Week 3 Bills Injury Preview- Bengals

Will the Bills be able to overcome this week’s injuries to defeat the Bengals?

The Bills are riding high at 2-0 but injuries are beginning to mount. Missing time due to injury is an unfortunate reality of the NFL and the Bills are no exception. They are set to host the Bengals in the home opener on Sunday down 3 key players in this young season. Today’s thoughts will outline why these individuals will miss the game, their expected return, & outlook in the coming weeks.

Ruled OUT:

CB Taron Johnson (right hamstring)

Johnson has been dealing with a hamstring strain since the season opener early in the 3rd quarter. To recall, he was attempting to cover Jets WR Jamison Crowder over the middle before pulling up lame with what appeared to be a Grade 1 hamstring strain. He missed last week’s game as expected but now he will miss his 2nd straight game. Due to the demands of the cornerback position having to run forward, backward, sideways, the demands of his hamstring is greater than other positions. Unfortunately, these strains are common in the warmer months & early in the season as players work into game shape.

However, while he did not practice this week, he did perform drills on the side indicating that he is healing as evident in the video below. Based on that video and that it’s been two weeks already, it’s likely that he is at worst questionable heading into Week 4 but could possibly play barring any setbacks. 

 

RB Devin Singletary (left hamstring)

Singletary suffered his own hamstring strain late in the 4th quarter with a run to the left before hobbling out of bounds. Like Johnson, he came up lame and hobbled across the field to the bench. Singletary was not able to practice all week and according to reports, he was not seen on the sidelines doing any individual drills. 

Fortunately for Singletary, his hamstring injury by video appeared to milder compared to Johnson’s. This indicates that he may be able to practice next week to prepare for the Patriots. There is no guarantee that he will be ready but I believe that he will have shorter recovery time and only miss a week.

 

TE Tyler Kroft (left ankle)

Kroft was on track to start his first game in a Bills uniform this Sunday before “banging” his ankle in his 2nd practice back. According to reports, he suffered a low ankle sprain. Without any further information, it’s hard to say if he will be ready next week. It’s unlikely that this ankle injury is the result of the broken foot that he has been recovering from. I believe that Kroft is now deemed oft-injured considering the injuries over the past 2 years.  

The team has been incredibly diligent in managing Kroft’s injury but it’s very difficult to prevent the injuries that Kroft has sustained so far. The hope is that he recovers well from the sprain and can be ready for Week 4. However, it’s likely that he would want to be at 100% before even attempting to return to play. Either he comes back Week 4 or 5 at the latest.

Ruled QUESTIONABLE:

LB Corey Thompson (ankle)

Thompson suffered an ankle sprain possibly before Friday’s practice. Despite there isn’t video available of the ankle injury, it’s likely he’s also dealing with a low ankle sprain. If he had suffered this earlier in the week, he may have been limited but cleared to play. However, since this happened Friday, he may try to test it out on Sunday to see if he can go. He won’t be 100%, but taping up the ankle along with a good warmup may allow him to get through the game through his limited participation on special teams. It’s truly a 50/50 shot on whether he plays.

Others dealing with injury:

WR Andre Roberts (quadriceps)

Roberts suffered what appears to be a quadriceps strain right before Week 1, causing him to miss 2 games. He was finally able to practice in full Friday which is always a good indication of playing Sunday. This is an injury that can reoccur despite rest & rehab, but video below shows him moving well. The medical staff also continues to be conservative and not rushing players back unless they’re truly able to play.

CB Tre’Davious White (neck)

White was a surprise addition to the injury report with a red, non-contact jersey Wednesday & Thursday. It was later revealed that he is dealing with a neck injury. In my Twitter thread below, I outlined some possibilities when he suffered a neck injury in Sunday’s game. He did suffer several hits but nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary. This may be a general neck strain but hard to pinpoint without an exact mechanism of injury. Thankfully, he is cleared and will be one to watch for Sunday if he has to exit the game due to any further injury.

In the video below, White doesn’t appear to be limited at all covering WR Duke Williams on 1-on-1 drills.

