB Marcus Murphy (rib), and DE Shaq Lawson (hamstring). Murphy appears to have a generalized rib injury that cost him last week but it appears healed enough to perform this week. Hopefully it is a contusion that continues to heal rather than a broken rib. Lawson missed two games with his hamstring strain and while he did play the entire game, he may have developed soreness as a result, requiring conservative maintenance on it so as to not further irritate the healing tissues. While it is possible to re-injure the area, giving it rest through the week gives him the best shot to play at 100% Sunday.

Others dealing with injury but did not make the injury report: RB LeSean McCoy (ribs/hand), CB Taron Johnson (shoulder), and CB Phillip Gaines (elbow). McCoy has been dealing with cracked rib cartilage that is physically impossible to be healed yet which still limits him despite what he says otherwise. However, reports indicated that he injured his left hand with it visibly wrapped up after the game. Film review was inconclusive whether he suffered any particular injury. To note, he was able to demonstrate effective ball safety, gripping the ball in each hand respectively without compensation during his limited playing time.

CB Taron Johnson has been a bright spot in the defense 4 games into his rookie year. However, he continues to deal with a shoulder injury that appears to be a torn labrum in his right shoulder. This is evident with the use of visible bracing on the right side, he continually injures the area on hard hits but is quicker to return in the game, and the original mechanism of injury. He can continue to play on the shoulder but eventually he may require surgery for long term correction. Until then, he has altered his tackling style, he is wearing bracing, and I’m certain he is doing rehab to strengthen the surrounding muscles around the joint in order to get through the season.

Finally, CB Phillip Gaines is coming off a right dislocated elbow that forced him to miss one game. However, he was inactive despite practicing in full the week of the Packers game which indicated that he may have been held out due to personnel needs rather than injury. Regardless of reason, the extra time off allowed him to heal even more and he may not require any bracing given the time frame.

Overall, anticipate Hyde and most likely Bush to miss the Titans game with Clay playing with several nagging injuries. These thoughts are further solidified with the signing of S Dean Marlowe and releasing TE Khari Lee. This indicates that at least one safety is certain to miss and the thinning of the TE depth chart indicates Clay is playing. The others mentioned above are expected to play but have injuries that do not require treatment by training staff but could still limit their effectiveness. This game should allow the Bills to get their first home win of the season and move to 2-3 to maintain some level of respectability in the AFC.

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

Week 4 Bills Injury Review- Packers

Observing the multitude of injuries suffered by the Buffalo Bills in the loss to the Green Bay Packers.

After such a promising win last week against the Vikings, the Bills returned to their inconsistent ways. They limped out of Green Bay after a 22-0 loss and several injuries that could leave them vulnerable next week at home against the Tennessee Titans. Today’s article will review those injuries and the impact they have on next week.

Those coming off injury were RB LeSean McCoy (ribs), TE Jason Croom (knee), and DE Shaq Lawson (hamstring). All were able to play without limitation, though were not productive. Interestingly, CB Phillip Gaines (elbow) was ruled inactive despite practicing in full this week, indicating that it may have been a personnel decision rather than a medical one.

First up is S Micah Hyde who suffered a groin injury midway through the 1st quarter. He sustained the groin injury during a deep pass despite not being directly involved with the play. Film review shows that he injured his groin backpedaling, keeping up with TE Jimmy Graham. He then began redirecting his focus, turning right to change direction to catch up with the play on the left side and came up hobbling. It appeared that he pulled his left groin performing a move he’s done countless times, a football move, to put it simply. Hyde was able to walk off under his own power but had a noticeable limp, unable to return. It is unknown how severe the injury is; my guess is a Grade 1 groin injury, similar to what DE Trent Murphy sustained during preseason. Hyde could be out 1-3 weeks based on severity, more likely out 1-2 games due to the nature of his position. While stretching, strengthening, and a proper warm up routine can and do reduce the incidence of these injuries, there was nothing he could have done on this play to avoid it, just a hazard of the job.

