Week 14 Bills Injury Preview- Jets II

Assessing the latest Bills injuries including Taron Johnson’s shoulder surgery and Jason Croom’s groin prior to the Jets game.

This has been one of the more busier weeks of the Bills season as the front office is demonstrating “The Process” with moves preparing the team for 2019. If you’ve been under a rock, the team released WR Kelvin Benjamin & WR Andre Holmes, signing CB Denzel Rice & DE Mike Love from the practice squad, and placing C Russell Bodine on injured reserve as the result of a fibula fracture during last week’s game. With all this upheaval along with several injuries, this leaves many questions going into the Week 14 match up against the Jets. As one may fondly recall, the Bills absolutely destroyed the Jets 41-10 in their Week 11 match up behind an effective performance by QB Matt Barkley. This time around, it will be QB Josh Allen vs QB Sam Darnold with both teams jockeying to avoid the AFC East cellar. Today’s post will identify the injuries going into the game and how things may shake out.

Those already ruled out are QB Derek Anderson (concussion) and CB Taron Johnson (shoulder). Anderson continues to be limited indicating he is in stage 3-4 of the concussion protocol. I’m waiting for the other foot to drop and he gets placed on IR. At this point, he is taking a roster spot for someone else but his tutelage of Allen appears to be the reason he is still active despite not playing.

Johnson suffered a dislocated shoulder resulting in a torn labrum in his right shoulder during Week 1. He has since then re-injured the shoulder several times, missing only one game right after the initial injury along with wearing a shoulder harness to limit recurrence. He had been reportedly been in a non-contact jersey the past several weeks, giving his shoulder the rest and protection it required to get through the season until the Bills were officially eliminated from the playoffs. As a result, Johnson had successful shoulder surgery on Tuesday to repair his labrum and has since announced his season is done. I am not sure why the Bills are hesitating to place him on injured reserve; this may be due to a contract issue which we as fans are not privy to. The shoulder labrum recovery is a ~6-9 month recovery which will allow Johnson to ready for OTA’s in May-June at least in a limited fashion and fully healthy by training camp. To read more about the surgery that Johnson had, make sure to check out my article on WR Zay Jones who had the same procedure last year with great success.

Listed as doubtful is TE Jason Croom (groin). Upon video review, Croom doesn’t appear to have one play in where he injured his groin. He did not have any targets during the game but was involved in 35% of the offensive snaps and was playing until the final offensive series. Based on the knowledge we have, this appears to be a mild strain and the team is being proactive, allowing him to heal completely before rushing him back onto the field. We have seen most of the muscle strains this season result in minimum 1 game missed and this is no exception. I believe that this is a Grade 1 strain with Croom having the ability to return next week fully healthy. As he is listed as doubtful, most players listed as doubtful do not even play. In the event that he is active, he will likely be limited in offensive packages and used more likely as a decoy. Regardless of status, he should not play.

Listed as questionable is WR Isiah McKenzie (toe). Reports indicated that McKenzie injured his toe late in practice Thursday and was limited Friday, making him officially questionable for the game Sunday. Fortunately, publications state that he feels as though he will be able to go on Sunday which is a good thing as the Bills are expected to only have 5 WR’s available. My suspicion is that he sprained his great toe running a route pushing off too hard or pivoting. It is possible to injure the other toes on the foot, but when it comes to running, the great toe is essential for effective push off required for sprinting. He is truly a questionable decision, but considering the personnel available and his thoughts in the article, I expect that he plays.

G John Miller (oblique) is coming off a strained oblique suffered in the win over the Jaguars. He missed last week but is able to return which fits the timeline regarding muscle strains; I had suspected that he would miss 1-2 games based on the location. There is possibility to re-injure the area, but I would not consider the risk to be significantly greater than when he originally sustained the injury.

Those injured earlier during the Miami game that did not appear on the injury report were LB Tremaine Edmunds (knee/ankle) and S Jordan Poyer (finger). While they may be dealing with some soreness, this was not enough to warrant an injury report slot. Expect both to be key players to slow the Jets offense.

