Week 9 Bills Injury Preview- Bears

Read up on the latest Bills injury news & why Josh Allen is still not ready despite practicing this week.

The Bills enter the 2nd half of the season in the friendly confines of New Era Field with 5 of their next 8 games at home and hopes that the 2nd half is better than the first. We all knew that this season would be a step back, but none of us are ever truly ready for the enormity of the situation when a season goes off the rails. However, with a favorable schedule and home field advantage, this is the opportunity that the Bills can use to regain some respect and build for the future. Today’s post will break down the injuries prior to Sunday’s game.

The past several weeks has been tough dealing with several key injuries which has made this season harder to digest. Ruled out already as a result of Monday’s loss include QB Derek Anderson (concussion) & LB Tremaine Edmunds (concussion). Anderson suffered his late in the 4th quarter with the game essentially over and Edmunds sustained his sometime in the first half. Both were unable to practice during the week which is standard protocol while in the concussion protocol until they have worked their way up to tolerating mild exercise without symptom reproduction. The fact that they haven’t practiced doesn’t always equate to a more severe concussion, but rather that each concussion is unique and is on its own timeline. As it was a short week, both players will have another week to recover. It stands to reason that they could be ready next week against the Jets. Starting in place is QB Nathan Peterman & LB Julian Stanford, respectively.

Others ruled out include DE Trent Murphy (knee) & QB Josh Allen (elbow). Murphy suffered a right MCL sprain in the waning minutes of the Colts loss and has not practiced in two weeks. He may be practicing on a limited basis at best this coming week but I really don’t expect to see him return until after the bye. These types of injuries take 2-6 weeks to heal and considering his previous contralateral ACL injury, the training staff is not rushing him back. Thankfully the defense is playing lights out and can absorb his loss until he is ready to return.

The biggest change in the injury report is by far that QB Josh Allen is practicing on a limited basis. If you are reading my articles, you will have seen that he will not be ready until after the bye. This still stands true at this time. The reason he is limited is due to the fact that he is cleared for conditioning as outlined in rehab protocols for conservative management. He is most likely not having pain at rest or with simple movements which would let him to run with a normal motion, allowing the upper body to move naturally. In between this conditioning, he still continues to perform activities and exercises that encourage strengthening of the wrist and shoulder with healing to the medial elbow.

Within the next two weeks, Allen will ideally begin a throwing program, allowing him to slowly ramp up the speed and distance of his throws. If he begins having pain, training staff would back him off and reduce activity until pain is gone with activity and resume the program when ready. At no point will there be an opportunity for Allen to air it out to “see how it feels”. There is a systematic approach towards his recovery and the training staff will not deviate from this. I expect the rookie signal caller to be practicing on a limited basis into the bye. Pending his progress, he could be ready to play but not be 100% for the Jaguars game. The team may also continue to limit him until they are comfortable that he can perform to his maximum ability potentially causing further missed time. Overall, I believe he will return after the bye and regain his starting job.

It does not appear that there are any other injuries that were not on the injury report but could limit player effectiveness. RB LeSean McCoy is still recovering from his cracked rib cartilage from earlier this season, but his ineffectiveness is more due to the offensive line and play calling rather than his maladies. Many other players are dealing with minor injuries that they continue to play through, minimizing their time missed.

The Bills have to get through the bye, heal up a little bit, and can hopefully attack the rest of the season to end on a high note. Injuries are a part of the game, but thankfully we continue to avoid the ACL’s, Achilles, fractures, and freak accidents that can destroy a season. The Bills will get through this, they always do. As the front office build for the future, these losses now will begin to turn into wins in future seasons as their core players continue to gel and they get players to execute the game plan. This season will come to define “The Process” when we look back years from now, hopefully with a Lombardi trophy in view. I believe the Bills will snap this 3 game losing streak and send the Bears to a 4-4 record. Despite its offensive shortcomings, the Bills still have talent that can produce.

This completes another Bills injury preview. Continue to check back for the latest Bills injury 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!!

Week 8 Bills Injury Preview- Patriots MNF

Brush up on the latest Bills injury news prior to the MNF game against the New England Patriots.

How things have changed! Two weeks ago, the Bills demonstrated a true rarity in today’s NFL: an injury report devoid of injury. Fast forward and they are beginning to show some cracks in their base heading into a huge matchup against the vaunted New England Patriots in a rare Monday night game in Western New York. Today’s post will dive into the injuries and how they impact Monday night.