Johnson, Singletary, and Kroft are already ruled out but fortunately, the Bills have solid depth at each position to get through the Bengals game with the hopes each can return for the Patriots game. It’s unfortunate that they are missing the home opener, but better to miss now with quality depth rather than playing with limited options late in the season with playoffs at stake.

Week 2 Bills Injury Review- Giants

Will this week’s injuries affect the Week 3 matchup against the Bengals?

Another Sunday, another game, another win! The Bills move to 2-0 on the season with a complete 28-14 win over the New York Giants. The game was never really a contest with the exception of when the Giants scored first for which the Bills answered with 21 points. Like last week, injuries remained at a minimum. Below are the injuries in Sunday’s win. 

As expected, WR Andre Roberts (quad), CB Taron Johnson (right hamstring) & TE Tyler Kroft (foot) all did not play Sunday. Roberts & Johnson are still dealing with the respective injuries that have held them out of practice all week. It’s possible both can return but will have to practice in full this week to have a chance. Kroft continues to trend in the right direction; he should be ready Week 3. 

 

RB Frank Gore (head)

The veteran back took a hard shot to his head and right shoulder which led to a trip to the blue injury tent with a minute left in the 1st quarter. He was evaluated for a concussion in which he was cleared. He shouldn’t have any lasting issues and considering how long he has played, he understands what he needs to do to recover this week, likely with a veteran rest day. 

 

OT Ty Nsekhe (knee) 

Nsekhe suffered what appeared to be a left knee injury midway through the 2nd quarter. The play that he was injured on appeared to have him slip and possibly cause a contusion to the area. He was able to sit out briefly before continuing the established rotation between him and rookie Cody Ford. Nsekhe did deal with a knee “tweak” during the preseason but this is likely unrelated. Something to watch but not much thought should be put into this. 

 

DE Darryl Johnson (neck) 

The rookie end suffered a neck/upper back injury late in the 3rd quarter. He was attempting to complete the tackle and had his neck snapped back before falling to the ground. He was tended to the trainers before able to walk off under his own power. Later, he was observed having his neck assessed by one of the medical staff before returning to the game. 

He likely suffered a generalized neck sprain that appears to be mild at best. He may be dealing with more soreness and limited range of motion in the following days but as long as he keeps the area loose, then he should be alright for next week. He may deal with other issues later on but more information would need to be known before discussing further. Right now, at worst he misses 1 game.

 

RB Devin Singletary (left hamstring)

The shifty back suffered a left hamstring strain following a run to the outside late in the 4th quarter. He took a hard step with his left leg and hobbled out of bounds with obvious limping back across the field. Considering the heat and fatigue, either cramping or a mild Grade 1 hamstring strain is the culprit. He was ruled out for the rest of the game but considering the game was nearly finished, it was a smart move. 

Considering this is a hamstring, it’s unknown how long he’ll be out. HC Sean McDermott noted that he is day-to-day at Monday’s press conference. If this was truly cramping, he shouldn’t have any issues and be able to practice in full for the week to play on Sunday. If this is a true hamstring strain, it could be anywhere from 1-3 games he could be out. The hamstring can tighten up overnight, limiting him more than the original injury did Sunday. However, Wednesday & Thursday’s practice will be a true litmus test for Singletary to whether he suits up Sunday. 

 

Overall, the Bills should have several players return from injury & if Singletary is unable to go, Gore & Yeldon will carry the load. As the season progresses, the slowly cooling temperatures will only help with the early season strains and dehydration issues. However, the temperature for Sunday’s game is predicted to be at 82 F, which doesn’t help at all. This team continues to show excellent depth to overcome these injuries and move to 3-0 over the Bengals. 

Bills Preseason Injury Preview- Colts

Reviewing all Bills injuries prior to the 1st preseason game against the Colts.

Football is upon us! The first preseason game of the 2019 Bills season is Thursday night against the Colts. While HC Sean McDermott has announced that starters will play the 1st quarter, this doesn’t mean that all potential starters will play. Due to several injuries, the below listed players are either not expected to play or are questionable.