Following the Hyde injury, CB Taron Johnson went down with a R shoulder injury though was able to return shortly later. He originally suffered the same injury in the season opener against the Ravens but has since re-injured his shoulder every game that he has played. He continues to re-injure by the same means; a direct blow to the shoulder during a textbook tackle.

Originally, my thoughts were a stinger due to the direct blow, but he has since been wearing a shoulder harness which indicates some type of shoulder instability seen in AC joint sprains or labral tears. As he continues to injure his shoulder in the same fashion, I am now suspecting a labral tear in his shoulder. His AC joint would have been improving weekly and would not have required a brace as he healed. He continues to require attention from the trainers after each hard hit but was able to return rather quickly to the game which is not uncommon after an injury such as his. He may have noticed pain and weakness to the area but still be able to play the position. Regrettably, Johnson may eventually require surgery similar to what WR Zay Jones had in the off season. It is possible to play with a torn labrum, but the more that the shoulder gets injured, the more damage occurs. During the hit, he is most likely subluxing his shoulder, or partially dislocating due to the direct blow to the shoulder. The more he subluxes, the more tearing/fraying that can occur to the labrum. He may reach a point where the shoulder becomes too unstable or fully dislocates with a hit which may necessitate surgery. He can play next week but his production may eventually suffer. I did note that he began changing his tackling style, leading with his left shoulder to force a QB Aaron Rodgers fumble, but this may not be the best long term solution to get through the season.

WR Kelvin Benjamin suffered a brutal hit to the head attempting to haul in a pass, instead was intercepted by CB Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Benjamin was blindsided and went to the ground immediately. He left the game after that hit and was assessed for a head injury but was cleared and returned to the game late in the 4th quarter, though wholly ineffective throughout Sunday, bringing in 1 pass for 35 yards. I don’t anticipate this being an issue this week.

TE Charles Clay suffered a left ankle injury late in the 3rd quarter which required the athletic trainers to tape up his ankle indicating some minor instability following a sprain. He would get the ankle taped up to control for any swelling and provide support so that he could continue playing for the rest of the game. Film review showed that he got his foot caught in bodies rolling on the ground as he tried to get out of the way. Expect him to wind up on the injury report this week with a variety of injuries that may force him into not participating or being limited. However, it is far too early to tell whether these injuries will culminate into missing game time. Prior to the injury, Clay was involved but limited in the passing game, hauling in 4 passes for 40 yards.

Other injuries that did not appear to be that severe included DE Eddie Yarbrough , OT Jordan Mills, and CB Ryan Lewis. During their respective injuries, they appeared to be banged up but were able to return to play indicating that these are injuries not to be concerned with. However, with how this game went, every injury was initially be thought as concerning until ruled otherwise.

Overall, a very tough loss to deal with but one that we should have saw coming. While there will be more bright spots this season, they will also come with bitter tastes left in our mouths in between. As a PT, I want to continue to see these Bills avoid serious injury in order to continue to gel as a unit rather than replacing guys to stop the bleeding from the loss of key starters in the future.

Continue to follow 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 http://www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 4 Bills Injury Preview- Packers

Assessing the latest Bills injuries prior to the Week 4 matchup against the Packers.

A lot can change in one week. Last week at this time we were hoping that we could stay competitive in a tough road game against the Vikings. After the major upset that the Bills pulled off in Minnesota, this has everyone thinking that they may be able to do it again in Green Bay. As I said last week, Any Given Sunday! Today’s post will look at the injury report and what this means going forward for player availability.

The biggest question going into Sunday’s matchup is whether RB LeSean McCoy (ribs) will be able to play. He has been limited all week due to the cracked rib cartilage sustained against the Chargers which forced him to miss last game. However, Shady has emphatically stated that he will play Sunday. He could reinjure the area leading to more pain and slowing down the already slow healing process. He could also cause additional damage to surrounding areas as the cracked cartilage does provide support to the area and instability within the area could lead to further injury. However, a veteran with as much time in the league as he has knows his body and whether he can be effective. He would probably benefit from additional time off, but he knows his remaining time in the NFL is fleeting and must make every opportunity count. Expect him to play this week.

