Week 14 Bills Injury Preview- Ravens

Breaking down why Nsekhe is out so long.

9-3. What a sight to behold!

The Bills are 9-3 heading into the month of December. That’s pretty incredible after all the years of cold meaningless football. While the Bills still have more work to do this month, this has turned into quite a special season, making the national media take notice on the team from Western NY. As the Bills embark on vital December games, the team continues to stay healthy following a rash of injuries around a well-timed Week 6 bye. But the Bills, they’re incredibly healthy now & in prime position to capitalize on teams limping into the playoffs. With the Ravens coming to town on an 8-game winning streak, this is a true test for the Bills to create an opportunity to capture an elusive AFC East crown.

OUT

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe continues to rehab back from his severe ankle sprain suffered against the Dolphins back on November 17th. On Wednesday, it was reported that Nsekhe would be out on the practice field in some role, however, he was a DNP all week. This is not surprising considering the severity of the ankle sprain he suffered, assessed out at least as a Grade 2 inversion ankle sprain. 

The reason this ankle continues to require more time is due to how ligaments heal. Like all tissues, they are made up of various building blocks. In the case of ligaments, water, collagen, & amino acids create the makeup of the tissue. During normal use, the ligaments crimp & uncrimp based on the tensile loads placed through the joint as they connect bone to bone for structural support. As the joint is progressed through the range of motion, the ligaments elongate until they are maximally stretched. Prior to the injury, the striations of the ligaments are linear and allow for support during the full range during joint motion. Think of the striations in a nice steak, all linear and uniform as seen below.

blood cell types
Credit: Sportsinjuryclinic.net

When an injury occurs, the ligaments are either overstretched or outright tear. When a joint is taken to its end range, the proprioceptive nerves in the ligament start signaling for the muscles around the area to contract to prevent the joint from injury. While this attempts to reduce injury, the muscles are not always able to overcome the forces from the injury. Based on the severity, anywhere from several fibers to the entirety of the ligament can tear. 

During healing, the body attempts to heal quickly by putting scar tissue down in a haphazard fashion to heal the tissue. Because the tissue is not linear, the elasticity decreases & the tissue is not as strong as what was originally torn. What happens then is if the tissue is reinjured, it takes less force for the tissue to tear or it stretches out & does not regain its normal shape as easily. You can see below how the makeup of the tissue changes with injury.

scar-tissue-image-300x175
Credit: oregonmassageandwellnessclinic.com

All this tissue healing takes time, anywhere from 6 weeks to a few years for the tissue to fully mature. Fortunately, progressive loading movements help remodel the tissue as it heals in order to return to activity sooner. This is why we are able to gauge return to play timelines based on the severity of the injury. At the end of the day, Nsekhe needs proper rest with increasing loading of the surrounding tissue and ankle joint to ensure that he regains full function in the ankle without causing further damage to the healing tissue.

According to ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques, Nsekhe is out of the walking boot this week, hopefully walking without pain. Ideally, he begins to practice in a limited capacity next week with an outside chance to play against the Steelers but more realistic chances to return against the Patriots. 

CLEARED

OG Quinton Spain & RB TJ Yeldon (illness)

Both Spain & Yeldon missed Thursday’s practice with what was described as an illness. Considering its flu season, that’s likely the cause. Neither were ruled out and while Spain won’t be 100%, enough fluids & Vitamin C should get him through the game. Just another reason to get the flu shot so you don’t get the flu. If you can’t get the shot, you know you can’t. But if you’re able, it helps keep you & others around you healthy. 

Possible Inactives:

TE Tommy Sweeney

OG Ike Boettger

OT Ty Nsekhe

WR Duke Williams

RB TJ Yeldon

S Dean Marlowe

DT Vincent Taylor

The Ravens are on an 8 game winning streak coming into New Era Field. Winning streaks in the NFL like this are rare & need to end at some point. I believe the Bills with their elite defense are primed to stop Lamar Jackson & Greg Roman’s offense. The Ravens are dealing with injury, but the Bills are healthier which with that and the ability to contain Lamar Jackson, could propel the Bills to victory. Here’s to a competitive game with the home crowd advantage, leading to a defining Bills win.
Top Photo Credit:

Baltimore Sun

Week 13 Bills Injury Preview- Cowboys

How are the Bills looking as they go down south?

The Bills travel down to Dallas with a lot at stake. Win, move to 9-3 & gain the national “respect” that they deserve? Or lose, drop to 8-4, and have continued questions whether they are actually a playoff-caliber team. With both teams playing on short weeks, this game will come down to who makes fewer mistakes & can capitalize on the opportunities given to them. Fortunately, the Bills are far healthier than the Cowboys & can make the most with their roster to secure a win before hosting Baltimore in Week 14. 

OUT

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe continues to work back from the sprained ankle suffered in the win over the Dolphins. He missed the Broncos game & won’t be back for the foreseeable future. He will continue to rehab & begin working on increasing his workloads to eventually return to practice with the hopes that he returns before the Patriots or Jets game. 