While the Bills are slowly losing players to injured reserve as the season winds down, most starters continue to stay healthy or at least available in order to help the team finish strong over these last 4 games. I believe the Bills will be able to finish this season with a 6-10 or 7-9 record. The big question marks I have are this upcoming Jets game and maybe the second Dolphins game. A 7-9 record would be a great finish after such a terrible start to the season. There’s a lot of promise on this team going into next year, we just have to see how the draft and free agency play to our favor. I believe the Bills will complete the season sweep of the Jets to move to 5-8.

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

Week 13 Bills Injury Preview- Dolphins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week 12 Bills Injury Review- Jaguars

Read up on the latest Bills injury news following Sunday’s win over the Jaguars.

The Bills are still in the hunt! With a 4-7 record, they still manage to stave off playoff elimination for another week with a thrilling 24-21 win over the reeling Jacksonville Jaguars. While 4-7 doesn’t sound like things are going well, there are positives to take away from this game and so far, the season. I do not believe that the Bills will make the playoffs even with the possibility that they win out. Having a strong finish to the season along with the development of QB Josh Allen, LB Tremaine Edmunds, and the improving offensive play calling allows the Bills to head into 2019 with lots of tools at their disposal and allows them to take that next step forward. However, as with every post, we will review the injuries sustained during Sunday’s win.

First up is CB Lafayette Pitts (concussion). The veteran corner suffered a concussion early in the 1st quarter on a punt return. He collided with WR Dede Westbrook and began stumbling off the field, initially ruled questionable, eventually downgraded to out before being placed in the concussion protocol. Like QB Derek Anderson, LB’s Matt Milano & Tremaine Edmunds, Pitts must pass through the protocol in order to be cleared for Sunday. The only information we have is that he is in protocol but not how severe this injury is. As always, we are unable to assess severity by video alone. This week’s practice will identify whether he will be available come Sunday.

Next up is G John Miller (oblique). The veteran O-lineman suffered what has since been described as an oblique strain. Quick reminder, a strain is an injury to the muscle itself which in turn affects movement. He was injured late in the 2nd quarter and was unable to return. There was not one particular play which identifies the strain which makes it difficult to diagnose severity.

As this is his oblique, this is a part of his abdominal muscles positioned on the outside portion next to the “six pack” we are all know. They are positioned on both sides connecting to the xiphoid process which is the pointed bottom portion of the sternum and connect down to the upper portions of the hip including the iliac crest, the bony portion of where our waists are located and about where most people’s pants sit. There are internal and external obliques but we would not really be able to identify which obliques he injured nor is it important to this discussion. Due to not identifying which play he suffered this injury on also limits knowing which side is ailing.

All these abdominal muscles make up what is known as the core. These muscles provide protection to the inner organs and function to flex and rotate the trunk. As he is on the offensive line, bending forward, twisting his upper body, and pushing against large humans while staying upright takes an immense amount of strength. Having an injury to this area would make his position very difficult to perform. It is also too soon to tell how severe this injury is and whether he will be available Sunday until he goes through this week of practice.

Finally, WR Robert Foster (head/neck). The rookie receiver suffered a brutal hit to his head/neck region catching a key pass to move the chains. He was forced to leave the game briefly but was able to return later. While he was able to return, this does not mean he’s totally clear from injury. He did get a hard hit up on the head/left shoulder area hauling in the catch. He could have lingering neck pain from this hit but according to media reports, he is not limited nor appearing on the injury report at this time.

Others coming off injury included: QB Josh Allen (elbow), DE Shaq Lawson (elbow), DE Trent Murphy (knee), and C Russell Bodine (shoulder). All appeared to play effective despite their recent injuries. Allen did not appear to be limited in any fashion, though still wearing a protective brace on his right elbow. We all saw how Lawson fought off RB Leonard Fournette indicating his elbow injury did not appear to hamper his abilities to fight or play. Finally, Bodine was observed to wear some type of neoprene compression sleeve up on his right shoulder which may indicate the side of his injury but without further information, we can only speculate that this appears to be minor such as a mild AC joint sprain or rotator cuff contusion. To note, this is not an item that he appears to have been wearing in previous games which further supports which shoulder is injured and the type of injury.

