Bills Injury Breakdown- Patriots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week 12 Injury Breakdown- Chiefs

Assessing the latest Buffalo Bills injuries prior to their Week 12 match up against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Another day down, another injury report released! November has not been a great month for the Buffalo Bills. Three straight losses have brought the Bills back down to earth and exposed flaws once thought hidden by the defense. Sunday’s upcoming game against the Chiefs doesn’t make anything easier especially with their recent signing of CB Darrelle Revis. However, the Bills continue to avoid major injury and key players have better injury outlooks than initially thought.

First up on the injury report with did not practice is WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), OT Dion Dawkins (illness), OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), and G John Miller (ankle). Out of these players, Dawkins is not of concern as he may have the flu. He may be limited but could still play if needed. Glenn continues to deal with his chronic issue and there is no timeline of whether he will be able to play. Miller continues to be hampered with an ankle injury, but as he has not been activated for most of this season; he continues to be a non-factor.

Benjamin is considered “day-to-day” according to McDermott in today’s press conference. As expected, McDermott gives little information other than what is required. Due to the impact during the injury, he may have a bone bruise or a mild sprain. An MRI would demonstrate no significant damage but would still show Grade 1 sprains which are relatively inconsequential. Based on the hit he sustained Sunday, I am still fairly confident that he will be at best questionable for Sunday and learning towards missing the next game.

Those limited in practice were TE Charles Clay (knee), K Stephen Hauschka (right hip), WR Jordan Matthews (knee), WR Deonte Thompson (ankle), and RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring). Clay is still dealing with his original knee injury from October and if he wasn’t pressed to help the offense, probably would have benefited from the extra time to recover as I originally stated. I suspect he is still dealing with some swelling and pain due to the high demands of the position. His play supported the decision to return but he may still not be at 100%. He did have an impact being out on the field Sunday and was a vital cog despite the low offensive output.

Hauschka is still dealing with his right hip injury which is described as soreness. It appeared he was able to perform all his kicking duties without compensation and this should not change Sunday’s outlook. It is unknown what Matthews is dealing with in his knee, but as he missed last game and was limited after today’s practice, this is a positive sign. It was mentioned in the past he has dealt with tendonitis which is still a possibility, but may have also been a mild knee sprain. Having Matthews back in the lineup if Benjamin is unable to suit up with gives QB Tyrod Taylor another weapon he is more comfortable with.

Thompson is limited with an ankle that was rolled up on attempting to catch a pass and was able to limp off. I anticipate that he will play Sunday with a heavily taped ankle and some good painkillers. Tolbert continues to be hampered by a hamstring injury sustained in the Saints game. However, with the performance of RB Tarvaris Cadet backing up RB LeSean McCoy, this may allow Tolbert to rest another week to ensure a full recovery.

Finally, those dealing with injury but able to practice in full include WR Andre Holmes (ankle) and S Micah Hyde (knee). This is promising as there was concern that Hyde would be limited following injury his knee during a tackle late in the game. Practicing in full indicates that these injuries are not worrisome and should not affect performance for Sunday.

One interesting note, typically Wednesday’s are reserved for veteran rest days and there were none listed. It may be possible that the veteran’s didn’t require a rest day or that McDermott wants to push these guys extra to shore up the weaknesses seen over the past several weeks. Either way, none of the injuries are severe, none are key losses which includes Benjamin as Tyrod has not built up the consistency that he has with his other receivers.

If this team has a playoff push in them, they have to win this next game in the always hostile Arrowhead Stadium and continue to stay relatively healthy. This roster is not snake bitten and if some of the flaws can be reduced, this team can play at a higher level than what we have seen. As Bills fans know, we continue to remain eternally optimistic and frequently let down. Things will change though; probably not this season, but this mediocrity has to end at some point.

Continue to check back for breaking news and game day updates/assessments by following me at @kyletrimble88 on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 11 Recap- Chargers

Assessing Kelvin Benjamin’s knee injury and other injuries following the Bills horrendous loss to the Chargers.