QUESTIONABLE

C Mitch Morse (right 5th digit)

Morse appeared to jam his right 5th digit or pinky on a play late in the 1st quarter, striking his hand into the ground towards the end of the play, coming up & grabbing at the area. He was unable to return for the rest of the game but was at times observed snapping to QB Matt Barkley & getting his finger buddy taped to the ring finger for support. He is likely dealing with some minor loss of range of motion, pain, & swelling. It also doesn’t help that 40% of grip strength comes from the muscles that move the 5th digit, significantly limiting Morse’s ability to grip & snap the ball. 

It’s possible he broke his finger, but without clear video, hard to say. However, he has been limited Monday-Wednesday with the finger injury, indicating that this may not be the case. It is very possible that he still plays with the fingers buddy taped together for support to play effectively. If he is unable to go or re-injures the finger, then G Jon Feliciano would slide back over with G Spencer Long taking his place.

WR Robert Foster (right hamstring)

Foster suffered a right hamstring injury on his biggest play of the day Sunday on a 24-yard catch & run down the sideline. Unfortunately, he got pushed out, forcing him to catch himself on his right side from falling over. As he was doing this, he was decelerating, regrettably overloading the eccentrically contracting hamstring and he suffered a strain. The team has been incredibly conservative with hamstring injuries this season with great success. 

Despite practicing in a limited role Tuesday & Wednesday, soft tissue injuries need time to heal up & with 5 days between games, the time simply is not there. As Foster is ruled questionable, WR Duke Williams will likely get the start after 4 games inactive. Hopefully, Foster’s strain is a minor one & he can return to play against Baltimore. 

CLEARED TO PLAY

S Siran Neal (concussion)

Neal managed to progress through the concussion protocol quickly, only missing the Dolphins game & not practicing at all last week. Last we knew, he was in Stage 2 of the protocol going through a pregame workout on Sunday. For him to progress to practicing in full & clearing the protocol is promising, indicating that he will resume as a vital cog in the special teams play.  

Possible Inactive’s:

TE Tommy Sweeney

DT Vincent Taylor

WR Robert Foster

OT Ty Nsekhe

S Dean Marlowe

RB TJ Yeldon

OG Ike Boettger

There isn’t much to discuss moving forward other than the Bills have to go down to Dallas & take care of business. Ideally, the Bills move to 9-3, shutting up the critics as the Bills march towards the playoffs despite a tough stretch of games. Either way, the Bills have taken care of business, winning the games they need to & putting themselves into opportune positions, rather than relying on others screwing up for the Bills to have a favorable outcome. Bills Mafia, enjoy your Thanksgiving & GO BILLS!!

Week 12 Bills Injury Preview- Broncos

Get the comprehensive timeline on Nsekhe’s ankle & rehab process.

It was expected that the Bills couldn’t stay healthy forever. NFL games are a brutal endeavor & not everyone can avoid injury. While the Bills are down a few players going into Sunday’s game, they still appear to be on track towards making the playoffs which means they could get timely reinforcements when the health improves. The injury report is pretty cut & dry this week but there are still details to discuss especially as we are rapidly approaching 2 games in 5 days. Below is the injury breakdown prior to the game & outlook for the short week.

RULED OUT:

S Siran Neal (concussion)

Neal suffered a concussion with 7:41 left in the 2nd quarter on a routine kickoff following the 2nd FG of the day by K Stephen Hauschka. He appeared to bullrush his assignment and hit his head in the process before getting up appearing to be dazed. In a twist of irony, one of his teammates patted him on the head after the play, not exactly the ideal thing to do after a possible concussion. Neal’s day ended early, getting ruled out & placed into the concussion protocol. 

He was unable to practice all week & was observed watching practice from the sidelines which indicates that he is in Stage 2 of the protocol. He has already been ruled out & it is a guess when he will progress through the protocol to be cleared.

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe managed to avoid a severe ankle injury when Dolphins DE Avery Moss landed on the back of his foot during a routine run play midway through the 3rd quarter. I had originally stated that he suffered a fracture/dislocation & that his season would likely be done. I have the receipts to prove I am wrong. My buddy, Dr. Chao, aka @ProFootballDoc, also had thought the same thing but thankfully we are now looking at a week-to-week injury instead of season-ending IR. Below is a video detailing why he avoided a fibular fracture.

There were reports that Nsekhe was out at practice in a walking boot which appeared to rile up the masses in a good way thinking that the injury wasn’t as serious as it appeared to be. At the end of the day, he suffered a low ankle sprain which comes with it a still very real & arduous rehab timeline. The reason he was out in a walking boot was the fact that he didn’t have any restrictions in weight-bearing. In the rehab world, it’s encouraged to resume weight-bearing as tolerated unless specifically contraindicated in order to allow for the healing process to take place.