RB Marcus Murphy (ribs) is also dealing with his injury that has had much less attention devoted to it than McCoy. He may be dealing with a rib contusion which could be expected to heal quicker than McCoy’s injury or even a fractured rib. As McCoy will play, RB Chris Ivory is healthy, this may allow Murphy to rest. I do not anticipate that Murphy will play considering he has been limited all week and that typically does not bode well for playing Sunday.

Others that are questionable are TE Jason Croom (knee) and TE Charles Clay (shoulder/hip). Both injuries are intriguing in that they were not reported during the game, it did not appear that they missed any time besides the plays/packages specifically designed for them, and it puts into question regarding whether they will be available for Sunday. Croom was able to practice in full on Wednesday with limitations Thursday & Friday makes me think he suffered an injury Wednesday which in turn will make it nearly impossible to identify the particular injury. As for Clay, he has a long documented history of knee troubles, however he now has shoulder and hip injuries. Looking at film, there is nothing that appears out of the ordinary with his play nor does he exit for long periods of time indicating that he is injured. While I consider myself an expert on injuries, I cannot state that I was able to determine what happened to either player. There were several instances where Clay was taken to the ground hard and it appeared that he was slow off the snap the next play but he was still able to block and run his routes without any noticeable compensation. This makes it difficult whether both him and Croom will play Sunday. Reports indicated that Clay sat out of practice this week in order to maximize the chances he could play Sunday. However, since this team is TE heavy, they could either roll with two tight ends and add some receivers or Clay could suit up and play.

Others returning to practice is CB Phillip Gaines (elbow). Recapping, he dislocated his elbow in the loss to the Chargers and missed last week’s game. I do not believe he is 100% healed, however, he must be feeling better enough that he can play. I see no reason why he shouldn’t play if he feels he is ready. He may have some protective bracing or compression to the area to prevent it from getting hit and swelling up again.

Also returning to the fold are DE Shaq Lawson and DE Trent Murphy. Lawson suffered a hamstring injury that cost him 2 games and Murphy suffered an ankle injury in the waning minutes of the Vikings win. Lawson appears healthy but may still be limited with situational play or snap count to not re-injure his hamstring and restart the process. Murphy on the other hand appears 100% and should not be limited getting into the backfield.

Overall, expect RB Marcus Murphy and TE Jason Croom to be inactive. While TE Charles Clay is limited, I expect that he will be more ready to play allowing the team to play TE Logan Thomas and TE Khari Lee. Despite the growing injury report, these are still relatively minor compared to some of the other injuries around the league.

Continue to follow 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 www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!!

Buffalo Bills Training Camp Injury Primer

Reviewing last season’s major injuries and how they will impact the 2018 season.

Training camp is upon us! Thursday is the first full day for the Buffalo Bills to begin training camp at St. John Fisher in suburban Rochester, NY. This training camp, as many others, will shape the 2018 roster. We will see new players rise up to the challenge and find themselves on an NFL roster. Others will experience the heartbreak of falling short of their dreams. Finally, we will see many players whose seasons will end before they even really began due to injury. Today’s post will review some of the high profile Bills players and their previous injuries and what this means going forward. If you would like to listen to the audio version of this article, I appeared on the Cover 1 podcast last night and discussed these injuries, check it out!!

First up is RB Travaris Cadet. The 6th year back was an effective backup behind RB LeSean McCoy and allowed the offense to keep defenses on their toes. Regrettably, Cadet fractured his ankle in a gruesome manner late in the season and was placed on IR. After an injury such as that, there are natural concerns for his ability to recover and rejoin the team. According to what we know regarding the timeline for his recovery, he is fully healed and videos such as this indicate that he is at full health. I do not believe his injury will hold him back; rather his skill may be the biggest detriment as the Bills have loaded themselves up on running back. Look for a full contribution from Cadet and time will tell whether he finds himself on the 53.