Those still working back from injury include TE Charles Clay (hamstring), QB Derek Anderson (concussion), and CB Taron Johnson (shoulder). All of these injuries have been well documented in past articles if you would like to read further.

Regrettably, as the season begins winding down, we will see injuries that are not that severe but could cause players to miss several weeks go straight to IR rather than try to return so that the front office can get guys who they like on a longer tryout in preparation for next season. Expect that after each game, injured players begin moving to IR rather than clogging up the injury report and roster spots.

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

Week 10 Bills Injury Review- Jets

Analyzing the latest Bills injuries following the beat down of the Jets and how the roster looks going into the bye.

This team, one week you’re ready to swear them off for good, next week, can’t get enough. What a complete win by the Bills over the Jets 41-10 to move to 3-7 sliding into the much needed bye week! There are so many positives coming out Sunday’s game, I will leave that to the pundits who know football more than I do to diagram the X’s and O’s. It was a fun win and reassures me that there is talent on the team, the coaching staff does have a plan, and hopefully next year they begin to bring personnel in to turn their grand plans into solid results. However, I am always here to assess the injuries sustained in the blowout and how they affect the Bills going into the Jaguars game two weeks from now.

Going in chronological order of injuries, starting off with WR Robert Foster (thumb). The rookie wide out sustained some type of left thumb injury early in the 1st quarter which required an assessment by trainers. At one point he was questionable to return, eventually returning to haul a huge pass from QB Matt Barkley in the 3rd quarter and finish with 105 yards on the day. As to the specific injury, he may have suffered a dislocated thumb.  He was observed going to the locker room with a trainer stabilizing the left hand at the carpometacarpal joint which is the lower portion of the thumb that connects to the wrist. While that does sound nasty, it is relatively minor. My guess is he somehow injured it on the fake punt play, it appeared he may have hit his thumb against a Jets defender coming down with the ball or he suffered it where there is no video available. In the event of a thumb dislocation, the thumb would be reduced and put back into place, he would be fitted with a thumb spica which is a small brace which would allow him some mobility to the area but reduce further injury. Foster was wearing gloves on both of his hands which prevent us from identifying if there is bracing under for support next time we got a close up. As he was able to return to the game, the week off should be good enough to allow him to heal effectively.

DE Jerry Hughes suffered a right knee injury during a tackle in the backfield and was able to walk off midway through the 2nd quarter. Upon review, he was pivoting up on his toe and rotating to the left, the mechanism suggested a minor MCL sprain but Hughes was observed jumping around and shaking his knee out, also grabbing at the front of the knee. He also did come down hard on the knee which then we are considering a contusion to the area which would explain the limping. Either way, he was able to return and continue to provide pressure on QB Josh McCown all day. The injury appeared to be minor and something that does not concern me moving forward.

CB Taron Johnson (shoulder) exited the game once again midway in the 2nd quarter and did not return. It appears that he suffered a re-aggravation of his right shoulder injury he has been dealing with all season. It is quite possible he subluxed the shoulder once again despite bracing to the affected area, though I was not able to see him wearing it Sunday. He suffered the injury on a hard tackle midway through the second quarter, tackling the offensive player with his left shoulder, and coming down hard on his right. After the play he was able to move it around, giving several high fives after shaking it out briefly. Interestingly, despite the upbeat activity after the play, Johnson did not return to the game which makes me suspect a subluxation as there is already laxity in the joint from previous injury. This means that less force is required to disrupt the joint, leading to easier and easier injures. This is something that he has experienced previously and may require rest and rehab in order to get ready for Week 12. It may be realistic that the Bills shut him down later this season if he continues to re-injure the area so that he can have surgery and be ready for OTA’s.

OG John Miller suffered what appeared to be a right knee injury on the scoring play by WR Zay Jones late in the 3rd quarter. Video is limited but he was pancaked and rolled back onto his own leg, appearing to twist his knee going down. He was able to walk off with a minor limp but yet another injury that does not appear to be serious. In the event that he needs to sit out any time, the coaching staff have been working in additional lineman to find the right scheme fits to spring the running game which appeared to be the case Sunday.