Yes, everyone has heard of PRICE (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), but after that initial 24 hours of rest, exercise & mobility activities are encouraged for better outcomes. Multiple studies have shown that introducing exercise shortly after the injury reduces the time that one is out compared to immobilization with a 4-7 day reduction in the timeframe for return. Right now, that could be the difference between going to IR versus playing on Wild Card Weekend. 

Allowing weight-bearing allows for joint approximation is vital for the healing process. This allows the muscles in the ankle and lower leg to cocontract & increase joint stability. This also allows the joint to begin to regain proprioception which is the perception of awareness of the body in space in relation to its surroundings. These are all fancy terms, but what does this mean? This means that just by weight-bearing, he is improving his strength and joint positioning with each step he takes. As the pain & swelling reduces, he will continue to perform active strengthening in the area along with balance exercises, increasing the difficulty until he is able to begin walking without the boot. 

As he progresses to higher-level activities, jogging, running, football-specific drills will continue to increase until he is ready to resume playing. This process can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks for a Grade 2-3 sprain. As I previously mentioned in my article from Tuesday, Nsekhe is a big dude, all of 6’8” & 325 lbs. A human that big will require some extra time to fully recover from any lower-body injury. 

While this is not a great injury down this tough stretch of games, having OT Cody Ford with experience helps until Nsekhe is able to come back. The hope is that he’s back in time for the playoffs, but he could realistically come back in time for the Patriots game on the 21st. We’ll see how he progresses, but it’s hopeful that the new training center allows for him to shave more time off to shore up the offensive line. 

Final thoughts on Nsekhe, the team has been bringing in a multitude of offensive tackles to work out including former Bills Sam Young & Seantrel Henderson as possible options in case OT Ryan Bates can’t cut it as a backup or if Ford struggles. 

SUITING UP SUNDAY

DE Jerry Hughes (groin)

Hughes continues to battle through a nagging groin injury suffered sometime earlier in the season which forced him to pop up on the injury report late last week. He was able to play in a season-high 53 snaps on defense. Considering that Hughes is a right defensive end, it’s possible that he is dealing with a left-sided groin strain. He lined up most of his snaps at his natural right side but did line up several times on the left, most likely due to the particular scheme. 

Lining up on the right side means that his power is coming from his right leg driving around the corner. He appeared to not have any issues driving off the left side, but when the adrenaline is pumping, anyone can work through some pain. He was not ruled out or had any injury designation, always an excellent sign. Some may wonder why he was a DNP Wednesday & Thursday but practiced in full on Friday. This was due to veteran maintenance & to save him for Sunday. Hughes may have benefitted from sitting out the Dolphins game, but both he & the training staff felt he was ready to go.

This will be an injury that he continues to play through, unlikely practicing unless it’s a walkthrough practice in the several days between Sunday & Thursday, but barring any further injury should play Thursday as well. While Hughes has not had the stat-bursting season that was expected, he still continues to force teams to game plan for him & pressure the quarterback each and every snap. 

S Jaquan Johnson (hand)

Johnson was a full participant this week despite a hand injury that popped up on the injury report Wednesday. Trying to identify a minor hand injury on film is quite difficult & it’s not clear when he suffered the injury. Johnson is a very physical player & there were many instances where he could have got his hand caught in a jersey, fell to the ground, or during tackling. Either way, he will be able to contribute to special teams & hopefully make an impact.

DT Jordan Phillips (toe)

Phillips showed up on the injury report Thursday with a toe injury. We don’t know which side, which toe, or when it happened. My guess is that this happened Thursday in practice & that it was an injury to the big toe. The big toe accounts for 50% of body weight during walking & without the toe, significant balance & walking issues arise. Injury to the other toes are rather minor & wouldn’t warrant reporting unless they were stepped on, making it a pain issue.

If this an injury to the big toe, the team can give him a stiff-soled shoe to take the pressure off the area during running and blocking. He also did practice in full on Friday which may show that this wasn’t all that serious & that he missed some drills Thursday, but didn’t have issues Friday. If he has issues in the game Sunday, we will see them. 

Possible Inactive’s:

TE Tommy Sweeney

DT Vincent Taylor

WR Duke Williams

OT Ty Nsekhe

S Siran Neal

RB TJ Yeldon

OG Ike Boettger

The Bills host the 3-7 Broncos who despite their abysmal record, carry an elite defense into the game with several pieces on offense, making them still a very dangerous team to play even at home. Like many other games this season, this is a winnable game & the Bills have to control the run game like they did last week. To move to 8-3 would be huge as the next stretch of games against the Cowboys, Ravens, Steelers, & Patriots are no easy task. Continuing to stack wins will be vital in the march towards the playoffs. 

Top Photo Credit:

broncoswire.usatoday.com

Week 10 Bills Injury Preview- Browns

The Bills are healthy?

So hey Bills Mafia, what do you want to talk about? Clearly not about this injury report, I mean, there are all of two names on there. By the way, it’s Week 10. Week 10 of an NFL season. An NFL season which consists of broken bones, torn tendons, ligaments, concussions, & an endless supply of heartbreak. Yet, here we are at Week 10 with a “healthy” roster. I say nearly healthy because there are still injuries that linger, injuries that are unknown, injuries that are still on the mend. 