There are the Buffalo Bills we know and love! As Harry Dunne would say, Just when I thought you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this… and totally redeem yourself! Similar to the quote, we all thought the Bills couldn’t get any worse, they go and turn in Sunday’s performance against the Los Angeles Chargers with a loss of 54-24. Where is the team that started 5-2? Now they are 5-5, losing ground in the playoff race, losing respect, and embarrassing themselves. To add to it, several key players went out with injury and made for an incredibly long day.

First man up, WR Kelvin Benjamin left early in the 1st quarter with a knee injury after a 20 yard catch. Upon replay, Benjamin got hit at the knee with the knee hyperextending while his foot was planted, similar to the Zay Jones injury. Benjamin had to be assisted off the field to the medical tent. After examination, he had difficulty placing weight through his leg and had to be carted off to be done for the day. As there are reports that he escaped serious injury, this does not mean he will play immediately next week. He may have hyperextended his knee as the video shows and may have sustained a bone bruise.

As outlined in my contusion article, there are several types of bone bruises. Bone bruises are actually a type of fracture that is less severe than a true bone fracture that we all think of. Keeping it brief, there are 3 types of bone bruises: Sub-periosteal hematoma, inter-osseous bruising, and sub-chondral lesion.

Sub-periosteal hematoma occurs when a direct high force trauma occurs and blood forms under the periosteum, which is a membrane that covers the outside of the bone. Inter-osseous bruising occurs when the bone marrow of the bone becomes damaged, specifically the blood supply. This occurs as the result of a repetitive high compressive forces on the bone, such as excessive running or jumping. These are seen more common in the knees and ankles.

Sub-chondral lesions occur when the cartilage layer of the bone becomes damaged. This area is found at the end of the bone and is the part that articulates with another bone. An extreme crushing force or rotational/shearing force may also cause this, commonly seen in injuries such as ACL tears. ACL tears typically not isolated, but MCL damage, meniscus damage, and even a sub-chondral lesion due to the forces that occur on the joint during the injury also occur.

At this point, if there is a bone bruise, further imaging is required which has already involved X-ray to rule out fracture and MRI. Imaging supported today that there was no ligament damage which would most likely end his season. If I had to speculate the type, I would suspect sub-periosteal hematoma based on the mechanism of injury and inability to play through it.

Bone bruises are tricky because depending on extent of injury, he could be out for 2-3 weeks or be out for the year in the case of Sam Bradford of the Vikings. I could easily see Benjamin out for at least the next game if not the next two with the possibility to come back against the Colts if the diagnosis is correct.

Next up is S Micah Hyde who also sustained a knee injury early in the 3rd quarter. Hyde was injured while trying to make a tackle and injured his knee. Replays initially indicate that he sustained a direct helmet to helmet hit but upon further review, he injured his knee as he was falling to the field. As there is no video replay of the incident, I can not speculate on what occurred. Sean McDermott did state that Hyde would be alright and did not elaborate. Hyde did suffer a knee injury at the beginning of October and unknown whether it is related.

Finally WR Deonte Thompson injured his ankle trying to catch a ball towards the sidelines at the end of the 3rd quarter. It appeared that he had his ankle rolled up on. He was able to exit under his own power but was clearly not moving well after the injury. McDermott did not mention him during today’s press conference; I do expect him to show up on the injury report but observing how his ankle was rolled on, it should not be something which should affect him playing next week.

Prior to the game, T Cordy Glenn, WR Jordan Matthews, and FB Mike Tolbert were all ruled out which severely limited the depth available today. Considering how the offensive line played, the injuries sustained today, this whole team fell apart today. I have mentioned in previous articles that depth will be key down the stretch, but considering the starters can’t even play up to snuff, depth becomes irrelevant. The Bills are horrendous these past few weeks and something has to change.

Continue to check back regularly for articles updating the injuries as more information is released. Follow me at @kyletrimble88 on Twitter for the latest up to date information. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!

Week 7 Recap- Buccaneers

Breaking down the latest on EJ Gaines and Jordan Poyer injuries and following the exciting win over the Buccaneers.