Those already ruled out for Monday’s game are QB Josh Allen (elbow), DE Trent Murphy (knee), and RB Taiwan Jones (neck). Do not expect to see Allen before the bye and possibly until he is 100% which may be towards the very end of the season. Jones continues to be a mystery dealing with a neck injury that has prevented him from participating in any football activities since the Texans game. The only information I have found is that he suffered the neck injury during the Texans game which was finally revealed Thursday. As to what he is exactly dealing with remains unclear. I have reviewed film twice watching every special teams play and while Jones did get hit several times, he never required medical attention after the play, he was never slow to get up, and appeared in 71% of special teams plays which is near the top of the reps on special teams. If anyone out there sees something that I missed, I would look forward to that conversation.

Murphy is dealing with a right knee injury that he suffered late in the loss to the Colts which ended his day. I had speculated that he suffered a right MCL sprain and that still appears to be the case. There has not been any reports that he had to have any imaging or surgical procedures which indicate that this is indeed only a sprain. To note, his sprain is in the right knee; he tore the left ACL last year. As he has battled injury all season, the Bills should be cautious to rush him back. He would benefit from sitting out the next 3 games and using the bye to get back to 100% which would be a reasonable timeline for this type of injury. There would be concern if he came back too quickly that he could place undue stress on his left leg as a result or further injure his right leg leading to injured reserve. He should be able to come back healthy but time is not on his side.

Those limited in practice this week include RB LeSean McCoy (concussion), T Jordan Mills (knee), QB Derek Anderson (back/calf), & RB Chris Ivory (hamstring). We already know that Anderson will play Monday as he’s been named the starter and is limited due to shaking off the rust as he returns to form. Ivory suffered a left foot injury Sunday that does not appear to be an issue but suffered a hamstring strain on Wednesday that thankfully will not cause him to miss the game.

Mills has a knee injury that is new to Friday’s practice but does not appear to be a concern as he practiced in full on Saturday. Going forward, the big question is RB LeSean McCoy’s concussion suffered early in Sunday’s loss. He appears to be going through the concussion protocol very well, appearing to be in stage 4 or 5 of the 5 stage process, but still needs to be able to perform full contact and activity without reproduction of symptoms for 24 hours. While he was limited in practice, it is far from a guarantee that he will be cleared. Until the team says he’s clear, there is no way to speculate the severity of the original injury and whether he will be cleared.

As of Saturday, he has been ruled questionable with things trending towards that he’ll play Monday. If he is cleared, I believe that he will be able to perform close to his expected level though may need extra rest breaks due to fatigue. He may also not be as sharp cognitively but depending on the severity of the original concussion will determine his recovery to baseline.

While it is not opportune for key players to be injured during any portion of the season, this one appears to hurt worse going into a key primetime game against the Patriots. I am sure that ABC/ESPN executives did not envision QB Derek Anderson leading the charge against Tom Brady & the Patriots when they scheduled this game. However, this is what the Bills are working with and have shown depth at all positions to allow them to stay competitive. An interesting note: the two previous numbers that the Bills have retired, they have lost each game. 2001 saw the Bills retire Jim Kelly’s #12 with the team losing to the Seattle Seahawks 23-20. 2016 saw the Bills retire Bruce Smith’s #78 with an awful loss to the Jets 37-31. We can only hope when the Bills retire Thurman Thomas’ #34, they find a way to win on the big stage that is MNF.

While I am not anticipating a win, anything can and does happen in the NFL. These Bills have a fight in them despite some of the lopsided losses this season. This is a division game, the Patriots are our most hated rival, and we will not be embarrassed! I look forward to going to the game and enjoying the atmosphere that is New Era Field & Bills Mafia.

Continue to check back for the latest updates 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 7 Bills Injury Review- Colts

Read up on the latest Bills injuries and how they impact the upcoming MNF game.

Bills fans, we’ve been though this before. That 3 week stretch last year, yes, this feels a lot like this. No I do not anticipate that we will go on a tear and win and make the playoffs by some miraculous play. But 5 out of the first 7 games were on the road and the team did much better at home last year. There is still much football to be played and winnable games later this season. However, these wins will be harder to come by as starters begin going down with injury. Today’s post will review these injuries sustained in the brutal loss to the Colts.