The Bills are 6-2 with a “healthy” roster coming into Week 10 against the 2-6 Cleveland Browns. That’s an awesome sentence to think about, write, & read. While the Bills still have to go & play the game, 7-2 is looking quite good right now. Before I get ahead of myself, there are a few injuries below, take a few moments to check them out, it’ll be brief!

Injuries during the game included WR Andre Roberts (leg), DE Trent Murphy (neck), & S Micah Hyde (knee) were all minor enough that they did not show up on the injury report & shouldn’t be a concern moving forward. To note, all did return to play after getting quickly evaluated by the medical staff. 

LB Maurice Alexander (knee/calf) was placed on IR this past week clearing the way for the Bills to sign DT Corey Liuget to help shore up the run game. The exact specifics behind Alexander going to IR is right now a mystery & may not be revealed until much later. To get more information about Liuget, make sure to check the tweet below. 

S Kurt Coleman (left hamstring)

Coleman suffered a hamstring strain on a special teams play against the Dolphins back in Week 7. He has since missed 2 games & frankly, the team has soldiered on without him. He continues to fit what the Bills training staff has done in managing hamstring strains. He was limited Wednesday when it was cold & windy outside, but since able to practice in full on Thursday & Friday. I expect he’ll play Sunday as he’s fresher than some of the other players who may be able to play but could use a week off.

CB Kevin Johnson (left knee)

Johnson was a surprise addition to the injury report Wednesday with a knee injury. Looking at the video below, it appears that he gets tripped up before landing hard on his left knee as he continued downfield.

He may have slightly hyperextended his knee, he may have twisted or tweaked the knee where it was sore, it’s not quite known what he’s dealing with. However, while he didn’t practice Wednesday, he was a full participant on Thursday & Friday. Johnson has been incredibly durable this year, only suffering a stinger which limited in practice during the week prior to the Eagles game but otherwise appears to have avoided serious injury that derailed multiple seasons when he was in Houston.  Either way, he should be good to go for Sunday to continue to special teams & defensive depth.

Probable Inactive’s:

TE Tommy Sweeney

S Jaquan Johnson

OG Ike Boettger

OT Ryan Bates

WR Robert Foster

RB T.J. Yeldon

DT Vincent Taylor

The Bills are looking to move to 7-2 following a trip to Cleveland in a battle for Lake Erie supremacy. All the talk about soft schedules, DVOA, power rankings; what does it matter if a win is a win in the NFL? Previous iterations of the Bills have received winnable games on paper & blown them, leading to a loss. So if the Bills get a win on Sunday, then they’re 7-2 & that much closer to a playoff spot and that much closer to a Super Bowl, even though that seems so far off. For now, I hope the Bills keep stacking wins, soft schedules be damned! Let’s hope for minimal to no injuries Sunday as the Bills march towards the difficult portion of their schedule.

 

Week 9 Bills Injury Preview- Redskins

Get the latest updates on Ford, Wallace, & Coleman.

What I do on a regular basis in observing & reporting Bills injuries at times can be simple or complex. Think of it as like an iceberg, in fact, think of it like the Titanic when it hit that god damn iceberg. Some of the injuries are easy & straightforward, as the top of the iceberg, easy to see. Some take some digging & detective work, real use of my professional degree to determine the true injuries. This is the part of the iceberg that you know is under the water, it exists, but the size or extent is not known. And then there are other injuries, injuries that just aren’t explainable & either won’t know the true story until either much later or really, ever. This is the Titanic, you can’t see it, you aren’t sure it’s even there, but you know its there somewhere. And maybe, the truth will eventually be found.

Why do I bring up a shipwreck that’s over 107 years old? BECAUSE IT GRABS YOUR ATTENTION!! How does the Titanic & football go together? IT DOESN’T!  But it gets one thinking about the complexities of determining injuries from not only video analysis, but from the reporting, news, & information available to the public. The Buffalo Bills fan base has been through enough with the Super Bowl losses, the Drought, the weather & nothing to do here jokes, you’ve heard them all. We deserve the best content because we love this team! From the beat reporters to the blogs to the pods, we are all trying to give our fellow fans the best insight possible so that we can be the best fan base ever. If I can use my education to connect with my fellow fan, then that makes me a better fan. So wrapping this all up, I do what I do because I love the Bills & love this fan base if I can add my two cents, then I feel I have done something positive.

Ok, passion-filled rant over. 

The Bills host the lowly Washington Redskins on what will appear to be a blustery and rather crappy day in Western New York. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. Buffalo weather baby!! In addition to the declining weather, the number of names on the injury report is also declining. As of this week’s count, there are only 4 names on the entire report dealing with injuries that could potentially cause them to miss Sunday. This is a far cry from 11 players for several weeks in a row. Below are the injuries & how it will affect their availability for Sunday.

