Week 4 Bills Injury Review- Packers

Observing the multitude of injuries suffered by the Buffalo Bills in the loss to the Green Bay Packers.

After such a promising win last week against the Vikings, the Bills returned to their inconsistent ways. They limped out of Green Bay after a 22-0 loss and several injuries that could leave them vulnerable next week at home against the Tennessee Titans. Today’s article will review those injuries and the impact they have on next week.

Those coming off injury were RB LeSean McCoy (ribs), TE Jason Croom (knee), and DE Shaq Lawson (hamstring). All were able to play without limitation, though were not productive. Interestingly, CB Phillip Gaines (elbow) was ruled inactive despite practicing in full this week, indicating that it may have been a personnel decision rather than a medical one.

First up is S Micah Hyde who suffered a groin injury midway through the 1st quarter. He sustained the groin injury during a deep pass despite not being directly involved with the play. Film review shows that he injured his groin backpedaling, keeping up with TE Jimmy Graham. He then began redirecting his focus, turning right to change direction to catch up with the play on the left side and came up hobbling. It appeared that he pulled his left groin performing a move he’s done countless times, a football move, to put it simply. Hyde was able to walk off under his own power but had a noticeable limp, unable to return. It is unknown how severe the injury is; my guess is a Grade 1 groin injury, similar to what DE Trent Murphy sustained during preseason. Hyde could be out 1-3 weeks based on severity, more likely out 1-2 games due to the nature of his position. While stretching, strengthening, and a proper warm up routine can and do reduce the incidence of these injuries, there was nothing he could have done on this play to avoid it, just a hazard of the job.

Following the Hyde injury, CB Taron Johnson went down with a R shoulder injury though was able to return shortly later. He originally suffered the same injury in the season opener against the Ravens but has since re-injured his shoulder every game that he has played. He continues to re-injure by the same means; a direct blow to the shoulder during a textbook tackle.

Originally, my thoughts were a stinger due to the direct blow, but he has since been wearing a shoulder harness which indicates some type of shoulder instability seen in AC joint sprains or labral tears. As he continues to injure his shoulder in the same fashion, I am now suspecting a labral tear in his shoulder. His AC joint would have been improving weekly and would not have required a brace as he healed. He continues to require attention from the trainers after each hard hit but was able to return rather quickly to the game which is not uncommon after an injury such as his. He may have noticed pain and weakness to the area but still be able to play the position. Regrettably, Johnson may eventually require surgery similar to what WR Zay Jones had in the off season. It is possible to play with a torn labrum, but the more that the shoulder gets injured, the more damage occurs. During the hit, he is most likely subluxing his shoulder, or partially dislocating due to the direct blow to the shoulder. The more he subluxes, the more tearing/fraying that can occur to the labrum. He may reach a point where the shoulder becomes too unstable or fully dislocates with a hit which may necessitate surgery. He can play next week but his production may eventually suffer. I did note that he began changing his tackling style, leading with his left shoulder to force a QB Aaron Rodgers fumble, but this may not be the best long term solution to get through the season.

WR Kelvin Benjamin suffered a brutal hit to the head attempting to haul in a pass, instead was intercepted by CB Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Benjamin was blindsided and went to the ground immediately. He left the game after that hit and was assessed for a head injury but was cleared and returned to the game late in the 4th quarter, though wholly ineffective throughout Sunday, bringing in 1 pass for 35 yards. I don’t anticipate this being an issue this week.

TE Charles Clay suffered a left ankle injury late in the 3rd quarter which required the athletic trainers to tape up his ankle indicating some minor instability following a sprain. He would get the ankle taped up to control for any swelling and provide support so that he could continue playing for the rest of the game. Film review showed that he got his foot caught in bodies rolling on the ground as he tried to get out of the way. Expect him to wind up on the injury report this week with a variety of injuries that may force him into not participating or being limited. However, it is far too early to tell whether these injuries will culminate into missing game time. Prior to the injury, Clay was involved but limited in the passing game, hauling in 4 passes for 40 yards.