Prior to the game, QB Josh Allen (elbow) and RB Taiwan Jones (neck) were ruled out. Allen’s issues are well documented and Jones is a mystery. The injury report this week will shed some additional light on Jones’ complaints. According to reports, Jones is week to week, but that doesn’t tell us much more than its something more serious than neck spasms. We already know that Allen has been ruled out for Monday’s game.

Those injured during Sunday’s tough loss to the Colts include RB LeSean McCoy (Head/ankle), RB Chris Ivory (left foot), and DE Trent Murphy (right knee). McCoy managed to injure both his head and what appeared to be his medial right ankle during a tackle out of bounds on the 2nd play of the game. Assessing the ankle, he appeared to tweak his deltoid ligament on the inside portion of the ankle. This is known as a medial eversion sprain and this is a very difficult ligament to injure due to the biomechanics of the ankle with greater mobility on the outside portion of the ankle compared to inside. It has also since been reported that McCoy also suffered a concussion on the same play and was ruled out for the day. It can take anywhere from 7-10 days for a player to return to play but players have returned quicker, but have also taken longer. They must pass through 5 stages successfully prior to returning to playing and be symptom free following full contact. (Do check out the previous link as it details the NFL concussion protocol and what it entails.) As it stands right now, McCoy may miss the MNF game but if he gets cleared, then there’s no question about his ability to be ready. Only practice and his progression through the protocol will determine whether he will be available for Monday night. As for his ankle, he could get that taped up for support if there is pain present and this does not appear to be potentially a long term issue. This is also an injury that should heal up fairly quickly. Considering that he will be doing little to no athletic activity until the end stages of the concussion protocol, it will only give his ankle more opportunity to heal.

RB Chris Ivory injured his left foot while being brought down early in the 3rd quarter after a run up the middle. He was observed grasping at his midfoot after the play but was eventually able to return. He had stated that the injury was minor and that it was no big deal. It appeared that he may have suffered a midfoot sprain due to the foot being pointed down or in plantar flexion and the foot twisted up underneath. This injury may be worse than it appeared and he truly is alright or this may be something that lands him on the injury report. We will have to wait and see whether it will but considering that he was able to return to play and described it as minor leads me to believe that this will not affect him going into Monday night. It is possible that this could be something he has to deal with as the season progresses, but video does not make me think otherwise and he is reporting that he feels good. If he is unable to go, RB Marcus Murphy would get the start.

DE Trent Murphy injured his right knee late in the 4th quarter with the game already out of hand. He was in the process of engaging an offensive player during a block when another player got thrown into his knee with his knee bent and foot on the ground. The blow did have the makings of a potential ACL tear mechanism; fortunately, we know this not to be the case as it would have been reported by now. Based on video, it appears as though he suffered a Grade 1-2 MCL sprain, similar to what DT Kyle Williams suffered in the preseason against the Browns. As mentioned in previous articles, the MCL is the ligament that runs on the inside portion of the knee and is commonly injured when a blow to the outside of the knee occurs or when a player is pivoting and the foot gets caught in the turf and the knee is overcome by the forces of changing direction. Recovery time takes between 2-6 weeks to return fully without compensation in ideal cases but as in football, players do attempt to come back sooner.

Murphy is week to week according to HC Sean McDermott and this is expected based on the suspected severity. He will most likely miss the Monday night game and may miss the next several games, using the bye in Week 11 to return to full health. As this is the opposite side of his ACL tear from last year, the team will be more cautious to let him back out on the field before he is fully healthy. He also requires more agility out of his position than Kyle Williams which would explain why he will most likely require a longer healing time compared to others with the same injury. There is also a possibility that he may have suffered a minor meniscus tear as the mechanism of injury is similar to that of the MCL, but initial evaluation by medical personnel and Murphy’s reaction on the field indicates that this is more MCL related. The mechanism fits MCL, he had difficulty bending the knee with assistance, and from the video angle, there did not appear to be a rotational component unlike TE Charles Clay’s knee injury from last year. However, I cannot rule out meniscus tear until the team releases further information. Regardless of outcome, I expect Murphy to miss the next 2-3 games, favoring the over due to his previous injury history.

