Week 12 Bills Injury Review- Broncos

Are Morse & Beasley going to play Thursday?

No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills! Circle the wagons they did with a convincing win over the Denver Broncos 20-3 on Sunday at New Era Field! From my observations, I did not see a play, series, or point in time where the Broncos were ever in control. It was not a blowout but a rather convincing win to move the Bills to 8-3, the best mark through 12 games since 1996. Think about where you were at that time; I was 8 & still watched Power Rangers. The original ones, with Jason the Green Power Ranger. Yea, that takes you back. 

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Credit: https://powerrangers.fandom.com/

Anyway, it’s a great feeling to be 8-3 with a march towards the playoffs despite a tough schedule in the coming weeks. However, to make matters difficult, the Bills have to turn around and play Thursday in prime-time against the Dallas Cowboys. Thankfully, the Bills did not suffer a major injury which gives them a better shot to compete. Below are the injuries from Sunday.

C Mitch Morse (right 5th digit)

Morse suffered a right 5th digit or pinky finger injury with 1:56 left in the 1st quarter when Broncos DE Von Miller sacked QB Josh Allen for a 5-yard loss. Morse was engaged with his blocker before falling down, landing with his right hand. He came up grabbing it & did not return for the rest of the day. He was later observed on the sideline practicing snapping to QB Matt Barkley, then going to the locker room before halftime.

I did manage to see that his 4th & 5th digits on his right hand were buddy taped indicating that he possibly jammed his finger when he fell down. To note, this is the hand that he snaps with. He did not return to play in the game but appeared to be available in case of injury. Suffering an injury to the 5th digit or pinky is crucial to Morse’s ability to play. Having pain or weakness in the hypothenar eminence which is the intrinsic hand muscles that account for 40% of grip strength really affects his ability to snap the ball. Think how painful it is when you can’t fully use your hand after it’s been hit. Now try to fully grip & squeeze an NFL football. 

It’s not to say that he couldn’t come back, but with OG Jon Feliciano as a very capable backup, there wasn’t a need for him to return. Morse stated after the game that he would take it day-to-day and that he should be fine. All he will need is some brief rehab to make sure he has full motion & strength return, possibly buddy tape the area for support & be able to play Thursday.

WR Cole Beasley (left ankle)

Beasley scared everyone when he went down late in the 2nd quarter on a designed run play by RB Devin Singletary. Beasley was blocking his assigned man when Broncos LB Todd Davis kicked his left ankle out from under him while diving trying to tackle Singletary. Beasley was in obvious pain & quickly attended to by trainers on the field. He was able to walk off under his own power & eventually return, scoring a TD in the 3rd quarter.

He finished the day 6-76-1, signaling that his ankle contusion was not going to be a problem. Like Morse, he may require brief rehab, more for pain & possible swelling in preparation for Thursday. He could possibly wear a compression sleeve under his sock but I see no scenario in where he doesn’t play against his former team Thursday.

WR Robert Foster (right hamstring)

Foster finally broke out with by far his best game in an overall disappointing season with a 22-yard run followed by a 24-yard catch in the 3rd quarter in where he was injured. He managed to catch the ball with 14:17 left in the 3rd quarter, streaking down the sideline before getting pushed out by Broncos S Justin Simmons. Foster was forced to load up his right leg to account for the sudden hit & attempted to slow down. Unfortunately, as he decelerated, he suffered what appeared to be pulled hamstring, requiring assistance from the training staff to get off the field. 

This is a common way to suffer a hamstring injury & his return was questionable, but he did not return the rest of the game. It’s possible that he was dealing with cramping in the area, but considering how he suffered the injury, it appears to be more of a strain. Barring a miraculous recovery, I do not see him suiting up Thursday against the Cowboys. Fortunately, the Bills have WR Duke Williams who is healthy & quite eager to play, having been inactive the past 4 games. 