 

OUT:  

LB Maurice Alexander (knee)

Alexander is a mystery as he appeared on the injury report Wednesday without any known mechanism of injury. He has not been able to practice the past week & there aren’t any specifics of what is going on. However, he was briefly on the injury report prior to the Patriots game in Week 4. He was a DNP the Friday before the game, was questionable, but able to play. He did have a hip injury in the win over the Dolphins but he did not show up on the injury report afterward. It’s also unknown if the knee injury from last month is related to this most recent injury. 

There is something that just isn’t know right now. See, iceberg, all coming full circle!

Until we get an injury that is a smoking gun, more information on what he’s dealing with, or really anything, this will be an injury that we simply don’t know. My initial speculation is he could be dealing with some type of tendonitis or small meniscal tear that he’s attempting to play through, but has flared up to the point he needs rest. Both could have been well managed until the issue was aggravated through regular play.

He is a key special team player so missing him Sunday will hurt. Fortunately, the return of LB Corey Thompson will help soften the blow as he is finally healthy from the recent ankle surgery that kept him out the past 3 games. 

 

QUESTIONABLE:

CB Levi Wallace (left shoulder)

Wallace has been ruled questionable following a shoulder contusion in the loss to the Eagles. To recall, he suffered the contusion as the result of getting run over by Eagles RB Boston Scott late in the 3rd quarter as seen below.

He has been limited all week but HC Sean McDermott was pleased by the workouts in practice the past few days which sounds promising for his availability for Sunday. While upper-body injuries are more difficult to assess on film in regards to practice, there is a strong chance that he plays Sunday. He will likely have additional padding to the area in order to protect the healing tissues, but there shouldn’t really be any reason that he can’t play unless he personally says he can’t go. I expect him to play Sunday.

 

OT Cody Ford (left elbow)

Ford suffered a left elbow contusion late in the 4th quarter which forced him to miss the last several minutes for a game that was clearly out of hand by that point. Ford has been limited all week but video available has been promising showing him shedding the red non-contact jersey and performing blocking drills despite having his elbow wrapped with a hinged brace to the area. The bracing will limit medial/lateral movement to reduce stress on the elbow if, for example, a defensive end is coming around the edge. This will also prevent hyperextension to the elbow during blocking and cause further damage. 

Considering how he had the elbow struck, coming from up underneath, there is a slight possibility that he suffered a UCL injury, similar to what QB Josh Allen had last year against the Texans. If this is the case, it’s quite possible to play through the injury with bracing, but I also don’t believe they would be putting him back out there so quickly if he had an injury of that magnitude to the area. 

He likely had the elbow struck & is dealing with more pain and swelling to the area, hence the extra protection. I expect that he plays Sunday, considering the injury & the lack of consistency that OT Ty Nsekhe is able to bring to the table this season. I also expect that he suits up with the bracing to get through the game. Continue the rotation that we have seen all season between Ford & Nsekhe.

 

S Kurt Coleman (hamstring)

Coleman continues to work back from a hamstring injury sustained in the win over the Dolphins 2 weeks ago. Like all other hamstring injuries this year, the team has been cautious in their approach & does not appear to be rushing anyone back well before they are ready. I have not observed any video of him in practice, but the fact that he is limited is promising. 

However, the weather is expected to be poor this weekend with a slick surface & cool weather. These are not the type of conditions ideal to play through with a hamstring injury. He may also be pressed into service if either starter goes down which, if he has a not 100% hamstring, could create a liability. I don’t anticipate that he suits up, taking the extra week before he gets a 2nd shot at Miami in the warmer weather.

 

Projected Inactive’s:

TE Tommy Sweeney

OT Ryan Bates

OG Ike Boettger

S Kurt Coleman

S Jaquan Johnson

RB TJ Yeldon

LB Maurice Alexander

 

Going up against a 1-7 Washington Redskins team should be an easy win. It should allow the Bills to move to 6-2 as they march towards the playoffs. But while the Bills see what appears to be an inferior opponent on the surface, below is still an NFL team with talented players that want to desperately win.

The Bills need to come out and control the line of scrimmage, punching the Redskins in the mouth right away to let them know they don’t belong at New Era Field. That loss to the Eagles last week hurt, I don’t expect the Bills to drop another, especially at home. I expect the Bills to finish their homestand with a win. On Sunday, at 4:30 pm, we will have an answer.

Top Photo Credit

BleacherReport.com

Week 7 Bills Injury Preview- Dolphins

Will Kroft, Johnson, & Singletary finally make their home debuts?

The Bills are back into the swing of things following a well deserved & well-timed bye week. The team has been preparing all week getting ready for a tire fire that is the Miami Dolphins franchise, looking to move to 5-1. While most fans are overlooking this game as a win, nothing is guaranteed in the NFL & this is no exception. Regardless of the opponent, the Bills are getting healthier for the next 11 games. The injury concerns are as follows:

QUESTIONABLE:

LB Matt Milano (left hamstring)

Milano resumed practice Monday performing ladder drills off to the side while everyone else ran through regular drills. Considering that Milano plays such a vital role in the defense & has to react to what he’s seeing in front of him, forcing him to keep up with the play. He will have to backpedal, change directions suddenly, and sprint. These activities will require a full recovery before attempting to return to play.