Ruled OUT:

TE Jason Croom & Dawson Knox: hamstring strain

Both tight ends have been out since the beginning of training camp due to hamstring strains. For Croom, this is his 2nd hamstring strain after suffering one during OTA’s in May. Since both have not practiced in full, both are expected to be ruled out. This will give starting reps to TE Lee Smith & TE Tommy Sweeney along with playing time for TE Keith Towbridge, TE Nate Becker & TE Kyle Carter. 

C Mitch Morse- concussion

Morse continues to deal with the after effects of a concussion sustained in the first padded practice of training camp that has caused him to miss nearly two weeks of valuable reps. Even if he is cleared for tomorrow’s game, the missed reps alone will prevent him from effectively playing. 

Considering his concussion history, it would be poor judgement to rush him back into the field which may necessitate the team to keep him out of at least the first 2 games. Based on video, it appears he is in stage 4 of the concussion protocol, but until he is cleared & comfortable with the playcall and pads, he should stay off the field. 

CB EJ Gaines- groin

Gaines suffered yet another injury, this time to his groin while performing 1-on-1 drills during Monday’s practice. Considering the team reports that he will be out a few weeks, he may miss the rest of the preseason while rehabbing. It’s obvious he will not play Thursday. To read more about his most recent injury, check out my article at Buffalo Rumblings.

RB LeSean McCoy- veteran

McCoy will not play against the Colts on a Thursday to avoid injury and ensure that he stays healthy going into 2019. He will play during the Panthers preseason game whereas RB Frank Gore will sit that game and play in the Colts game. This is a smart move and will also let RB Devin Singletary & RB TJ Yeldon touches to see what they have as depth. 

Ruled QUESTIONABLE: 

C/G Spencer Long: knee

Long has been in and out of practice the past week dealing with what the team has described as knee soreness. He has been seen wearing a hinged knee brace and compression sleeve indicating he may have sustained a mild knee sprain. Considering the issues that Morse is dealing with now, Long may be forced to play the first quarter in the even that Morse is not ready to start the season. If Long cannot start, then C Russell Bodine will. 

OL Jon Feliciano: shoulder

Feliciano suffered a shoulder injury during Thursday’s practice and appeared to re-injure the area again during the Friday practice at New Era Field. While there is not video or any descriptors of the injury, it is hard to speculate what he is dealing with. Considering the issues with the offensive line, I would expect the team would want to get him reps for a few series in order to see how things get on the field. However, the team may hold him out as a precaution to see how the rest of the linemen look. 

There appears to always be surprises for preseason games but as they are generally a waste for starters to play, it is expected that others will sit as a precaution. There are many others Bills players listed with ailments but do not appear to be limiting as all have practiced over the last week without issues. 

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!!

NFL Injury Series- Hamstrings

Reviewing the hamstring strain, severity, and rehabilitation.

Today’s post will look at the all too common hamstring strain. This is an injury even the best conditioned athlete can sustain. This article will not focus on one specific player, but rather educate and inform what the hamstrings are, how they operate, why they’re injured, and prevention.

hamstrings-anatomy.jpg
Credit: myprotein.com

The hamstrings are made up of 3 muscles in the back of the thigh consisting of the biceps femoris on the outside and the semimembranosis and semitendonosis on the inside. Together these three muscles attach to parts of the upper femur and bottom of the hip which is called the ischial tuberosity . This is the bony part that everyone sits on when they are in a chair. At the other end, they connect to the top of the tibia and fibula, which is the lower leg bones. Due to the muscles crossing over two joints, they have different functions. Together, these muscles allow the leg to extend and drive the body forward, along with bending the knee. During running and blocking, these muscles cycle through the process of shortening and lengthening at regular intervals depending on the position of the leg.