Other injuries that did not appear to be that severe included DE Eddie Yarbrough , OT Jordan Mills, and CB Ryan Lewis. During their respective injuries, they appeared to be banged up but were able to return to play indicating that these are injuries not to be concerned with. However, with how this game went, every injury was initially be thought as concerning until ruled otherwise.

Overall, a very tough loss to deal with but one that we should have saw coming. While there will be more bright spots this season, they will also come with bitter tastes left in our mouths in between. As a PT, I want to continue to see these Bills avoid serious injury in order to continue to gel as a unit rather than replacing guys to stop the bleeding from the loss of key starters in the future.

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 at u/BangedUpBills, and http://www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 3 Bills Injury Recap- Vikings

Dissecting the latest injuries coming out of the Bills win over the Vikings.

Wow, all I can say is, wow! That was quite the performance by both QB Josh Allen and the entire Bills squad as they came in as one of the biggest underdogs in recent memory and blew the Vikings out of the water in their own stadium. While I did predict a loss and many others did, I am quite okay with the results. This win gives true meaning to the term “Any Given Sunday”. As the Bills walk away with a gigantic “W”, letting the NFL know they are not dead in the water, they also walk away with minimal injuries. Today’s post will identify injuries sustained in the game and what this means going forward.

The biggest injury to come out of Sunday’s win is DE Trent Murphy (ankle). The veteran end from Washington in some fan’s eyes has been a disappointment so far after missing the entire preseason with a groin injury with lackluster performances in the 1st two weeks. However, as he has rounded into game shape, his presence was felt in the most recent game with a sack, forced fumble, and two tackles. He continually provided pressure against Minnesota’s woeful O-line which prevented QB Kirk Cousins from showing why he earned that massive contract in the off season.

Murphy sustained a right ankle injury late in the 4th quarter with the game already in hand. During the play, he was in the backfield when one of the Vikings offensive lineman got knocked down and rolled into his ankle. The mechanism initially appeared to favor a high ankle sprain due to him falling down with his foot twisted out. However, it appears that the ankle was merely rolled up on, causing a what appears to be a minor sprain which during Monday’s presser was termed as “day-to-day”. This indicates that this is not severe, he should be available Sunday, and there is no long term damage. To note: this is his right ankle he injured; he tore his left ACL last season. Injuries to the contralateral side can and do occur after major injury such as an ACL, but I believe this is a garden variety sprain and he could be back next week.

Others dealing with injury are CB Taron Johnson (shoulder) and CB Ryan Lewis (cramps). Johnson injured his right shoulder during a tackle in the 3rd quarter, similar to the hit that ended his day in Baltimore. Upon getting up, it was observed that Johnson was wearing a shoulder harness which typically is indicated for shoulder instability. I believe this is the direct result from the Ravens game and reason why he re-injured his shoulder Sunday. I had originally considered the possibility that he injured his AC joint, resulting in a sprain, or suffering a partially dislocated shoulder or subluxation. Reviewing film again, Johnson moves his arm freely walking off the field in Week 1. In Week 3, Johnson was able to return to playing but the hard hits continued to take its toll.

I believe Johnson sprained his AC joint during the initial tackle in Week 1 and is still dealing with some instability. AC joints can and do heal up quicker but still take their required time to rest. That is the most favorable result based on the initial injury. If he suffered a torn labrum via subluxation, he could still play but he may realize that he is not effective, eventually leading him to surgery. However, it is really difficult to determine without further information at this time. I am obviously hoping for the former.

CB Ryan Lewis never had a specific injury identified by the team but I believe that he was dealing with cramping initially as was C Russell Bodine and WR Kelvin Benjamin earlier in the game. However, Lewis went down again late in the game for what appeared to be unknown reasons. During the play, he changed direction suddenly and took a hard step on his right foot and appeared to be favoring it as he jogged into where the play ended. He was standing up, motioning to the training staff before getting down on his hands and knees while he was tended to.  Whether this means anything is to be seen. He may show up on the injury report with some type of ailment such as a calf or ankle or it may have just been fatigue. This was his first NFL game action, he had already been dealing with cramps, and the intensity of his first game plus nerves may have tired him out quicker. They say the game moves even faster at that level; it would stand to reason it requires more thought which could lead to greater fatigue. I do not expect any long term issues.