The Buffalo Bills continue to thrill and excite the fan base with a fantastic 30-27 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! Despite giving up 27 points to the Bucs, the Buffalo defense made key stops including a late fumble recovery by Tre’Davious White to set up the game winning field goal. Buffalo is now 4-2, including 3-0 at home, making Sean McDermott the first Bills head coach to start 3-0 at home. These Bills continue to impress, but key injuries may derail the good times.

Thankfully, the Bills injuries continue to occur at a minimum, but injuries in the secondary may be ill timed with the Oakland Raiders offense coming to life. CB E.J. Gaines suffered a hamstring injury during a tackle on DeSean Jackson early in the 3rd quarter. Gaines was able to walk off on his own power but was unable to return. As reports are minimal at best to avoid giving a competitive advantage to their opponents, Gaines has been listed day-to-day. Based on this report, he may have suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain.

If you recall from my article on hamstrings, this is something that can be managed conservatively and is a week-to-week injury. It’s possible that he may be able to play in time for the Oakland game, but considering that Gaines had a hamstring injury in training camp and is just recently coming off a groin injury, this doesn’t bode well. Unfortunately, these are soft tissue injuries and while can be reduced, they are not fully preventable.

I would not hang the “injury-prone” tag on Gaines though at this time. During each time he has been injured, he has been going all out trying to make the play. I would rather have him go all out trying to make a play rather than a player taking it easy, such as CB Stephon Gilmore, who we dealt with for far too long last season. However, I believe based on all the previous history, he misses next week. As Brandon Beane has been known to do, he has been preemptive, signing CB Tony McRae and releasing WR Kaelin Clay with the uncertainty following the injury.

This signing was also made with the recent injury of S Jordan Poyer. His injury came on the last play of the game in which Tampa Bay attempted their pathetic imitation of the Music City Miracle. They were playing the Bills, you’re not going to fool them twice! Video of the play shows a player hitting Poyer low and Poyer reporting he felt a pop. Based on video, it appears he did injure his right knee, though the injury does not appear to be as severe as it could have been.

During the hit, Poyer was able to begin lifting his leg and turn his hip inward away from the hit, allowing him to deflect some of the force on the knee joint. As he was able to walk off with the trainers, this also indicates that this may be a Grade 1 MCL sprain. Thankfully, this MCL sprain is nowhere near the severity of the Charles Clay injury. I believe there is a better shot at Poyer playing Sunday than Gaines at the moment. This week’s practice will dictate how each player responds to the injury. I believe that the Bills could go without one of these players, but not both.

Finally, WR Jordan Matthews was able to suit up and play, recording 3 targets for 2 catches for 10 yards. While this is not the type of production the Bills had hoped for, this far exceeded expectations considering he is still coming off a broken thumb. It was a stretch that he was able to play this week, it appeared that he was used more as a decoy to help in allowing WR Deonte Thompson to make his mark after being signed off the street earlier last week. Having Matthews return to play gives Tyrod another weapon going into next week’s game against the Raiders.

Despite missing TE Charles Clay and using a less than effective Jordan Matthews, Tyrod Taylor was able to spread the ball around to Thompson, Logan Thomas, Nick O’Leary, LeSean McCoy, and even Zay Jones. Despite missing some top end talent on the roster, the Bills still benefit from the depth at each position which allows for a next man up mentality. I believe this is why the Bills have been able to stay in every game this season and win the close ones such as Sunday’s game. This formula will not work every week, but the Bills have to begin winning the close ones in order to have a shot at turning their years’ long misfortunes around.

The Bills aren’t losing anyone to season ending injuries, unlike many other teams in the league. Depth continues to be a concern, but it is not as though other teams lose their starting player and a Pro Bowl caliber replacement is warming the bench. I believe with this depth and team first mentality, the Bills can beat the Oakland Raiders and move to 5-2 on the season. The Raiders do have a talented offense lead by Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, but if the secondary can get healthy in time, this should limit the effectiveness of the passing game. With how the Bills defense has played this season, I expect McDermott and Frazier to draw up a defensive game plan to limit the Raiders offense.