Foster may miss the Baltimore game based on past hamstring management by the team, but considering he will have extra time to rest & rehab, there’s an outside chance he returns. We will have to see how available he is in practice following the Cowboys game.

Other notes:

As expected, OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle) & S Siran Neal (concussion) were ruled out before Sunday. Nsekhe is nowhere near being ready to play & had shown on Instagram that he was getting rehab daily, seen below. Neal is in Stage 2 of the concussion protocol & it is unknown if he will progress fast enough to be ready to play Thursday. 

DE Jerry Hughes was held off the stat sheet Sunday by Broncos OT Garett Bolles & dealing with a groin injury. Hughes was able to provide some pressure today but overall didn’t have the impact that he typically has in the game. It’s possible that his groin may be slowing him, it’s not something I can clearly see on film. Either way, I still expect him to play Thursday because he’s playing already, why not play Thursday & then he will get 9 days off.

On a special note, congratulations to RB Frank Gore who ran into 3rd place on the NFL all-time rushing yards list. He passed the immortal Barry Sanders & continues to show everyone how the job gets done. The career he has had despite all the early injuries including ACL tears to both knees in college before entering the NFL. From a fan perspective, it’s incredible watching historic events such as that.

The Bills will have practice this week like usual but it will obviously be condensed. I expect most practices to be walkthroughs as they heal their bodies up. Besides Foster, there shouldn’t be any big losses unless someone developed concussion symptoms after the game. It will be a quick 3-day turnaround before the Bills play on Thanksgiving. By Wednesday, there will be a much clearer injury picture heading to Dallas.

Top Photo Credit:

Rochesterfirst.com

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 11 Bills Injury Review- Dolphins

How severe is Nsekhe’s injury?

Another week, another win. The Bills move to 7-3 on the season with a convincing win over the Miami Dolphins in Miami Sunday afternoon. This is the best start for the Bills since 1999 & 10th time in franchise history that they started 7-3, all previous Bills teams made the playoffs with varying degrees of success. While the Bills are continuing to march towards the postseason, they will be without a key contributor moving forward. This & other injuries will be detailed below. 

WR Isaiah McKenzie (left knee)

McKenzie suffered a left knee injury when he caught a pass going out of bounds with :55 left in the 2nd quarter. CB Nik Needham was close by but unable to break up the pass, instead falling & hitting McKenzie’s lower leg. It appeared to hyperflex his left knee, causing McKenzie to get up & limp off the field. 

Thankfully this was close to halftime where he was able to get some rest & get a quick assessment to ensure he could play in the 2nd half. This injury appeared to be minor & is not something I expect him to show up on the injury report with later this week.

S Siran Neal (concussion)

Neal suffered a concussion midway through the 2nd quarter on the kickoff with 7:41 left following Hauschka’s FG. Unfortunately, the video is not available yet as there was a touchback & the camera followed the ball & not the players. It was reported he was shaken up on the play, but once All-22 comes out, we may get a clearer view of what exactly happened. Neal enters the concussion protocol with no guarantee he is cleared for next Sunday. 

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe suffered a rather severe right ankle injury with 9:14 left in the 3rd quarter. This was a routine run play by Singletary up the middle when Nsekhe’s foot was caught from behind by Dolphins DE Avery Moss, landing on the back on Nsekhe’s heel, forcing the ankle to roll under the big man violently before his body caught up & he falls down in obvious pain. 

He was immediately placed into in an air cast & carted off, waving to fans but in significant discomfort. The result: a likely ankle dislocation with fibula fracture. There is a concern that he suffered a tibia fracture as well, but he may have spared the more significant bone due to the ankle rolling as much as it did before he fell over. 

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Credit: physio-pedia.com

According to Monday’s press conference, more tests were being performed on Nsekhe’s ankle with no definitive answer at this time. 