453452733.jpg
Credit: livestrong.com

To help you envision the hamstring functioning, picture a sprinting athlete. Typically, one foot is in contact with the ground, the other in the air. During the foot that is in contact with the ground, the hamstrings with other muscles assist in extending the thigh to assist in moving the body forward. As the body moves forward and begins to push off, the other leg begins the process towards beginning to make contact with the ground. Once the original leg finishes pushing off, the knee begins to bend to assist in clearing the foot to bring the leg forward. Even during the portion where the leg makes contact with the ground, the hamstring is loading back up and eccentrically contracting which means that it is accepting a load while lengthening, which is the most taxing type of muscle contraction. When the foot makes contact with the ground is where most hamstring injuries can occur which is why you see most players stop quickly due to the sudden nature of the injury. While the hamstring does sound confusing, it can be, but know that without them, you’re not doing much walking without them

During times of injury, the muscle can be overworked, overstretched, or fatigued, leading to part of the muscle to become injured. Depending on the severity and location can dictate the recovery time. A strain is due to the injury to the muscle or the muscle bone attachment. Grade 1 tears are the least severe in which a small portion of the muscle tears during excessive activity. This can heal up rather quickly but several days of rest, stretching, and light exercise can remedy the muscle.

Grade 2 hamstring tear is where at a moderate portion of the muscle tears with a greater force, leading the player to limp and be unable to properly use the affected leg as intended. Typically, there is greater bruising and swelling with initial difficulty placing weight, keeping the player off it for some time. Bruising, poor functional control, and tenderness may occur during this time which could cause the athlete to miss several weeks before they are back to playing shape.

Grade 3 hamstring tear is where the muscle nearly or completely tears. It can also pull a chunk of the bone away from the bony attachment, most likely at the ischial tuberosity, known as an avulsion. This is due to this area being the anchor point, meaning the harder the muscle contracts, the harder it pulls on the anchor point, leading to eventual overload. At this level of injury, the muscle is quite weak and function is no longer normal. With this injury, the athlete is in danger of missing significant time or can be potentially season ending. Recovery time with surgery can be anywhere from 3-6 months with some resources stating closer to 8 months.

muscle-tear-gradfes.jpg
Credit: physioprescription.com

These types of injuries occur when an athlete suddenly tries to decelerate and change direction, hurdling a player, or trying to push their body faster and faster. This can also occur during blocking, trying to maintain their ground as their being pushed forward and backwards, eventually the muscle gives out and the player becomes injured as a result. There are countless ways for the hamstring to be injured, these are just several of the more common mechanisms of injury.

While the injury is not fully preventable, there are certain steps that can be taken to reduce the incidence. Some preventable measures that can be taken is ensuring proper hydration, conditioning, stretching, and strengthening. Some things that can’t be controlled is previous hamstring injury and increased age. The best method to treat an injury is to prevent. However, I would be hard pressed to find an athlete that has not sustained some sort of hamstring injury during the course of their athletic endeavors.

As Bills fan, we have already seen several players deal with hamstring injuries this season with varying degrees of severity. As a PT, I am not concerned about the long term management of the injuries. I know these players need time to rest, recover, and not to rush back. I would expect to see these injuries increase as the season wears on and the bodies begin to break down. So far, only Matt Milano has been slowed up by hamstring strains and has been brought along slow so far in training camp after re-injuring in OTA’s.

Continue to check back for the latest Bills news and injury updates. Follow on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Facebook at Banged Up Bills and on reddit at u/BangedUpBills. As always, thank you 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!!

Handling the Hamstrings

Educating on the all too common hamstring strain, levels of severity, and prevention.

As the Bills are on a bye this upcoming Sunday, this allows some deviation away from Bills injury talks to discuss general matters, my thoughts and opinions, and review ideas/thoughts that may get lost in the shuffle of the busy season filled with injuries. Already this season, we have seen Pro Bowl, All-Pro, and HOF caliber players go down with injuries that are potentially career ending, career altering, and just plain unfortunate. Over the next week, I will look to identify and explain general injuries that regularly occur and how to differentiate between injuries and their severity.