I know that many Bills fans are still on the edge despite a 4-2 start. The Bills have been here several times in the past with poor finishes. This may be another year in which that’s the case. Experience, injuries, schedule all play a part in the rest of the season. Time will tell how the rest of the season plays out; I will continue to hope for the best, but prepare for moments that remind me why I am a Bills fan. Until then, I will continue to cheer and enjoy the moment. Thank you for your time and GO BILLS!!

Speculating Sprains

Breaking down the latest Bills news and an overview of general sprains and their severity.

As the Bills come off their well deserved bye week, two new pieces of information have arisen since last post. The Bills have signed WR Deonte Thompson and released RB Joe Banyard. Thompson has been with most recently the Chicago Bears before being released last week and had previously spent time with Buffalo the past two off seasons. This will help add depth to the WR corps and give Tyrod Taylor a deep option as WR Kaelin Clay hasn’t made much noise since acquiring him earlier this season from the Panthers.

In other news, it has been reported that WR Jordan Matthews is ahead of schedule in regards to his thumb fracture. He has been seen in practice without padding and with just a bandage over the area, though not cleared to catch balls yet. While not fully recovered, this is a promising sign. I had initially thought that Matthews would not be ready to return until the Jets or Saints game, giving him 4-6 weeks to heal. While healing times do vary person to person, it is still early to state when he will play.

Regarding return to play, I could see Matthews sitting out the Buccaneers game, possibly returning against the Oakland Raiders, giving the passing game a much-needed boost after losing Charles Clay last game. The key thing with his recovery is how quickly the bone has healed, the strength/range of motion in the hand, and his ability to manage pain effectively. I continue to hope that these players exceed expectations with return to play and contribute towards making the team more dynamic.

Today’s post will consist of an overview of general sprains. Sprains are very similar to strains, but differ in function and location. Sprains are an injury to a ligament or multiple ligaments based on location. Ligaments are found all over the body and provide connections between bones to create a joint. When an injury occurs to the area, instability, pain, and swelling occurs based on severity.

Hamstring-Gr1-3.jpg
Credit: therapydiadenver.com

Grade 1 sprains are when the ligament is stretched minimally and minor swelling/pain occurs. This can cause some players to miss time based on location and position, but typically can be managed conservatively in order to return to prior level of function. These types of injuries are week-to-week and can be played through if absolutely required, though increased risk of injury occurs. X-rays may be performed to ensure no fractures have occurred but are usually diagnosed through physical examination.

Grade 2 sprains are when the ligament is partially torn and moderate swelling/pain occur. These types of sprains typically keep players out for some time and cause moderate loss of function. A conservative expectation for a Grade 2 sprain could be anywhere from 4-6 weeks, though could vary based on location. At this time, an X-ray is performed to rule out any fractures. An MRI is performed to support physical examination and determine extent of damage.

Grade 3 sprains typically involve near or complete tearing of the ligament leading to significant loss of function and possible season ending surgery based on location of area. At this point, the ligament is classified more of a tear than a sprain which is why you do not see this as a Grade 3 sprain. Typically, ACL, PCL, and severe MCL tears can be categorized as such. Ankles, shoulders, and wrists are also common areas for complex ligament damage to occur. It is common to see other structures become damaged as the result of a severe sprain/tear. MRI’s are performed to determine severity of tear and to assess for any injuries missed by physical examination or initial swelling.

In most cases, a sprain can be due to an overload to the joint as a direct blow, violent twisting/pivoting, or excessive tension on the ligament. As with all other materials in the body and in nature, everything has a breaking point. Injuries such as these can be reduced but not totally prevented. Preventative measures include playing on forgiving surfaces such as grass which reduce the friction and prevent cleats from sticking in the surface. Proper strengthening to the area and proprioceptive exercises which include body awareness activities help keep the body from overloading the joint. Bracing and taping may also give support to an area if there is a high risk for injury or prior instability. Taped wrists, knee braces on lineman, and ankles braces assist in limiting excessive range of motion, reducing the risk.

Thank you for your time today and please continue to check back regarding updates on Bills news and general injuries in the coming days. While it is impossible to review every injury, this is merely a guide to assist you in understanding the severity and expected timeline upon injury. I hope you continue to enjoy and GO BILLS!!