This could be for several reasons: 

  • The swelling may have been so great that imaging did not show the true extent of the damage.
  • There isn’t an actual break but significant ligament damage on the lateral portion of the ankle.
  • The Bills know exactly what is going on (they likely do) & are sitting on the info because they have no reason to release it until they feel they’re ready or can sign someone to replace his roster spot. 
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Credit: physiodirectnz.com

Looking at an alternative video angle from Thad Brown, there is the possibility that Nsekhe avoided a break but dealing with quite a severe inversion ankle sprain. He would have injured the anterior talofibular & calcaneofibular ligaments when Moss landed on his ankle. There is a slight chance he avoided a fracture due to observing the heel sliding out, relieving pressure off the fibula as he went down. 

The sheer fact that he was placed into an air cast & carted off without the ability to place weight through his leg isn’t ideal. His season is possibly done, heading to IR for surgery & rehab if my original suspicions are confirmed. I am not certain but if you go on NFL Gamepass & watch the replay, it appears as though the snap of the bone is audible. I’ve played it multiple times in a row. 

This may be a similar injury to what LB Matt Milano suffered last season. if so, a recovery timeline for Nsekhe would be 6-9 months with my guess being closer to 8-9 months. There are several factors including: 

  • Nsekhe is 34 years old, Milano was 24 during his injury.
  • Nsekhe is 6’8”, 325 lbs. Milano is 6’0”, 225 lbs. 
  • Nsekhe’s bones are thicker & are required to accept more weight than Milano’s, requiring a longer healing time & associated recovery.

While 34 is still a youthful age, it is getting up there when it comes to the NFL. Nsekhe can & should make a full recovery, but considering the mileage on his body, it’ll be interesting to see whether he is able to return to full form in order to compete for a roster spot next year. He should be close to, if not fully ready for training camp & should be able to participate in OTA’s in 2020. He is clearly a talented player, the Bills have him under contract for another year, it may come down to how he looks in camp.

For the interim, OT Cody Ford slides into the starting role he has alternated with Nsekhe all season. OT Ryan Bates will likely move to back Ford up. Once Nsekhe moves to IR, the team may elect to fill his roster spot with practice squad players OT Brandon Hitner or OT Victor Salako. The other option is to find a street free agent or another player off another team’s practice squad. Either way, GM Brandon Beane already has a preliminary plan in place. 

Other observations from today’s game injury-wise include noting Nsekhe’s replacement OT Cody Ford is still wearing a hinged elbow brace with a compression sleeve on the left elbow from the injury in the Eagles game. Each week he wears this brace further confirms that he suffered some type of injury to the UCL ligament in the right elbow & the brace provides protection as the ligament heals. 

Other injury news to note is that DE Jerry Hughes was active & played his usual snap count, highest among the DL group. I had originally stated that Hughes would miss the game & I was wrong. While I did not observe every single snap, he did not appear to be compensating or limited. This also creates the thought that the team is not sold on rookie DE Darryl Johnson. While no one expects that Johnson can be an effective player such as Hughes, it shows that an injured Hughes is still better than a healthy Johnson. 

The loss is Nsekhe is going to hurt. While he is older, he showed the ability to play very well with the offensive unit. Ford is able to step in & contribute, but his play has been marred by penalties & inconsistent play. He will suffice, but the quality of play at the position will suffer. However, the Bills are 7-3 & even with a 3-3 finish to the season will give the Bills double-digit wins for the first time this millennium. The Bills are still very much in control of their destiny & can make noise in the playoffs if they played like they did Sunday.

Week 11 Bills Injury Preview- Dolphins

Will Hughes be able to go Sunday?

Going into 2019, we all felt that this Bills team was something special. This team was built through the draft in addition to key free-agent acquisitions, & hidden gems in UDFA’s. Along with a talented coaching staff leading the team to 6-3, there has not been enough credit given to the Bills training staff. Check out the tweet below from Wednesday in regards to the difference a month makes. Back at the beginning of October prior to the Titans game, the Bills had 12 players dealing with injury with 7 ruled questionable & 2 ruled out. 