The most serious injury of the day is LB Matt Milano (head). The stalwart linebacker suffered a hard hit early in the 4th quarter that snapped his neck to the left upon contact with Milano going down instantly. It is unknown whether he lost consciousness but he was eventually able to stand up and enter the medical tent. On broadcast and initially getting up, he was favoring his left arm which may indicate that he suffered a stinger based on how he hit and the angle of his head/neck upon impact, but the more concerning injury is the blow to the head. He was eventually brought to the locker room for further evaluation but looking at video, there is cause for concern with a concussion. Whether he actually sustained one is not known yet, but in the event that he did, he will enter the concussion protocol as QB Derek Anderson is currently working through. Time will tell how he responds and hopefully he is cleared as he is having another standout season after a stellar rookie campaign.

Those that were questionable today going into the game were LB Tremaine Edmunds (concussion) and WR Andre Holmes (neck). Both appeared to play with full effectiveness and did not appear to be limited in their availability during Sunday’s win. I do not anticipate that they will continue to deal with their recent complaints and use the bye to rest up.

Overall, the Bills are in good shape going into the bye. While they are missing a lot of starters now, everyone with the exception of QB Derek Anderson appear to be ready to come back 100%. After the performance of QB Matt Barkley, there is question whether he should continue playing or to hand the reins over to QB Josh Allen. If Allen is 100%, play him and see what he can do. If there is any lingering issues which are possible considering the injury, rest him until he has no complaints or concerns. Barkley will eventually get figured out by opposing defenses which supports the idea that Allen should start, but at least the Bills have options moving forward. Personally, I would like to see Barkley or Allen starting Week 12 against the Jaguars, Anderson tutoring Allen as the 3rd QB, and QB Nathan Peterman cut and brought back on the practice squad to develop and be available if things go south.

As a fan, I am looking forward to having a week off from football. I do love the Bills, but they are mentally fatiguing at times and we all need rest. I suggest you all do the same. Over here at Banged Up Bills, continue to look for new content to help gear up for the remainder of the season. Feel free to ask questions or engage in discussions, I want you, the reader, to learn and understand these injuries so that you are a more educated fan and not a mindless lemming that is confused by clueless media reports regarding the health of the Buffalo Bills.

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

Week 6 Bills Injury Preview- Texans

Assessing the latest Bills injuries despite a rare injury free game report.

The Bills roll into Houston with a noted distinction rarely seen in today’s NFL. They have no one on the injury report in a league where each player is one injury away from never playing again. I am not a statistician or have extensively researched this, but the incidence of this is rather low if you ever took a look at www.pro-football-reference.com injury report for any team during any season. Despite this week’s rarity, today’s article will still review injuries from this week and impact they can have on the game.

Those on the injury report this week were S Micah Hyde (groin), S Rafael Bush (shoulder), CB Tre’Davious White (ankle), & G John Miller (ankle). As previously mentioned, Hyde and Bush missed last week with their respective injuries and White & Miller appeared to have either injured or aggravated previous injuries in practice.

However, all are cleared to play though may not be 100%, as most players aren’t fully healthy during the grind of an NFL season. Miller and White appeared to have generalized sprains based on limited reporting out of practice this week. Miller did deal with what I believed was a high ankle sprain last season. I do not believe he is dealing with an aggravation of this, but is a concern if he has repeated appearances on the injury report. White did not miss an defensive snap which makes me believe this is a minor injury. These generalized sprains can be managed well with rest, rehab, and proper bracing/taping to play the next week.

Bush is coming off a shoulder injury that by video, appeared to be an AC sprain. He was able to play though the rest of the game which makes me believe this to be the case. It is possible that he could have sustained a more serious injury, but we will know if there is any bracing or additional support on the shoulder that would signify any other injury.

With those on the injury report, the only one I am concerned about is Hyde. With groin injuries, they can linger as most strains do and are at a higher risk for re-injury if coming back too soon. There is a precedent for healthy players to be ruled inactive as CB Phillip Gaines and RB Marcus Murphy were ruled out in past weeks despite practicing in full that particular week. As Hyde is a vital cog to the secondary, it is possible that he may miss the game, but less likely as he is a starter. Add in the fact that the team released S Dean Marlowe indicates that Hyde will most likely play.