Other than the above mentioned injuries, those coming off injury appeared to have no ill effects. WR Ray-Ray McCloud was able to make his NFL debut and field at least one punt return for some yardage. It was observed that he wells wearing bracing on the left knee to give medial/lateral support supporting the notion that he had a knee sprain. This was most likely due to requiring extra support to the previously injured knee in the preseason win over the Bears. I do not see this being an issue moving forward with him ditching the brace soon.

Others coming off injury include RB Taiwan Jones. Previously mentioned, he suffered the nasty gash to his forehead in the loss to the Chargers. It appears that his wound was healed up enough in order to play without issue. His wound will only continue to heal without any further issues.

Even with the above mentioned injuries, the Bills continue to show strong depth which allows them to stay competitive in games. The Bills should be able to come in healthier against the Packers next week and set themselves up to steal another win from the NFC North.

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 at u/BangedUpBills, and http://www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Buffalo Bills Training Camp Injury Primer

Reviewing last season’s major injuries and how they will impact the 2018 season.

Training camp is upon us! Thursday is the first full day for the Buffalo Bills to begin training camp at St. John Fisher in suburban Rochester, NY. This training camp, as many others, will shape the 2018 roster. We will see new players rise up to the challenge and find themselves on an NFL roster. Others will experience the heartbreak of falling short of their dreams. Finally, we will see many players whose seasons will end before they even really began due to injury. Today’s post will review some of the high profile Bills players and their previous injuries and what this means going forward. If you would like to listen to the audio version of this article, I appeared on the Cover 1 podcast last night and discussed these injuries, check it out!!

First up is RB Travaris Cadet. The 6th year back was an effective backup behind RB LeSean McCoy and allowed the offense to keep defenses on their toes. Regrettably, Cadet fractured his ankle in a gruesome manner late in the season and was placed on IR. After an injury such as that, there are natural concerns for his ability to recover and rejoin the team. According to what we know regarding the timeline for his recovery, he is fully healed and videos such as this indicate that he is at full health. I do not believe his injury will hold him back; rather his skill may be the biggest detriment as the Bills have loaded themselves up on running back. Look for a full contribution from Cadet and time will tell whether he finds himself on the 53.

Next man up is WR Kelvin Benjamin. The gigantic wideout comes back to the Bills for the final year of his contract and his production this season will determine his future home. Fortunately, Benjamin comes into this season healthy after being limited with a partially torn meniscus sustained in the dumpster fire that was the Chargers game. The 4th year wideout had surgery in the offseason and while he may have issues well after his playing career, he should not have any setbacks in camp as the offending tissue has been excised and rehab fully complete. Hopefully he will have a QB that is more likely to throw, leading to a big season for Benjamin.

Continuing our trend of injured Bills, TE Charles Clay. The 7th year tight end suffered a partially torn meniscus and MCL tear in the loss to Cincinnati but was able to return down the stretch to push the Bills into the playoffs. Clay should not have any limitations following that injury going into training camp. However, he may continue to have issues with his chronic knee condition he has dealt with in previous seasons. I believe this will slow him down but as he has shown in previous seasons, it really does not stop his ability as he has been able to appear in at least 13 games every year over his career. He will need veteran rest days but should be fully healthy in training camp.

DE Trent Murphy enters his first training camp with the Bills after spending the first 4 years with the Redskins. Up until last year, Murphy had shown the ability to provide pressure on the end and get to the quarterback, racking up 9 sacks in the process in 2016. His 2017 season ended quickly with a torn ACL in the preseason opener and was lost for the season and released afterward. Typical ACL recoveries take roughly a year to return to full form and this is evident with Murphy starting the season on the active roster after being limited in OTA’s. He should not be limited due to his previous injury, but he still carries a higher risk to re-tear his graft or tear the other ACL for up to 2 years.

LB Ramon Humber is another veteran returning to camp this season. The 9th year linebacker had a hot start to his season before suffering a broken thumb in the win over the Falcons last season which cost him 3 games. He was able to return and still contribute, but rookie Matt Milano got some game time experience which allowed him to excel in McDermott’s defense and hold onto the starting job. Humber will continue to provide a veteran presence and leadership on this team going into 2018.