Today’s post will look at the all too common hamstring strain. This is an injury even the best conditioned athlete can sustain. This article will not focus on one specific player, but rather educate and inform what the hamstrings are, how they operate, why they’re injured, and prevention.

hamstrings-anatomy.jpg
Credit: myprotein.com

The hamstrings are made up of 3 muscles in the back of the thigh consisting of the biceps femoris on the outside and the semimembranosis and semitendonosis on the inside. Together these three muscles attach to parts of the upper femur and bottom of the hip which is called the ischial tuberosity . This is the bony part that everyone sits on when they are in a chair. At the other end, they connect to the top of the tibia and fibula, which is the lower leg bones. Due to the muscles crossing over two joints, they have different functions. Together, these muscles allow the leg to extend and drive the body forward, along with bending the knee. During running and blocking, these muscles cycle through the process of shortening and lengthening at regular intervals depending on the position of the leg.

453452733.jpg
Credit: livestrong.com

To help you envision the hamstring functioning, picture a sprinting athlete. Typically, one foot is in contact with the ground, the other in the air. During the foot that is in contact with the ground, the hamstrings with other muscles assist in extending the thigh to assist in moving the body forward. As the body moves forward and begins to push off, the other leg begins the process towards beginning to make contact with the ground. Once the original leg finishes pushing off, the knee begins to bend to assist in clearing the foot to bring the leg forward. Even during the portion where the leg makes contact with the ground, the hamstring is loading back up and eccentrically contracting which means that it is accepting a load while lengthening, which is the most taxing type of muscle contraction. While the hamstring does sound confusing, it can be, but know that without them, you’re not doing much walking without them

During times of injury, the muscle can be overworked, overstretched, or fatigued, leading to part of the muscle to become injured. Depending on the severity and location can dictate the recovery time. A strain is due to the injury to the muscle or the muscle bone attachment. Grade 1 tears are the least severe in which a small portion of the muscle tears during excessive activity. This can heal up rather quickly but several days of rest, stretching, and light exercise can remedy the muscle.

Grade 2 hamstring tear is where at a moderate portion of the muscle tears with a greater force, leading the player to limp and be unable to properly use the affected leg as intended. Typically, there is greater bruising and swelling with initial difficulty placing weight, keeping the player off it for some time. Bruising, poor functional control, and tenderness may occur during this time.

Grade 3 hamstring tear is where the muscle nearly or completely tears. It can also pull a chunk of the bone away from the bony attachment, most likely at the ischial tuberosity, known as an avulsion. This is due to this area being the anchor point, meaning the harder the muscle contracts, the harder it pulls on the anchor point, leading to eventual overload. At this level of injury, the muscle is quite weak and function is no longer normal.

muscle-tear-gradfes.jpg
Credit: physioprescription.com

These types of injuries occur when an athlete suddenly tries to decelerate and change direction, hurdling a player, or trying to push their body faster and faster. This can also occur during blocking, trying to maintain their ground as their being pushed forward and backwards, eventually the muscle gives out and the player becomes injured as a result. There are countless ways for the hamstring to be injured, these are just several of the more common mechanisms of injury.

While the injury is not fully preventable, there are certain steps that can be taken to reduce the incidence. Some preventable measures that can be taken is ensuring proper hydration, conditioning, stretching, and strengthening. Some things that can’t be controlled is previous hamstring injury and increased age. The best method to treat an injury is to prevent. However, I would be hard pressed to find an athlete that has not sustained some sort of hamstring injury during the course of their athletic endeavors.

As Bills fan, we have already seen several players deal with hamstring injuries this season with varying degrees of severity. As a PT, I am not concerned about the long term management of the injuries. I know these players need time to rest, recover, and not to rush back. I would expect to see these injuries increase as the season wears on and the bodies begin to break down. So far, several players on the Bills such as Marcell Dareus, E.J. Gaines, Matt Milano, Nick O’Leary, and Deon Lacey have all spent some time on the injury report this season due to this malady.

I hope this helped educate your understanding on the purpose of the hamstring, why it gets injured, and what it means when a Bills player or another player you follow goes down with the injury. Over the next week, I will continue to outline other common injuries or any specific injuries that occur. Thank you for your time; just doing my job one post at a time to help educate the fellow Bills fan and realize that not every injury is season ending or dashing the team’s success each year.