Despite Sunday being Kid’s Day and Buffalo finally got to thank Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton for the miraculous TD to open the playoff door after a long wait, the Bills managed to stumble through an ugly loss to the Bengals. The 26-13 score led to more questions than answers especially at the QB and OL positions. Thankfully, the Bills managed to avoid serious injury and live to fight another day. Today’s post will review the few injury concerns coming out of the Bengals game and what this means going forward for the Bears game and regular season.
Amazingly, the only reported injury coming out of Sunday was LB Julian Stanford (nose). The only injury that a nose can sustain is a broken nose. This is evident from the reports that he is week-to-week and there are no further reports indicating surgery or any other facial injuries. The word is still out on whether he will make the roster but a broken nose should not cause any concern.
As the 4th preseason game will showcase most of the players that will not make the roster along with the several few that will, there are several starters that are still in question for the regular season. First up is RB LeSean McCoy (groin). The veteran starter has seen limited action this preseason and has been slowed by a groin injury sustained recently. As he is still able to participate in limited fashion in practice, I do not believe this is is anything that will linger into the season and he is more limited due to his veteran status and avoiding injury.
Another veteran dealing with a lingering injury is DE Trent Murphy (groin). He has been unable to participate with a nagging groin injury sustained early in the preseason. There is no possible reason that he would suit up in the final game but considering he has nearly 2 weeks until the preseason opener, there is reason to believe that he will be ready for the game against the Ravens. He originally sustained the injury at the very beginning of August, was able to return to full participation with practice a week after the injury and then re-injured it shortly after. He has been able to participate with individual drills and able to dress for games indicating that he is nearly ready to play given that it has nearly been a month. However, an additional 2 weeks will only benefit Murphy so that he can hopefully revert back to 2016 form prior to his ACL tear.
DT Kyle Williams (knee) is still out due to the sprained right knee he suffered in the win over the Browns. While it will be a long shot for him to return for the season opener, it is possible that he could participate in the home opener against the Chargers based on what he is able to do in practice. It has been reported that he is participating in light reps during individual drills and has been regularly seen without any bracing with the exception of a compression stocking. This indicates that the knee is stable and healing properly. Participating in individual drills also leads me to believe that he has no pain at rest and most likely full range of motion in the knee. Rehab is most likely progressing at an acceptable pace and I do not believe it is out of the question to see him in pads in 2 weeks with additional time allowing him to get game ready.
WR Brandon Reilly (rib) has been battling for a roster spot despite breaking a rib during the first preseason game against the Panthers. Injuries such as these require extra padding but otherwise the ability to withstand pain when hit. A broken rib has no long term implications besides whether Reilly has a job come September 9th.
Others dealing with injury include OT Dion Dawkins (hip), DB Kelcie McCray (hamstring), and QB AJ McCarron (shoulder). It is unknown what Dawkins specifically did to his hip, but it may just be a contusion considering he has still been able to participate in practice. He is another player the Bills would prefer to keep healthy in order to get to the regular season. McCray is battling a hamstring injury that appears to be a Grade 1 as he has not been ruled out for several weeks as some of his teammates have with other injuries. However, as all muscle strains are, rest and time must be primary factors for healing so as to avoid making this a chronic issue. Finally, McCarron was videoed tossing footballs around practice today indicating that he is feeling better and able to release the ball without compensation according to video. He got roughed up while in the pocket against the Browns but otherwise may be settling in for the backup role when the Bills travel to Baltimore. None of these injuries appear to be long term and should not hinder performance come the regular season.
As this post was very light, this just means that the Bills continue to avoid major injury and focus on becoming better football players. There are many positional battles that still need to be sorted out, but it is fortunate that these battles are between starters and second team, not 3rd stringers and street free agents due to injury. While the Bills will not avoid injury entirely this year, preseason’s such as this allow the Bills to build depth they’ve sorely lacked in previous years.
Continue to follow for the latest updates and news coming out of the Bills preseason. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on the web at www.bangedupbills.com, and on reddit at u/BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!