Newly acquired CB Vontae Davis comes from the Colts after an injury shortened season in where he suffered a sports hernia, limiting him to 5 games. Davis elected to take the surgery which led to his release from the Colts, but I believe that he made the right choice in order to extend his career. As indicated in the hyperlinked article, 90% of NFL players who suffer a sports hernia are able to return to the NFL after surgery. While talent may differ due to each player, the ability to come back at all is the most important thing. I believe Davis will not miss a step and will actually be an upgrade to former Bill CB E. J. Gaines.

Our final defensive player on this list today is LB Matt Milano. The rookie linebacker out of Boston College outplayed where he was drafted in the 5th round and provided a bright spot at what was a weak linebacker corps. Milano had issues with his hamstrings last season and continued to be limited during OTA’s. He should be at full health coming into training camp but should be eased in slowly, avoiding game speed reps until he is confident that he is ready. I do not expect him to fully avoid re-injury, but limit the severity of the strain if it does occur again. Look for another solid contribution this year barring major injury.

Rounding out this article is WR Zay Jones. The NFL has not been kind to the rookie WR so far in his young career, suffering what appeared to be the yips early in the season. We now know that this was attributed to a labral tear which limited his ability to catch effectively. He had surgery in late January and should be cleared medically. In addition, Jones also had surgery on his knee in mid May. As he was recently placed on the active/non-football injury list, this indicates this injury occurred in the off-season. Whether this is tied to the well publicized hotel incident is in question, we may never know. Once Jones is cleared medically for his knee, he should not have any further complications moving forward. He will need a big season to right the ship and maintain a long career in a Bills uniform.

This wraps up the the major injuries heading into training camp. We will begin to see a host of new injuries, some minor, some major, but Banged Up Bills will be here to report all of those! As a fan, I am looking forward to this upcoming season after such a memorable 2017. Continue to follow on Twitter @BangedUpBills and at www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- WR

Assessing the WR corps injuries sustained this season and impact for next season.

Continuing with the off-season coverage of Buffalo Bills position review, today’s post reviews the WR position. As other posts have shown, no position is immune from injury and lots of analysis continues. A total of 7 wide receivers suited up at the position for the team this season with a variety of outcomes this season. First up is WR Kaelin Clay who came over from the Carolina Panthers in a trade during training camp. Clay did not stay long as he saw 4 targets for 1 reception totaling 28 yards. He was shortly released afterward and reclaimed by Carolina. During his time in Buffalo, he did suffer a foot and back injury which possibly contributed to his lack of productivity but did not cause him to miss time. As he returned to Carolina, finding his way back to Buffalo unlikely anytime soon.

WR Brandon Tate saw most of his playing time during special teams in the return game. Tate’s limited playing time at the position saw him targeted 14 times for 6 receptions totaling 81 yards and 1 TD. Thankfully, Tate did not suffer any injuries this season. The 9th year pro’s value remains at the special team position and with his lack of recent injury history remains an appealing target to bring back with his versatility.

WR Andre Holmes became a steady player after coming from the Raiders last season. While he has career low as a regular player totaling 13 receptions for 120 yards and 3 TD’s, he was still a key depth player, appearing in 14 games. Holmes was limited around Thanksgiving with an ankle injury that he was able to play through. Unfortunately, the 7th year veteran suffered a neck injury which sent him to injured reserve. It is undetermined what type of neck injury Holmes dealt with. Neck injuries are a hot button in Buffalo at the moment with C Eric Wood forced to end his playing career and former S Aaron Williams announcing his retirement shortly after. My educated guess is that Holmes strained several muscles in his neck and wasn’t responding well to treatment, forcing the team shut him down. He still has 2 years left on a 3 year contract at an affordable rate which allows the Bills to bring him back for depth. Pending his neck injury, he should find his way onto New Era Field next season.