This may be the Bills toughest stretch in regards to injuries as several major names are on the mend at this point. Thankfully, the depth is still strong at most positions and season ending injuries have been at a minimum compared to others in the league. The good news is that all the players should be able to return rather quickly to give the Bills the best chance to win. While I am not expecting a Bills win come Monday night, I expect the Bills to show up for national TV, I expect them to give QB Tom Brady and Co. a dogfight, and I expect it to be a competitive game. Considering all the pomp and circumstance of former Bills great RB Thurman Thomas jersey retirement ceremony, Bills Mafia will be out in full force providing home field advantage.

Continue to check back on the latest news and updates coming out of One Bills Drive. Continue to 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 5 Bills Injury Preview- Titans

Dissecting the latest injuries prior to the AFC matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

The Bills roll into Orchard Park with a 1-3 record and much to play for when they host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. While it is quickly becoming a reality that this team will not look like last year’s surprise playoff team; the fan base is still hoping that there are some positives that can be squeezed out of this season.

According to Friday’s injury report, no one has been ruled out prior to Sunday’s game. Three players have been ruled questionable including: S Rafael Bush (shoulder), S Micah Hyde (groin), and TE Charles Clay (ankle).

Reviewing video, Hyde’s injury was fairly straight forward, pulling his left groin midway through the 1st quarter attempting go upfield and get involved with the play, coming up lame. He was on the injury report the prior week with a toe injury but this is not something that would have caused compensation patterns leading to the injury. He simply performed a football move and it caught him. While he is questionable, he has not practiced all week which historically is not favorable when predicting whether he will play Sunday. He will realistically need at least one more week before he can even consider playing in a game. Expect him to miss this Sunday.

S Rafael Bush injured his shoulder on the last play of the 1st quarter tackling RB Aaron Jones out of bounds. He injured his left shoulder when he got spun around off Jones, falling directly onto his shoulder without having the ability to brace for the fall. He was able to play the rest of the game but was not really directly involved in many plays regarding physical contact after that. His injury was not immediately apparent until reported on the injury report Tuesday. I believe he suffered an AC joint sprain or possible contusion to the general area. Other possibility of a SC joint sprain, though less likely. Typical mechanisms of injury are similar to what was described above; a direct blow to his shoulder. Considering that he was able to play the rest of the game, but take the entire week of practice off suggests that it is a mild sprain/contusion that may take a week to heal.

From my previous article from the Tampa Bay game last year, edited for relevancy:

“On average, the Grade 1 shoulder sprain that Bush possibly could have sustained typically takes 9.8 days to fully recover from according to Dr. David Geier. He will be at day 7 by kickoff Sunday, which may affect his ability.”

It’s possible that he could play, but not practicing all week may have allowed him to heal in order to play, but more realistically, he is not quite ready for contact. Like Hyde, he was unable to practice which almost certainly seals his fate.

TE Charles Clay suffered an ankle injury that on film did not appear serious. He had a Packers defender falling to the ground and fell into Clay’s ankle while he was trying to get out of the way. He was able get the ankle taped up, continue playing and finish the game. It appeared that he got his ankle rolled up on or tweaked as a result. While he was limited Wednesday, did not practice Thursday, he was able to practice in full Friday which is a strong indicator that he will play. In addition to the ankle, he is also dealing with previous shoulder and hip issues from the previous game. He is also a veteran and requires more maintenance which is why he is unable to practice during the week yet play Sunday’s. I would expect him to suit up to be QB Josh Allen’s safety valve.

Other injuries on the report include RB Marcus Murphy (rib), and DE Shaq Lawson (hamstring). Murphy appears to have a generalized rib injury that cost him last week but it appears healed enough to perform this week. Hopefully it is a contusion that continues to heal rather than a broken rib. Lawson missed two games with his hamstring strain and while he did play the entire game, he may have developed soreness as a result, requiring conservative maintenance on it so as to not further irritate the healing tissues. While it is possible to re-injure the area, giving it rest through the week gives him the best shot to play at 100% Sunday.

Others dealing with injury but did not make the injury report: RB LeSean McCoy (ribs/hand), CB Taron Johnson (shoulder), and CB Phillip Gaines (elbow). McCoy has been dealing with cracked rib cartilage that is physically impossible to be healed yet which still limits him despite what he says otherwise. However, reports indicated that he injured his left hand with it visibly wrapped up after the game. Film review was inconclusive whether he suffered any particular injury. To note, he was able to demonstrate effective ball safety, gripping the ball in each hand respectively without compensation during his limited playing time.