What a difference a month makes.

Heading into Week 11 against the Dolphins, the injury report is minimal with only DE Jerry Hughes & TE Dawson Knox on the injury report. 

QUESTIONABLE

DE Jerry Hughes (groin)

Hughes was a surprise addition to the injury report Thursday with a groin injury in which he was limited in practice. It has since been confirmed that he re-aggravated the injury Thursday but this is something that has been lingering from before. What we don’t know is when he sustained the original injury as I went back in my records & did not find any instance where he was down on the ground or missed any time during games. He has since been designated as questionable & is a true 50/50 shot to play. Between getting treatment daily & getting down in the warm Florida weather may do good for Hughes. 

A reminder for the importance of the groin muscles: they assist with running, jumping, cutting, side shuffling, basically all motions required to bend around the edge in the case of a defensive end. Depending on the side of the groin pull, this could affect how he lines up & how effective he is throughout the game.

However, I could see him missing as this is a game that can be potentially won without him. The injury was Thursday; even 2 days of intense rehab interventions & rest may not be enough to be ready for Sunday. He’ll be a true game-time decision with myself leaning towards that he misses out of precaution. If he misses, we could see a re-emergence of rookie DE Darryl Johnson as a depth option.

TE Dawson Knox (knee)

Knox found his way onto the injury report Thursday with what HC Sean McDermott noted as “knee soreness”. It was expected that he was to return to practice Friday and that is nothing to be concerned about. I tend to want to believe what this coaching staff says, they have been fairly honest, but if it’s that minor, then why is it showing up on the injury report? 

He did have a left fractured foot and meniscus repair during his sophomore year at Ole Miss which required surgery, but there isn’t any certainty that it is the same knee or any relation to what is going on this week. 

The only other possibility is “load management”. Those dreaded words are seen commonly in today’s NBA circles. Knox may be hitting a proverbial wall & needs an occasional day off as he is progressing through his first NFL season. I think as he adjusts to the professional schedule, he will adapt, but the team clearly wants to avoid overuse injuries to their future assets. 

Possible Inactives:

TE Tommy Sweeney

OG Ike Boettger

OT Ryan Bates

S Dean Marlowe

DE Jerry Hughes

DT Vincent Taylor

RB T.J. Yeldon

As the Bills travel down to Miami, the temperature will be drastically different from the mid-teens & low 20’s felt in Buffalo after the most recent snowstorm. Miami will be a balmy 77 degrees on Sunday. Considering the temperature will be considerably higher, hydration will be a key factor in staying healthy. As the temperature increases, the body sweats more in order to help keep itself cool. The team will have to focus on hydration & ensure that all players have a good warmup to get the muscles loose & ready. 

This is a game that we could see some strains if dehydration & muscle fatigue set in during the 2nd half. The Bills are certainly healthy enough & in shape enough to overcome some injuries, but losing players to strains once the cool weather returns won’t help down this difficult stretch. The Dolphins always play the Bills tough, no matter the year, but this could be a bounce-back game for the offense to get on the same page in order to show the NFL that they can hack it. This won’t be an easy win, but hopefully, a win that can move the Bills to 7-3 before they hit the vital portion of their schedule.

Top Photo Credit

Forbes.com

 

Preseason Review & Week 1 Bills Injury Preview- Jets

Reviewing the starters preseason injuries & Week 1 injury preview.

Week 1 is days away & the Bills appear to be healthy after a successful preseason. Despite the team reporting that the roster is mostly healthy, several players are still dealing with the effects of the preseason. Below is a list of players who have suffered injuries through the preseason. This is broken into 3 tiers to identify severity level and what to watch out for in the coming weeks.

Minor but noteworthy:

LB Corey Thompson- Groin

Thompson missed the Panthers as the result of a groin strain suffered during the Colts game. Groin injuries can linger if not addressed with rest & rehab. Considering Thompson is a backup & special teams contributor, the likelihood of re-injury is low.