Next up is WR Deonte Thompson. The 8th year pro was quite productive after coming over to the Bills after being cut by Chicago earlier in the season. Playing in 11 games, he was able to snag 27 receptions for 430 yards and 1 TD. While none of these numbers are eye popping, the receivers as a whole were down due to QB Tyrod Taylor’s limited passing abilities. Thompson suffered several injuries throughout the season including an ankle injury sustained during the Chargers loss in which he attempted to catch a ball while going out of bounds. Towards the end of the season Thompson suffered a nondescript back injury during the first Patriots game. He then suffered a shoulder injury that was either identified later in the week or injured in practice which placed him on the injury report but did not cause any time missed. As Thompson is getting older and a unrestricted free agent, roster turnover will determine if he returns. As he earned the veteran minimum for his experience, he may command more money in free agency but an affordable option to bring back for next season.

Assessing the receivers who have some injury questions for next season include WR Jordan Matthews. The 5th year pro suffered a series of injuries that eventually landed him on IR for the end of the season. Starting off, Matthews sustained a chip fracture during the first practice after he was acquired in a trade with Philadelphia. The chip fracture limited his ability to participate during the preseason but he was able to return to start the season. After getting used to the offense, Matthews sustained a thumb fracture during the crucial win over the Falcons. Matthews only missed one week and was able to return far faster than anyone had expected. This is another injury that will not cause any issues next season.

However, Matthews’ knee landed him on IR and while there is not one particular injury that landed him there, it may have been a recurrence of knee tendonitis he was dealing with during the early parts of training camp when he was still with the Eagles. This knee injury may determine how much he can command on the open market. His stats for the season included 27 receptions for 282 yards and 1 TD may limit his bargaining power considering he is in the same class as former Bill Sammy Watkins, along with Odell Beckham Jr., & Mike Evans. Considering his contemporaries, he could command more money than what the Bills are willing to pay and I expect the front office to move on from Matthews.

WR Zay Jones suffered an up and down rookie season which is not uncommon for a new player to the NFL. Unfortunately, expectations may have been set too high as he came out of college as the all time leader in receptions which did not initially translate well to the NFL. Jones’ stats were similar to other receivers on the team with 27 receptions for 316 yards and 2 TD’s. A slow start to the season along with several now known injuries were contributing factors to his lackluster season. Jones suffered an low ankle sprain which had appeared to be a severe knee injury during the Jets game. Thankfully, his knee hyperextended and his ankle absorbed the brunt of the force causing the sprain. This did not force him to miss additional games outside of some plays in an ugly loss to the Jets.

The unknown injury that came out after the season in an interview with Zay’s father revealed a torn labrum in what was possibly his left shoulder. He did appear on the injury report during the last week of October but this did not force him to miss anytime. My article on his injury appears here, please take the time to read. He has since had successful surgery to fix the tear and should be back in time for the regular season. He will continue to be an integral piece of the offense and production should increase if the QB position improves.

Finally, WR Kelvin Benjamin was the biggest acquisition by the Bills this season of unexpected trades. Upon arriving to Buffalo, Benjamin never really took off, injuring his knee in his 2nd game against the Chargers which resulted in a partially torn meniscus. Missing 2 games to rehab and recover, he was able to return against the Colts and play through the injury for the rest of the season. His production, 16 receptions for 217 yards for 1 TD, was limited as expected but playing through the injury did not cause further injury. He has since had successful knee surgery to shave down the partial tear and will be able to return in time for OTA’s. As for injury risk next year, his previous ACL tear is more of a long term concern to re-injure than the meniscus tear. Benjamin will be back next year and pending salary cap ramifications, I hope the Bills find a way to keep him long term.

The Bills WR corps will look different next year with the exception of Jones, Holmes, and Benjamin. There is the possibility of Thompson coming back along with futures contracts of WR Malachi Dupre, WR Quan Bray, and preseason favorites WR Brandon Reilly and WR Rod Streater. In addition, the Bills also had WR Jeremy Butler on injured reserve due to a concussion during the preseason. The Bills are building something to create more stability in the offense and give either QB Tyrod Taylor or whoever the new Bills QB will be more weapons to energize the offense and build off the anemic passing offense of 2017.

Continue to check back with me regarding injury updates and news coming out of One Bills Drive. Thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Kelvin Benjamin’s Partial Meniscectomy & Recovery

Detailing the injury process of a meniscus tear, the surgical procedure known as a partial meniscectomy and recovery.