CB Taron Johnson has been a bright spot in the defense 4 games into his rookie year. However, he continues to deal with a shoulder injury that appears to be a torn labrum in his right shoulder. This is evident with the use of visible bracing on the right side, he continually injures the area on hard hits but is quicker to return in the game, and the original mechanism of injury. He can continue to play on the shoulder but eventually he may require surgery for long term correction. Until then, he has altered his tackling style, he is wearing bracing, and I’m certain he is doing rehab to strengthen the surrounding muscles around the joint in order to get through the season.

Finally, CB Phillip Gaines is coming off a right dislocated elbow that forced him to miss one game. However, he was inactive despite practicing in full the week of the Packers game which indicated that he may have been held out due to personnel needs rather than injury. Regardless of reason, the extra time off allowed him to heal even more and he may not require any bracing given the time frame.

Overall, anticipate Hyde and most likely Bush to miss the Titans game with Clay playing with several nagging injuries. These thoughts are further solidified with the signing of S Dean Marlowe and releasing TE Khari Lee. This indicates that at least one safety is certain to miss and the thinning of the TE depth chart indicates Clay is playing. The others mentioned above are expected to play but have injuries that do not require treatment by training staff but could still limit their effectiveness. This game should allow the Bills to get their first home win of the season and move to 2-3 to maintain some level of respectability in the AFC.

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 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 4 Bills Injury Preview- Packers

Assessing the latest Bills injuries prior to the Week 4 matchup against the Packers.

A lot can change in one week. Last week at this time we were hoping that we could stay competitive in a tough road game against the Vikings. After the major upset that the Bills pulled off in Minnesota, this has everyone thinking that they may be able to do it again in Green Bay. As I said last week, Any Given Sunday! Today’s post will look at the injury report and what this means going forward for player availability.

The biggest question going into Sunday’s matchup is whether RB LeSean McCoy (ribs) will be able to play. He has been limited all week due to the cracked rib cartilage sustained against the Chargers which forced him to miss last game. However, Shady has emphatically stated that he will play Sunday. He could reinjure the area leading to more pain and slowing down the already slow healing process. He could also cause additional damage to surrounding areas as the cracked cartilage does provide support to the area and instability within the area could lead to further injury. However, a veteran with as much time in the league as he has knows his body and whether he can be effective. He would probably benefit from additional time off, but he knows his remaining time in the NFL is fleeting and must make every opportunity count. Expect him to play this week.

RB Marcus Murphy (ribs) is also dealing with his injury that has had much less attention devoted to it than McCoy. He may be dealing with a rib contusion which could be expected to heal quicker than McCoy’s injury or even a fractured rib. As McCoy will play, RB Chris Ivory is healthy, this may allow Murphy to rest. I do not anticipate that Murphy will play considering he has been limited all week and that typically does not bode well for playing Sunday.

Others that are questionable are TE Jason Croom (knee) and TE Charles Clay (shoulder/hip). Both injuries are intriguing in that they were not reported during the game, it did not appear that they missed any time besides the plays/packages specifically designed for them, and it puts into question regarding whether they will be available for Sunday. Croom was able to practice in full on Wednesday with limitations Thursday & Friday makes me think he suffered an injury Wednesday which in turn will make it nearly impossible to identify the particular injury. As for Clay, he has a long documented history of knee troubles, however he now has shoulder and hip injuries. Looking at film, there is nothing that appears out of the ordinary with his play nor does he exit for long periods of time indicating that he is injured. While I consider myself an expert on injuries, I cannot state that I was able to determine what happened to either player. There were several instances where Clay was taken to the ground hard and it appeared that he was slow off the snap the next play but he was still able to block and run his routes without any noticeable compensation. This makes it difficult whether both him and Croom will play Sunday. Reports indicated that Clay sat out of practice this week in order to maximize the chances he could play Sunday. However, since this team is TE heavy, they could either roll with two tight ends and add some receivers or Clay could suit up and play.

Others returning to practice is CB Phillip Gaines (elbow). Recapping, he dislocated his elbow in the loss to the Chargers and missed last week’s game. I do not believe he is 100% healed, however, he must be feeling better enough that he can play. I see no reason why he shouldn’t play if he feels he is ready. He may have some protective bracing or compression to the area to prevent it from getting hit and swelling up again.