WR Zay jones- Back soreness/hamstring

According to video, Jones appeared to be working through general back soreness early in camp. This was concerning as he had missed minicamp with undisclosed reasons. It was later revealed that he had been dealing with a hamstring issue that did not get re-aggravated during the preseason.

Jones was able to play a various positions during the preseason & played late into games. As a result, there is always concern that he could suffer an overuse injury. Hydration along with proper warm up will can reduce the chances the hamstring flares up.

S Micah Hyde- Neck

Hyde battled a neck injury early in camp, causing him to miss the Colts game. Looking back now, it appears that he suffered a mild strain. This isn’t likely to be a chronic or recurring issue, but still worth taking note. As he’s such a vital part of the secondary, any injury to Hyde is worth watching.

OG Quinton Spain- Thumb surgery/ankle contusion/foot soreness

Spain has battled several injuries since signing with the team in free agency. He first suffered a thumb injury which required surgery. Once training camp began, he dealt with foot soreness early in camp which forced him to miss some time. He appeared to be on the mend & play well until he got stepped on by RB Frank Gore during the Lions game.

This appears to be a bruise to the area that control the foot arch and help to push off during running. These muscles will also be effective in pushing forward to hold during blocking. For Spain, this shouldn’t be a long term issue. The only limitation will be if pain is still affecting him at that time. This shouldn’t be a problem for Week 1, but we don’t know every single bit of info that goes into the decision.

WR Andre Roberts- Quadriceps

Roberts suffered a quadriceps injury sometime during Monday’s practice. McDermott reports that he day-to-day which bodes well for his availability for Sunday. Considering that practice was stretching and individual drills, I suspect that he suffered more of a quadriceps strain. This could have been during a routine drill, stopping suddenly, or jumping for a ball. Without video or specific injury information, my assumption is that he will play Sunday and is out of precaution to ensure that he is healthy.

Worried but should be alright:

CB Tre’Davious White- Quadriceps contusion

White suffered a quadriceps contusion in the Lions game that initially appeared to be worse at first glance. After the injury, he was observed moving around on the sidelines without much difficulty and has since been able to practice without restriction. The quad contusion actually protects him from further injury at the moment as he may not have 100% function, but he won’t be able to push past it and overwork it. This isn’t something that typically lingers either, needs rest and proper healing.

TE Dawson Knox- Hamstring

Knox missed most of the preseason with a hamstring strain suffered early in camp. Hamstrings are tricky as even though they heal, they can be re-injured if the muscle group maxes out & fails. This is the problem as the player may feel good and then suffer a setback. I hope that Knox doesn’t have any further issues, but it’s far from a guarantee.

CB Taron Johnson- Groin

Johnson’s groin in itself isn’t the biggest concern, but rather his past injury history & his style of play. He missed the 2nd preseason game with the groin injury, but was able to play without apparent issues in the 3rd game. Groin issues can reoccur, especially with the positional demands of the cornerback position. However, with his torpedo type tackles and smaller frame, he may suffer further injuries this season unless he puts some finesse on his game to allow him to stay healthy.

G Spencer Long- MCL sprain

Long missed early parts of the preseason with what was described as “knee soreness”. However, he was seen with a compression sleeve followed by a hinge knee brace that provides lateral support to the knee which indicates he may have suffered a mild MCL sprain. These heal up quite well and as Long is a lineman who works in small spaces, he doesn’t rely on the MCL for cutting as much as a RB or CB would need. He shouldn’t have issues from this injury.

OT Ty Nsekhe- Knee sprain

Nsekhe is another player who suffered a “tweak” in his knee that caused him to miss parts of the preseason. On what the tweak is, hard to say without a mechanism of injury or further details. Considering his age and experience in the league, this may have been more precautionary. He, like Long, works in small spaces and should be able to perform his job without difficulty.