As the season is over, several Bills players are slated for surgical procedures to address injuries sustained during the season. Kelvin Benjamin is one of them.

The 4th year WR’s partial meniscectomy has been long expected following his Week 11 injury against the Chargers. Benjamin had to miss several games following the injury but was able to return to play through the final stretch of the season, becoming a buoying presence for the wide receiver corps, helping the Bills to the playoffs. Today’s post will briefly review what a meniscus tear consists of, mechanisms of injury, and the surgical procedure and rehab that generally speaking is required to return to full health. For a greater detailed description of the meniscus and its role in knee movement, please reference my previous article.

The meniscus lies over the tibia and acts as a shock absorber between the tibia and femur. It is made up two wedge shaped areas that assist in deepening the area that the femur articulates with the tibia. During meniscus tears, a rotational force is applied to the area while the knee is bent resulting in a shearing motion, causing a portion of the meniscus to tear. There are many types and degrees of meniscus tears that could occur which include complete or partial, horizontal or vertical, longitudinal or transverse.

knee meniscus teear zones.jpg
Credit: http://samimimd.com/services/knee/knee-meniscus-repair/

Symptoms of meniscal tears typically consist of pain, tenderness, and swelling, locking or clicking during knee movement, and initial difficulty in placing weight through the knee. Meniscal tears are typically seen in conjunction with MCL sprains/tears and ACL tears due to the rotational forces through the knee during impact. The size and location of the tear can vary, which determines the most effective course of treatment.

Thankfully, Benjamin only requires a partial meniscectomy which is typically a 4-6 week recovery to return to baseline. During a partial meniscectomy, an orthopedic surgeon goes in arthroscopically via two small holes in the knee. Once inside, the surgeon inserts a camera to observe the affected areas. From there, other tools are introduced to grab at the offending area and cut out the frayed portion of the meniscus. A shaver is introduced to smooth down the area to remodel and prevent any any future fraying or breakdown of the tissue.

Rev39634b.jpg
Credit: https://nydnrehab.com/what-we-treat/knee-pain/meniscal-tears/

After the surgical procedure is completed, rehab is introduced to restore the knee to full function. Immediately after any surgery, the body enters an inflammatory phase which can last up to 48 hours after the insult to the area. Typically pain and swelling are addressed first through the time tested RICE method. This includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This helps alleviate post surgical swelling and pain as if the leg is in a dependent position, the excess fluid builds up in the knee and lower leg, causing extra pressure on the surrounding tissues. Other ways to manage the pain include the use of a TENS unit which provide superficial electrical stimulation over the skin to assist in desensitizing the area to reduce pain.

Once pain and swelling have improved, range of motion and strengthening is implemented to focus on returning the knee to normal function. Range of motion exercises include alternating between bending and straightening the knee through stretching to normalize function. This can be accomplished through heel slides in lying or sitting, stretching with the use of a towel or belt to pull the knee into flexion, or assistance from a physical therapist through passive motion to increase range.

There are countless strengthening exercises that can be performed but simple exercises after surgery include quad sets which encourage knee straightening, short arc quads to improve quadriceps strength, hip flexion, abduction, and adduction strengthening for weight bearing and return to walking, and ankle pumps. Progression of strengthening include closed chain exercises which are where the foot is in contact with the ground include stationary bike, modified lunges, terminal knee extension, squats, etc. Further exercises included open chain exercises in where the foot is off the floor includes long arc quads, step ups, balance and proprioceptive exercises as knee function improves. Finally, running, cutting, plyometric activities are incorporated to increase towards return to sport. A general rehab protocol can be found here. Successful outcomes as high as 90% are reported and able to return to pre-injury level of activity.

Benjamin will return to full function without any complications barring infection in time for OTA’s. He will most likely work with medical staff to return to game form which will take several months. This is possibly why he did not have surgery during the season. With Benjamin’s previous history of knee injuries which include an ACL tear, knee sprain, and most recently, a meniscus tear, there is some concern for future injury. However, while he is at higher risk for injury due to the previous ACL tear, there is little evidence that I have found that supports increased risk of re-tearing the meniscus greater than normal rates.