This fortunate injury report allows the Bills to go into Houston with a healthy roster and everyone mentioned above active. This will give them the best chance possible to get to 3-3. These are the games that fit “The Process” exactly; games that while tough, are games that can be won with the right game plan and personnel available. I do not anticipate the Bills to have results that mirror the Ravens and Chargers games. I believe that the Bills will walk away with a win and keep pace with their AFC counterparts.

This is one of the shorter articles this season and in my book, that is an excellent thing. Continue to check back for the latest updates and news coming out of One Bills Drive. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills and online at www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- C/G

Analyzing the injuries at the C/G position and implications for next season.

Today’s post on Banged Up Bills breaks down the guard and center positional injuries and implications for next season. A total of 5 players suited up at the C/G position that powered the Bills to the playoffs and was able to maintain a top 10 rushing attack. Unfortunately, the offensive line is aging and unexpected injuries have derailed the possibility for a repeat performance next season.

Starting off with the center position is C Eric Wood. The 9th year pro had a relatively successful season anchoring the offensive line. Injury wise, Wood suffered an ankle injury during the win over the Oakland Raiders which did not force him to miss any time and was not a factor for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, it was later revealed he did suffer two neck stingers in Week’s 5-6 which after an end of season physical resulted in his inability to continue to playing due to possible long term risks. A more detailed analysis of his injury can be found here. He is not expected to return under any circumstances and is not officially retired due to salary cap complications.

Next up is versatile C/G Ryan Groy. The 4th year pro served in mostly a backup role this season but has shown the ability to start when C Eric Wood went down in 2016 with a broken leg. Groy saw no time on the injury report with the exception of illness in Week 16. The young lineman appears to be a natural fit to replace Wood at the position as a low cost option and will either grow into the position or be a bridge piece for someone else to come in. Expect him to assume a larger role next season.

Transitioning to the guard position, there were 3 primary players that took on the job at guard. First up is G Richie Incognitio. The controversial player found a second life in Buffalo and has continued to demonstrate a Pro Bowl caliber play despite being one of the older players on the line. Injury wise, Incognitio saw minimal time on the injury report, suffering an ankle injury during the Tampa Bay game and shoulder injury during the playoff loss to the Jaguars. The 12th year pro did require weekly rest days which may have contributed to his ability to stay healthier compared to others. Incognitio is still very effective despite his age and is a great transitional piece as the front office slowly begins to rebuild the offensive line. Recently, he restructured his contract to allow him to stay on a more team friendly deal to allow the team to focus on other assets this off season.

Next man up is G Vladmir Ducasse who after not initially starting the season, came in and performed effectively, playing in 12 regular season games and 1 post season game. Ducasse was thought to be a depth player going into the season but questionable play by G John Miller led to Ducasse’s starting opportunity after 4 games. In addition to winning the starting job from Miller, the 7th year pro stayed injury free and proved how effective he can be in a run heavy offense. As for next season, the Bills would be making a poor decision if he were to leave. Like Incognitio, his contract and availability is favorable and he also provides a nice transition as the line gets older. Expect to see Ducasse on the line again in 2018.

Finally, G John Miller rounds out the guard review for the 2018 season. Miller had a pretty rough season, winning the job out of training camp before relinquishing his job after 4 games to Ducasse. To add insult to injury, Miller began to be ruled inactive thereafter and suffered what I suspected to be a high ankle sprain in practice right before Thanksgiving which forced him to miss 6 games. Despite Miller’s horrendous season, it is possible that he returns for next season. He is only 24, has demonstrated the ability to play well in past seasons and is going into the final season of his rookie contract. He does provide another veteran body in an aging line but is still young enough that could be moved in a trade for other pieces if needed.

In addition to all these players likely to come back next season, C Adam Redmon is on a futures contract which may allow the Bills to not have to search far for their next center if Groy does not work out or is injured. Continue to check back with Banged Up Bills for the latest injury updates. Check out Grandstand Sports Network for other injury related articles that I post and please check out the latest content by my fellow colleagues. GSN is truly an unique site comprised of passionate individuals providing the latest stories and shows not found anywhere else. GSN is the #1 place to go for the 2018 NFL draft! As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Bills Injury Breakdown- Patriots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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