Can play, concerned for further issues:

WR Robert Foster- Turf toe/shoulder

Foster had an emergence last season after getting cut early on before changing his attitude and becoming a favorite target of QB Josh Allen’s. Foster was dealing with a shoulder injury early in camp that didn’t limit him but the turf toe that he has battled in the spring returned. Turf toe is a sprain of the great toe joint which is essential for push off during walking & balance. This is essential for sprinting as most of Foster’s activity is short bursts and pivots. He will most likely need a stiff sole or orthosis to restrict movement in the toe and frequent rehab to heal the injury & to prevent it from getting worse. He should be able to play Week 1, but he is coming in not quite 100%.

DE Jerry Hughes- Ankle/R hand/wrist

Hughes dealt with an ankle injury that limited him early in training camp but didn’t appear to be a factor during preseason games. It may have been general ankle soreness but more of a veteran rest injury. As for his wrist, he has worn a brace on the right side but hasn’t missed practice. It appears he injured it sometime during the win over the Panthers. Reviewing game film didn’t reveal any specific instance of injury. Having the wrist in a brace will limit his ability to hand-fight to get inside but shouldn’t affect the ability provide pressure. Wrist sprains in itself aren’t too concerning & should remedy within the next week barring any new information.

OT Conor McDermott- Concussion

While McDermott has been cleared from the concussion protocol, there is always a greater chance that he could suffer a future one later this season. From what I have found, this is his only documented NFL concussion, but his college career regarding injury is unknown. As he is a reserve player, the chances for concussion are less but still present.

C Mitch Morse- Concussion

Much has been said about Morse’s concussion including the moment when he sustained the injury back in late July. He has since cleared the protocol and returned to practice, but this is now his 4th documented concussion. It’s unknown if he will have further issues this season or if he has another concussion, only time will tell.

TE Tyler Kroft- R foot fx

Kroft has been working back from a fracture in his foot suffered during the first day of OTA’s back in the spring. Despite staying on the PUP all preseason, he made the 53 man roster and has been limited in practice though appearing to take part in individual drills. Video has shown the ability to push off the foot with conviction and pivot to turn up the field in the videos shown below. It appears that he will be ready soon, it may be a conditioning limitation at this point until he is fully ready to go. We may see him as soon as Week 3 for the home opener.

Despite the above mentioned players, outside of Roberts & Kroft, the team is actually very healthy. Understand that it will not stay this way, but there are several teams such as the Bengals who have been decimated by injury before Week 1. This can be a special year, the health of key players mentioned above will determine the course of the season.

Bills Preseason Injury Preview- Vikings

Breaking down the latest injuries heading into the preseason finale.

The Bills close out their preseason schedule with the possibility to go 4-0 for the first time in franchise history. While preseason success is not indicative of regular & postseason accolades, the fact that the Bills are able to take their depth and stay competitive is excellent to see. The 4th preseason game is where guys make their last push to show the coaching staff why they need to make the roster and may benefit only several guys. Today’s post will review all injuries but focus on guys who are on the bubble that could likely play Thursday.

Ruled out: C Mitch Morse, DE Jerry Hughes, OL Ty Nsekhe, CB Taron Johnson, OL Quinton Spain, CB Tre’Davious White

All those listed above are likely starters and would have no benefit to playing in a meaningless game.

Morse is still working through the concussion protocol.

Hughes is dealing with a right hand/wrist injury.

Nsekhe is dealing with a knee injury.

Johnson has had a groin strain.

Spain has a foot/ankle injury.

White a quad contusion.

All of these would likely not cause problems during the regular season. However, the spotlight is brighter during the preseason & concerns are heightened. All should be ready for Week 1.

Questionable:

Conor McDermott: concussion

McDermott still appears to be working through the concussion protocol with no official word that he has been cleared. He has been participating in full padded practices which is always a good sign. If he plays Thursday, then that will indicate that he’s cleared & his one last shot to show why he needs to be on the final 53.