Milano was limited in practice Wednesday but was running and performing drills, indicating that he may be further along than originally anticipated. He was running a straight line, albeit, not full speed. He was performing tackling drills without much compensation. He is moving well considering he had a hamstring injury, but doesn’t appear to be fully healthy. He has been ruled questionable & I don’t expect him to play. 

LB Corey Thompson (ankle surgery)

As it’s well known now, Thompson has been working back from ankle surgery that has kept him out the past 2 games.

The video showed that Thompson returned to practice in a limited fashion Wednesday indicating that he is approaching his return. He may be nearly healthy & just working to get back into game shape. It is still unknown what ankle he had the surgery on but the video appears to show some greater bulk on the right ankle which may indicate bracing for extra support. He has since been ruled questionable, but I believe he has a shot to play in a special teams role to work back into game shape. He could also be available as an emergency backup in the likely event that Milano doesn’t play. 

CB Taron Johnson (right hamstring)

Johnson has been an enigma this season, coming back from a torn labrum last season that ended his season prematurely. He appeared incredibly healthy & ready to take the next step until he suffered a right hamstring strain during the Jets game. He has since missed the past 4 games that makes me believe he suffered some type of setback prior to the Patriots game. 

It’s a shame that his body does not appear to withstand the rigors of the NFL game. This doesn’t mean he won’t even be able to play again, but he may need to reinvent himself in order to last longer than 1 season in the league. 

This week’s practice was promising that he was practicing in full, but no other updates other than his availability was noted. Interestingly though, he has been ruled questionable. The only possibility is that he wants to test it out to ensure that he is truly ready. He’s been out long enough that he should be fully healthy & regain his starting role in the secondary.

WILL PLAY:

WR Robert Foster (turf toe/groin)

Foster continues to battle through a recent groin injury & what is now a possible lingering turf toe injury. While the groin injury is more pronounced, the toe is still likely causing issues regarding running efficiency. 

However, things are looking promising for Foster as he was able to practice in full this week indicating that while he may not be 100%, he is closer to playing this week as indicated by the practice designation. Players are deemed to practice in full if they take all the normal reps at that position. They are limited if they miss reps by design or due to injury. If they did not take reps, but practiced on the side, then they are did not participate.  Thankfully, Foster will be able to play Sunday. 

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

We still don’t know the specifics dealing with Nsekhe, coming off a minor Week 3 ankle injury followed by a Week 4 injury that appears to have been either a contusion or high ankle sprain. According to still pictures from Monday’s practice, this may be more of a contusion as he did not appear to have any bracing on the right ankle. Other shots showed that he was able to go through blocking drills without any significant issues. 

Wednesday’s practice noted that he did not practice due to requiring a veteran rest day, but the video showed him performing warm-ups and side-stepping drills. Fortunately, Nsekhe was able to practice in full Thursday despite the cold & rainy weather which indicates that this supports the contusion theory. Friday’s injury report states that he will play Sunday.

There is a concern that Nsekhe is unable to hold up through an entire game, much less than an entire season. He is 33 years old in a physically demanding position with nearly a decade of professional football to his resume. Whether he can withstand full games anymore is only something that Nsekhe & the training staff know. If OT Cody Ford continues through his development, there is hope that Nsekhe can sink back into a reserve role. Until then, he will rotate with Ford unless the team says otherwise.

TE Tyler Kroft (left ankle/right foot)

Kroft is finally looking good after an incredibly trying season thus far. The video below shows that the right foot appears to be completely healed up & the left foot/ankle accepting dynamic weight bearing activities during the cone drill. He doesn’t appear to miss a step, he doesn’t appear to favor one side or slow down when pushing off. I’m very optimistic about him finally making his season debut. He was able to practice in full this week which is about as good of a sign as one can get.

RB Devin Singletary (left hamstring)

Without question, Singletary will play Sunday! He looks excellent on video, there haven’t been any changes in how he looks from the last video available & barring a meteor hitting Buffalo, he should play, even if the weather isn’t ideal. At some point, an athlete has to play. The conditions will only be so ideal or so much rest will help. He may get injured, but any guy can be injured on any given play. Singletary continues to look good in practice this week & there should be no reason why he can’t play Sunday. 

OT Cody Ford & DE Trent Murphy (concussions)

Both Ford & Murphy are working back from concussions sustained in the Titans game and appear to be making some progress. Reports from Monday’s practice indicated that both were working through the protocol performing light aerobic exercise which indicates that appear to be in Stage 2 of the concussion protocol.

However, this week’s practices indicated that both were able to practice in full signifying that were in Stage 5, requiring that they needed to be cleared by an independent neurologist. Monday’s practice may have been just the nature of the activities they were performing rather than the actual stage of recovery. They have both appeared to have been cleared by the neurologist which indicates they will play Sunday. 