Next man up is WR Kelvin Benjamin. The gigantic wideout comes back to the Bills for the final year of his contract and his production this season will determine his future home. Fortunately, Benjamin comes into this season healthy after being limited with a partially torn meniscus sustained in the dumpster fire that was the Chargers game. The 4th year wideout had surgery in the offseason and while he may have issues well after his playing career, he should not have any setbacks in camp as the offending tissue has been excised and rehab fully complete. Hopefully he will have a QB that is more likely to throw, leading to a big season for Benjamin.

Continuing our trend of injured Bills, TE Charles Clay. The 7th year tight end suffered a partially torn meniscus and MCL tear in the loss to Cincinnati but was able to return down the stretch to push the Bills into the playoffs. Clay should not have any limitations following that injury going into training camp. However, he may continue to have issues with his chronic knee condition he has dealt with in previous seasons. I believe this will slow him down but as he has shown in previous seasons, it really does not stop his ability as he has been able to appear in at least 13 games every year over his career. He will need veteran rest days but should be fully healthy in training camp.

DE Trent Murphy enters his first training camp with the Bills after spending the first 4 years with the Redskins. Up until last year, Murphy had shown the ability to provide pressure on the end and get to the quarterback, racking up 9 sacks in the process in 2016. His 2017 season ended quickly with a torn ACL in the preseason opener and was lost for the season and released afterward. Typical ACL recoveries take roughly a year to return to full form and this is evident with Murphy starting the season on the active roster after being limited in OTA’s. He should not be limited due to his previous injury, but he still carries a higher risk to re-tear his graft or tear the other ACL for up to 2 years.

LB Ramon Humber is another veteran returning to camp this season. The 9th year linebacker had a hot start to his season before suffering a broken thumb in the win over the Falcons last season which cost him 3 games. He was able to return and still contribute, but rookie Matt Milano got some game time experience which allowed him to excel in McDermott’s defense and hold onto the starting job. Humber will continue to provide a veteran presence and leadership on this team going into 2018.

Newly acquired CB Vontae Davis comes from the Colts after an injury shortened season in where he suffered a sports hernia, limiting him to 5 games. Davis elected to take the surgery which led to his release from the Colts, but I believe that he made the right choice in order to extend his career. As indicated in the hyperlinked article, 90% of NFL players who suffer a sports hernia are able to return to the NFL after surgery. While talent may differ due to each player, the ability to come back at all is the most important thing. I believe Davis will not miss a step and will actually be an upgrade to former Bill CB E. J. Gaines.

Our final defensive player on this list today is LB Matt Milano. The rookie linebacker out of Boston College outplayed where he was drafted in the 5th round and provided a bright spot at what was a weak linebacker corps. Milano had issues with his hamstrings last season and continued to be limited during OTA’s. He should be at full health coming into training camp but should be eased in slowly, avoiding game speed reps until he is confident that he is ready. I do not expect him to fully avoid re-injury, but limit the severity of the strain if it does occur again. Look for another solid contribution this year barring major injury.

Rounding out this article is WR Zay Jones. The NFL has not been kind to the rookie WR so far in his young career, suffering what appeared to be the yips early in the season. We now know that this was attributed to a labral tear which limited his ability to catch effectively. He had surgery in late January and should be cleared medically. In addition, Jones also had surgery on his knee in mid May. As he was recently placed on the active/non-football injury list, this indicates this injury occurred in the off-season. Whether this is tied to the well publicized hotel incident is in question, we may never know. Once Jones is cleared medically for his knee, he should not have any further complications moving forward. He will need a big season to right the ship and maintain a long career in a Bills uniform.

This wraps up the the major injuries heading into training camp. We will begin to see a host of new injuries, some minor, some major, but Banged Up Bills will be here to report all of those! As a fan, I am looking forward to this upcoming season after such a memorable 2017. Continue to follow on Twitter @BangedUpBills and at www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!