CB Cam Lewis- concussion

Lewis suffered a hard hit in the win over the Panthers 2 weeks ago & was removed from the sidelines with a neck immobilizer. He has since returned to practice in a red jersey but like McDermott, if he is not cleared, he may be forced to sit on the sidelines and wait for an IR designation or injury settlement.

TE Kyle Carter- knee

Carter suffered a knee injury in the win over the Lions last Friday. There was not a clear play when it happened, but he may want to play through in order to have a shot to get some extra game film out there. I am unsure whether he is eligible for practice squad still, but tonight will be possibly one last shot for him.

RB Senorise Perry- quadriceps

Perry, once a virtual lock for his special teams prowess is now looking outside in at the 53. He was dealing with a minor ankle injury that he played through in Friday’s game but was later limited by a new quadriceps injury. Like the others, it isn’t clear when this occurred, but he has been unable to practice since then. Depending on the severity of the injury, it is unknown if he will suit up tonight.

WR Robert Foster- turf toe

Foster has been battling a turf toe injury all spring & summer which was confirmed recently. He was limited with mandatory mini camp, appeared to be full go during the early parts of training camp before being hobbled again by the toe. Turf toe is notoriously difficult to fully heal and can linger all season at times. I believe that Foster was fully healthy coming into training camp and then tweaked it 2 weeks ago. He should make this team but may play tonight to ensure his spot.

TE Dawson Knox- hamstring

It appears Knox has his hamstring issues behind him as he was able to play last game without issue. He also did not appear to have any setbacks this past week during practice. He may play tonight to get the reps which I believe will be beneficial in his development but should only see the early part of the game and get out after the 1st quarter.

TE Jason Croom- hamstring

Croom dug a hole that he just can’t get out of with his hamstring issues from the past few months. Recent information came out indicating that he tore his hamstring back during spring practices, worked his way back before re-injuring himself at the beginning of training camp. At times, he has looked awesome in practices, but appeared to have a setback last week which prevented him in playing Friday. Whether he plays tonight is anyone’s guess; his best chance may be to play tonight and get some game film out there in the hopes that someone takes a chance on him or that he comes back to the Bills practice squad.

Released/Injured Reserve

P Cory Carter- knee

Carter was dealing with knee soreness which put him behind in the punting competition over the past 2 weeks. Ultimately, he fell behind too far and was cut. As he had knee soreness and not an outright injury, the team did not owe him an injury settlement and he was free to pass through waivers to find a new home.

OT De’Ondre Wesley- knee

Wesley was injured late in the win over the preseason, he was able to return but was out for the Lions game. There is not clear video available indicating what he injured, but it was enough that the team gave him an injury settlement to go elsewhere when he is ready to play.

DE Mike Love- pectoral

Love appeared to injure his pectoral muscle sometime during Lions game. He was able to play most of the game up to about 7 minutes left in the 4th quarter. There was no clear mechanism of injury which makes identifying his injury difficult. As of now, he will be on the Bills IR for the season unless he reaches an injury settlement before cut down day on Saturday. I have no idea which way the team will lean, but his salary is guaranteed if he’s on IR, so it’s likely he stays with the Bills and focus on himself for next season.

Overall, the Bills have most of their roster filled out with several roster spots up for grabs. It may not be the prettiest game, but it’ll be one last audition for most of the players on the field. Regardless of tonight outcome, we will have our 53 man roster Saturday.

Bills Preseason Injury Preview- Lions

The Bills may be cautious with injuries, but they are on the mend heading towards Week 1.

Friday marks the 3rd preseason game of the 2019 season against the Detroit Lions. The team continues to improve the overall health but remain cautiously optimistic on several players.

The 3rd preseason game is typical the dress rehearsal for the presumed starters, but time on the field may be abbreviated. Considering the number of star players around the league going down with senseless injuries, the Bills may keep it to several drives to minimize the risk. Below is several players to watch for in Friday’s game.