As with other injuries, there is only so much that can be done for prevention. Strengthening, agility, and proprioceptive activities are key to reduce future injury. In the case of Benjamin’s injury, external forces through the joints can not be entirely prevented. Benjamin may be wearing a brace as he returns to his prior form to control any swelling. He may elect to play with a hard brace to prevent hyperextension, though this would reduce mobility leading to him declining this option.

Over the years, the Bills have witnessed rashes of injury, and the teams success this season in successfully rehabbing players like Kelvin very much assisted in 2017’s outcome. The Bills are primed with draft picks, free agency cap space, and what appears to be an the ability to bring players back healthy. This will allow them to address other needs this off season rather than having to plan for the unknown in terms of the return of injured contributors from 2017. Continue to check back for with me for Bills injury news, reviews by position and draft pick injury analysis. Follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Bills Injury Recap- Dolphins & Playoffs

Detailing LeSean McCoy’s ankle injury and impact it has on Sunday’s playoff game.

THE BILLS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS! No this is not a typo, they finally ended The Drought; it is over, dead, gone, finished! This is a wonderful feeling that I’m trying to describe in the written word and it just isn’t quite coming to fruition at this moment. I suppose that my thoughts on The Drought finally ending could be summed up in another article for another time. As for today and every previous article, today’s post will identify injuries sustained in Sunday’s game and impact that they have on Sunday’s playoff game in Jacksonville.

It has been heavily documented and discussed RB LeSean McCoy’s ankle injury sustained in the 3rd quarter of Sunday’s game. It has since been revealed that McCoy sprained his ankle and there may be a possibility that he can play next Sunday. Looking at video, a lateral ankle sprain is pretty consistent with reports. It is difficult to see due to video angles, but as McCoy steps with his right ankle, he is being tackled to the turf. While tackled, his toes are planted in the ground, he is tackled with his body going left. This puts extra torque through the ankle joint, the ankle snapped up off of the turf as a result and he suffers a sprained ankle.

I had some initial thoughts that he fell directly onto the toe/midfoot leading to a sprain of the big toe or turf toe or a Lisfranc sprain of the midfoot. Thankfully, the lateral ankle took the brunt of the injury. This is beneficial because if McCoy is unable to push off his toe or midfoot during running, he would be even more ineffective. McCoy will be limited in lateral movements but with the proper rehab he can play in some fashion Sunday. This rehab includes range of motion stretching, pain/swelling management, light strengthening, and bracing to the area to limit further damage. Based on video, the ankle was injured, but the injury to the ankle appears to be less severe than what it could have been. As I am not the evaluating therapist, I am unable to determine severity so mechanism of injury, video, and knowledge of the area will have to do.

I believe McCoy will play in his biggest game in a Buffalo Bills uniform. I do not anticipate that he will miss the game, but may require a decreased work load to decrease injury and ensure effectiveness during each run. It does help that the field conditions will be ideal for footing and assist in reduction for re-aggravation of his injury. If McCoy is limited, both FB Patrick DiMarco and FB Mike Tolbert are available along with RB Marcus Murphy are able carry the workload. The Bills also recently signed RB Aaron Green to the practice squad to be called up in the event that McCoy does not play.

OT Jordan Mills injured his ankle late in the 2nd quarter during a block where he was forced to backpedal while blocking Cameron Wake. On video replay, he has to take several hard steps backwards and steps awkwardly on his left ankle. There did not appear to be any rolling of the foot inward which rules out a lateral ankle sprain but his foot was planted and his knee buckled in which could result in a inversion sprain or midfoot sprain due to the sudden jarring motion during the forced planting. Mills was unable to return but may also be limited for Sunday’s game. If Mills is unable to go, OT Seantrel Henderson will get the start.

As for other injuries, there does not appear to be any other injuries that should impact the roster ahead of Sunday’s game. I expect to see McCoy and Mills on the injury report along with WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), TE Charles Clay (knee), DT Kyle Williams (groin), WR Deonte Thompson (shoulder/back). All should play without question but no one is close to 100% at this point in the season. With how this season has progressed and the injuries sustained, it will take some serious injuries to keep any of the players out from attempting to play. I do not anticipate any surprises on the injury report tomorrow, but anything can happen.