WR John Brown (groin)

Brown was a surprise addition to the injury report Wednesday with a groin injury & was limited in practice. His snap counts from the past 5 games can be seen below & did not greatly differ from game to game. 

Reviewing game footage from the Titans game didn’t reveal any specific instances of injury which leads me to believe that he suffered the injury during Wednesday’s practice. Thursday’s practice was more promising in that he moved well on film, but did not show his full abilities. However, he has since been ruled in to play but it will be interesting to see if his snap count is affected by the groin & addition of Foster. 

C Mitch Morse (right ankle)

Morse sat out the rest of the Titans game as what appeared to be a precaution to avoid worsening any injuries. He appeared to be dealing with a contusion suffered midway through the 2nd quarter. While there is pain, there isn’t much that is functionally wrong. He should not have any issues come Sunday & continue to demonstrate why he’s one of the highest paid centers in the NFL. This week’s practice supported how he is recovering with no bracing or difficulties observed according to reports. He at most may have had his ankle wrapped in prewrap & tape, but this would not be concerning for his ability to play Sunday.

QB Josh Allen (hand)

Allen appeared on the injury report this week with a hand injury but was able to practice in full. To specify, he injured his left hand when he threw his interception against the Titans in where he hit his hand against Harold Landry III’s shoulder pads.

This may a contusion that he is still having some pain with, this may also be a minor sprain of the metacarpophalengeal joint due to the direct hit on the shoulder pads. He may have some bracing to the area at worst, but unlikely as it would restrict his ability to grip the football if he were to run or have to protect the ball. 

However, as pointed out by a follower on Twitter, the injury report indicated the right hand was injured. This is a new development & previously unknown what caused this. As he practiced in full, this may not be an issue, but certainly, something to monitor. 

My predictions for inactive’s are:

LB Matt Milano

OG Ike Boettger

OG Ryan Bates

S Jaquan Johnson

S Dean Marlowe

WR Isaiah McKenzie

TE Tommy Sweeney

This is a very winnable game to get to 5-1. This Bills team is not what we are used to seeing, getting full of themselves, beating them at their own game when cupcakes like this come up on the schedule. This is a team that is built to play, a team that knows their role each and every Sunday. This team may not be the most talented, but they are certainly one of the hardest working. The bye week really made a difference in health & allowed the Bills to get back in the right frame of mind for the next 11+ games. 

 

Week 5 Bills Injury Review- Titans

Will the Bills survive Sunday’s injury massacre?

Thank god that game is over. For all you new readers, this is my 3rd season covering Buffalo Bills injuries & while there have been some tough injuries to stomach, today’s game as a whole was painful both literally & figuratively. I do not remember a time where I nearly lost track because the injuries came in so fast. Fortunately, the Bills have a bye next week & it couldn’t have come at a better time. Last time this year, the Bills walked into Houston with no one on the injury report. Amazing how one year can change so much. This is a team that will bend, bend, bend, but not break. As always, injury recap below in chronological order. 

Those ruled inactive prior to the game included: 

WR Robert Foster (groin/turf toe)

TE Tyler Kroft (ankle)

LB Corey Thompson (ankle sx)

CB Taron Johnson (hamstring)

RB Devin Singletary (hamstring)

OG Ike Boettger 

OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle)

Thompson & Kroft continue to be out until further notice. Foster, Johnson & Singletary are all dealing with soft tissue strains which could have been aggravated by the slick conditions. Nsekhe is dealing with an ankle injury that appears to have been an aggravation from 2 weeks ago. 

C Mitch Morse (ankle)

Morse was the first injury of the day, dealing with what appears to be a left ankle injury. The injury appears when RB Frank Gore ran up the middle with 9:25 left in the 2nd quarter and appeared to kick Morse by accident. Morse rolls over and appears to be favoring the ankle before getting up, walking with a slightly labored effort. 

He was able to play several more snaps before getting removed in favor of OG Jon Feliciano. Morse did not appear in the game the rest of the day but was on the sidelines appearing to stay loose. 

This may be more of a contusion, similar to an injury observed with a leg whip. There may have been other possibilities such as a low ankle sprain or mild high ankle sprain not readily noted on film, but this is most likely. This isn’t something that should hold him out for long, but reports indicated he was limping around the locker room after the game as evident by the video below.

During Monday’s presser, HC Sean McDermott noted that if it was needed, Morse could have gone back in and played if further injury occurred. This is incredibly promising as this indicates that the injury alone doesn’t appear to be serious if they were willing to play him. I believe he will be able to play against Miami.

C/G Jon Feliciano (right leg)

Feliciano was injured with 10:40 left in the 3rd quarter when QB Josh Allen threw a costly interception. The offensive mauler was attempting to bring down S Kevin Byard when he fell down attempting to get a tackle. Unfortunately, OT Dion Dawkins fell onto his right leg, leading to the injury. Friendly fire is never ideal but is a part of the game. 