Ruled Out:

C Mitch Morse- concussion

The fact that Morse is not playing is not a surprise. The Associated Press’ John Warwow has reported that the team has been precautionary in dealing with his concussion.

What this implies is that the team and Morse jointly decided that he would take his rehab slow despite the possibility that he could have come back to full practices sooner. I am not certain this approach would be available in the regular season, but considering that this is his 4th documented concussion, this is the right approach now. They had the time available to ensure his health & prevent a second concussion that could prematurely end his season.

OL Conor McDermott- concussion

Like Morse, McDermott is dealing with his own concussion. Thankfully, he appears to be moving through the protocol quickly. No announcements have been made whether he has been cleared, but considering the depth issues on the offensive line, not playing Friday may be his best chance to make the roster if further injury along the O-line occurs.

CB Cam Lewis- concussion

Lewis is still working through his own concussion that appeared to be much worse than originally anticipated. If you recall, he was placed in a neck immobilizer following his hit in Friday’s game. He has not been seen at practice which indicates he is likely in Stage 1-2 of the protocol. The Bills could still place him on IR if they wanted to, but may wait to see if he recovers to play in the 4th game.

P Cory Carter- knee soreness

Despite working back from last year’s traumatic ACL tear in the preseason, Carter will miss Friday’s game. The team has described knee soreness as the reason for his absence. It is not known which knee is bothering him. My hope is that it is his kicking leg, but if it is his plant leg, that could be concerning as this was where the ACL tear occurred. Once more information is known, a better prognosis can be identified.

OT De’Ondre Wesley- unknown

Wesley continues to be dealing with an injury that has not been divulged as of Friday. The original injury was sustained in last Friday’s game but he was able to return shortly after. Looking at video, he walked off with about 2:30 left in the 3rd quarter appearing to shake out his right wrist/arm. Watching the play before, he didn’t appear to do anything out of the ordinary which makes identifying an injury extremely difficult. Without further information, he will remain an unknown.

Questionable:

CB Taron Johnson- groin

Johnson suffered what appears to be a minor groin strain following the first preseason game. He was able to play in the 2nd game without issue but considering the nature of the injury, the team may keep him out to keep him healthy for Week 1.

WR Robert Foster- toe

Foster appeared to jam his toe during practice on Monday. He was seen applying ice to the area following practice according to The Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn. If this was his big toe, this may prevent him from effectively pushing off, reducing his explosiveness during running & cutting. This isn’t exactly described as turf toe, but if he continues to work through the injury, it could worsen into a turf toe or another ailment. He may sit as a precaution, but if the injury was truly minor, he may play.

TE Dawson Knox & Jason Croom- hamstring

Knox is already cleared to play Friday according to reports. He had said on One Bills Live that he felt that the training staff took him real slow with his recovery. However, he feels great and ready to go. There is always a chance he could re-injure the right hamstring but far from a guarantee.

Croom on the other hand, continued to sit out practice this week despite getting into pads last week. It is unknown if he had a setback, but missing a 3rd game would certainly sink his chances to make the roster.

DE Jerry Hughes- Hand/wrist

Reports indicate that Hughes was practicing on a limited basis due to injury. Specifically, he was observed wearing a brace on his right hand during practice. Looking at film, there were several instances that he had fallen down to the ground or roughly engaged with offensive lineman. There was not any specific play that pointed to exactly what is going on. As he is a veteran player and he is wearing something that is supportive to an injured area, this may be precautionary and quickly forgotten. It is difficult to identify whether he will play Friday night.

Remember, this is the preseason, teams don’t have to identify specific injuries, they don’t have to play players if they don’t want, they have more flexibility to preserve the health of players, which leads to overblown worries about player’s health.

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. Make sure to follow my work over at Buffalo Rumblings for deep dives on specific injuries throughout the season.