Also returning to the fold are DE Shaq Lawson and DE Trent Murphy. Lawson suffered a hamstring injury that cost him 2 games and Murphy suffered an ankle injury in the waning minutes of the Vikings win. Lawson appears healthy but may still be limited with situational play or snap count to not re-injure his hamstring and restart the process. Murphy on the other hand appears 100% and should not be limited getting into the backfield.

Overall, expect RB Marcus Murphy and TE Jason Croom to be inactive. While TE Charles Clay is limited, I expect that he will be more ready to play allowing the team to play TE Logan Thomas and TE Khari Lee. Despite the growing injury report, these are still relatively minor compared to some of the other injuries around the league.

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 www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!!

Week 3 Bills Injury Preview- Vikings

Assessing the latest injuries going into the Week 3 matchup against the Vikings.

The Bills travel to Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday and they could be without several key starters which will already hurt their poor chances for a victory. Today’s post will review the injuries going into the game, who could be expected to play, and how this affects the Bills overall.

Already ruled out is DE Shaq Lawson (hamstring). The 3rd year end suffered a hamstring strain in the 4th quarter of the season opener against the Ravens chasing down QB Joe Flacco. Since then, Lawson has not been able to practice, already missing one game. Unfortunately, strains such as hamstrings are common in early season games that reduce in frequency as the season progresses. It is possible Lawson returns to playing next week against the Packers based on expected healing time frames but no guarantee.

Those ruled questionable include RB Taiwan Jones (head), RB LeSean McCoy (ribs), WR Ray-Ray McCloud (knee), CB Phillip Gaines (elbow), and CB Taron Johnson (shoulder). Out of this group, I expect McCloud and Johnson to play based on their previous injuries and time frame to rehab. Recapping, McCloud injured his left knee in the preseason win over the Bears and Johnson injured his right shoulder during the season opener. McCloud’s knee appears to be a sprain and possibly the same goes for Johnson with his shoulder. Both have had an opportunity to recover and the fact that they both practiced in full Friday gives me hope that they will be available.

McCoy, Gaines, and Jones are less likely to play, though if this were later in the season, could be available to play. As mentioned last week, McCoy suffered a rib cartilage injury when C Ryan Groy fell on him towards the end of the play. While this injury is slow to heal due to a poor blood supply and covers a wider area than a broken rib would, he can still play in the face of it all. However, teams will be keying for him despite protective padding which could end his day early. I do not believe he should play in order to give his body the ability to rest, but he may try suiting up anyway. If he can’t go, RB Chris Ivory and RB Marcus Murphy will carry the load.

CB Phillip Gaines suffered a dislocated elbow during a tackle which required training staff to reduce the dislocation. He was reported to have heavy protective padding on the right elbow and was limited in practice this week. He could hypothetically play Sunday as the elbow joint is very stable when it comes to movement, but soft tissue in the area along with corresponding muscles may make playing difficult due to limited range of motion due to swelling/pain, reducing his effectiveness. He would essentially be a one armed cornerback. It would be best to let his elbow rest one more week before attempting to play due to the nature of the position.

Finally, RB Taiwan Jones suffered that gruesome cut to his forehead in the end zone during Sunday’s loss. Fortunately, he did not suffer a concussion but just the cut which required stitches. He could also play but even with a helmet, a hard hit could re-open that wound and cause further complications. While his loss on special teams will be felt, one week off will allow him to come back 100% next week.

Overall, expect Johnson and McCloud to play, expect Gaines and Jones to miss, and for McCoy to attempt to play though he may be overall ineffective. While this was one of the more injurious weeks for the Bills in recent seasons, they still have the appropriate depth right now to stay competitive. Once the starters go down for long periods of time as in previous seasons, then the Bills will truly be in trouble. As a realistic Bills fan, I am not expecting a win against the Vikings as they are considered a Super Bowl contender this year, I still expect a competitive game from the Bills as they attempt to find their identity for the 2018 season. If they play how they did in the 2nd half of the Chargers game, things may be okay. I do not expect the Bills to roll over like they did against the Ravens.

This wraps up the injury preview for Sunday’s game. Continue to check back for the latest injury 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 http://www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!