Look for articles regarding changes in the injury report later this week, my thoughts on ending The Drought, and anything else that I believe is warranted to write about. For the latest updates and game time updates, follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88. As always, thank you for reading, the Bills have finally made the playoffs, and GO BILLS!!

Bills Injury Breakdown- Dolphins II

Assessing the latest Bills injury report and impact on the Dolphins game and hopefully beyond.

Week 17 is here! The first meaningful Week 17 game in 13 years is upon the Bills with a chance to end the long suffering drought. As everyone knows by now, the Bills must win their game and benefit from a Ravens loss or Chargers and Titans losses. As in any sport, all you have to do is qualify for the post season and anything can happen. Win or lose, the fact that the Bills are in the conversation and contention until the end demonstrates that talent does exist on the roster, it just needs to be harnessed to its maximum potential.

However, maximizing potential also relies on maintaining player health. Browsing Twitter recently, I found this gem of a tweet from @Jason_OTC which really encapsulates how the Bills have been able to stay in contention. The link for the tweet is here, but what it states is the top 10 NFL teams that have had the most salary cap money affected by injury. Out of the top 10, only the Patriots and Seahawks are playoff eligible teams. These are teams that have established coaches and players in their system that can absorb injuries and continue to move forward.

The one team that isn’t on there that I’m sure has been on in past seasons? The one and only Buffalo Bills! Keeping a healthy roster has been key to the team’s success this year and is clearly evident by the previous list; you can’t win in the NFL if you don’t have a healthy roster or exceptional depth. Making this point does allow an easy transition towards today’s article breaking down the injury report and impact for the Week 17 match up against the Miami Dolphins.

First up is players ruled out for Sunday which only consists of CB Shareece Wright out with a concussion. It is unknown when Wright sustained his concussion and when symptoms began to develop. Thankfully, he is a depth player and while depth is important, this is not a significant blow to the roster.

Those questionable for Sunday include C Ryan Groy (illness) and WR Deonte Thompson (shoulder/back). Flu season is in full effect and that’s most likely what Groy is dealing with, no secret there. As for Thompson, he sustained a back injury during Sunday’s game early in the 2nd quarter. It appeared he took a hard shot to the back but was able to return. To add to it, he suffered a shoulder injury in practice on Thursday, unfortunately, not much is known about how he injured it. Depending on severity of the shoulder injury, which appears to be worse than the back injury will dictate whether he suits up Sunday.

Those dealing with injury but expected to play include WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), TE Charles Clay (knee), DT Kyle Williams (groin), and CB E.J. Gaines (knee). Benjamin and Clay continue to deal with their respective knee injuries which hasn’t greatly reduced their ability to produce, but does limit them somewhat. It would take a broken bone or significant ligament damage to prevent Kyle Williams from suiting up for this game. Even with a major diagnosis such as that, he would still possibly try to play; that man has and will continue to give 100%.

Finally, Gaines missed last week with what I believed to be a Grade 1 MCL sprain to his left knee during the previous Dolphins game. As mentioned on The Rockpile Report this week, it was theorized that Gaines was held out from the Patriots game as their was little chance to win the game and he would benefit from an additional week of rehab to be ready for this game. I support this theory as fact as medically, it makes sense. I would not expect Gaines to be limited in any fashion during his play Sunday, the only limiting factor is his hard hitting style of play. As Shareece Wright is out, it is vitally important that Gaines remains healthy. There is a rather large difference in the defensive performance when Gaines is healthy and when he is not; the Bills need every starter available.

For the past 10 years as a Bills fan, I have waited for this moment, this moment to be able to watch the Bills in the post season. This is far from guaranteed as I type this while drinking my coffee, but the possibility is exciting. I remain cautiously optimistic, but still hopeful that this year the drought may end, it has to end at some point, why not now? After tomorrows game, the narrative of this Bills season will be fully shaped and be remembered for finally entering the playoffs in the 21st century or another missed opportunity. Only time will tell.

Continue to check back for the latest articles and updates following the games. Follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88 for the latest game time updates and injury assessments. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!!