He limped off but amazingly did not miss a snap, keenly aware of the lack of depth at the offensive line Sunday. I’m sure that he has some pain in the leg, but injury-wise, this doesn’t appear to be anything that should cause lasting effects. 

QB Josh Allen (left hand)

On the same play as Feliciano, Allen threw the costly interception and had a minor collision with Titans LB Harold Landry III in where his left hand appears to hit the shoulder pad, namely at the metacarpophalangeal joint. He may have jammed his left thumb or suffered a contusion, causing him to favor the area briefly after the play. Considering this isn’t his throwing hand & he didn’t miss a snap, this isn’t something that the team should be worried about. Even if something did happen such as a minor sprain, this is something that could potentially heal during the bye week. Worst case, he could wear a brace as it’s his non-throwing hand. Unless there is an injury update, consider this injury, like Feliciano’s to be a dead matter. 

OG Cody Ford (concussion)

Ford, unfortunately, suffered a holding penalty on the play that led to his exit from the game due to injury. With 4:53 left in the 3rd quarter, Ford engaged with his defensive lineman assignment & got pulled down, driven headfirst into the ground. It initially appeared as though he got the wind knocked out of him, but reports later indicated he was assessed for a head injury. 

He has since been placed into the concussion protocol since Monday’s press conference. To note, it’s not a guarantee that he moves through the protocol quickly like some of his counterparts. However, having the bye week to recover only benefits him. 

LB Matt Milano (left hamstring)

Milano, a beast all season, continued his stellar play this week until the injury bug hit. Milano tweaked his left hamstring while attempting to slow down & possibly change direction in preparation to take down the Titans TE Jonnu Smith on the long reception. On film, it shows that he grabs at his hamstring towards the very end but is able to walk around afterward.

He was able to participate in one more play before motioning to come out & did not return. Regrettably, the deceleration in slowing down due to the eccentric contraction of the muscle caused the injury. Considering the grass was slick due to the rain, it was smart for him to not return. 

Taking into account the fact that CB Taron Johnson & RB Devin Singletary did not play today due to the same injury, this led to Milano not returning. Based on identifying how the team manages hamstring injuries, it’s very possible Milano misses the Dolphins game. Even then, he could miss the Eagles game as well, but until we have more information, his timeline for return will be very fluid. 

To make a note, Milano dealt with some hamstring issues during his rookie year early on during the Panthers game in ‘17 & missed the playoff game after suffering a hamstring strain against the Dolphins. He did not appear to have any issues last year according to records. While he has a history of hamstring strains, I cannot find evidence that this was the same side nor do I believe that the rookie year strains are affecting his most recent injury.

DE Trent Murphy (concussion)

Murphy has been incredibly healthy all season up until early in the 4th quarter. With 14:12 left, he was closing in for a sack on the left side while LB Lorenzo Alexander was coming from the right. Alexander came in slightly more direct on Titans QB Marcus Mariota before Murphy came slightly outside and collided. As expected with any possible head injury, Murphy was assessed for a possible concussion, ending his day. 

Like Ford, he has since been placed in the protocol & the hope is that he progresses through swiftly. We will probably not know where he or Ford stand until next Wednesday when practice resumes. 

S Jordan Poyer (head)

Similar to Murphy’s hit, Poyer attempted to help take down the ball carrier, assisting LB Lorenzo Alexander before colliding with him with 8:20 left in the 4th quarter. He was quickly assessed, missing several plays. Based on his ability to return to the game, he did not have any concussion-related symptoms, but this doesn’t prevent him from developing issues later on.

Thankfully, there have been no reports of concussion protocol for Poyer, though Matthew Fairburn & Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic reported on the Buffalo Beat podcast that he got a stinger on the play. I haven’t been able to confirm this anywhere else, but when there are questionable head injuries, the team is required to remove the player for further evaluation until a determination has been made. I don’t expect that Poyer will miss anytime or end up on next week’s injury report barring any new information. 

DT Ed Oliver (left foot/ankle)

Finally, the carnage is over, the last injury of the game. Oliver appeared to injure his left foot/ankle with 4:53 left in the 4th as he attempted to tackle Titans RB Derrick Henry. He did succeed in his quest, but in the process, for flipped over & his left foot hit the turf. He was able to get to all fours but appeared in distress immediately. He was able to walk off under his own power after a brief assessment by trainers. He may have suffered a contusion or jammed his ankle as a result of the hard slam. He did not return to the game, but there was not an opportunity to as the offense was able to close out the final minutes of the game & seal the win. This may be yet another injury that may not make much noise & be quickly forgotten about.

This game is done, finito, finished, ceased to continue. The Bills escape Nashville with a hard-fought 14-7 win & a bevy of injuries, but a bye to look forward to next week. As for those still working through injury, this week off will ideally help several key players to recover to make their triumphant return to New Era Field against the Dolphins in Week 7.

Top Photo Credit:

Syracuse.com