2020 Week 7 Bills Injury Review- Jets

Are the Bills finally getting healthy?

A win is a win when at the end of the year no matter how easy or ugly the game may have been. An 18-10 score completes the season sweep of the New York Jets and first sweep since 2015. Behind a strong performance of 6 field goals from K Tyler Bass, the Bills found ways to move the ball down the field and score points despite the offense sputtering. The defense came up strong in the second half, only allowing 4 total yards to the Jets offense, finishing with a game-sealing interception. 

To top it all off, there were no publicly reported injuries. In light of the good news, there are still several topics to discuss below as upcoming decisions based on injuries will take place. Check it out below.

QB Josh Allen (left shoulder)

Allen continues to deal with a left shoulder injury sustained in the Raiders game. Against the Titans and Chiefs, he has struggled for accuracy and has not looked himself while wearing a shoulder brace to protect the area. 

He came out sporting a new brace to protect the shoulder but it appears that this is less restrictive than his previous one. I was able to observe that under the shoulder brace, he did have kinesiotape which likely helped support the shoulder but allowed him change the brace without sacrificing stability. It’s also noted that he ditched the brace last week in the 4th quarter against the Chiefs in order to improve his throwing mechanics. 

I will expect to continue to see him wear the brace to protect the shoulder until the end of the season. 

CB Tre’Davious White (back)

White suited up on Sunday after being ruled questionable following Friday’s practice. White played in 100% of defensive snaps. The fact that he plays but is limited during the week indicates that this back issue he has is the pain centered with the goal of reducing activity through the week to be ready on Sundays. This is something to continue to monitor and I expect that this issue will not go away as the season progresses. 

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral) 

Milano played in 33% of snaps indicating that he was likely on a pitch count. I had thought he would miss two games and that appeared to be the case. He was also in on obvious passing downs which supports the notion that he is healthy enough to play but not quite there with regards to tackling fully. His playing time should ramp up for the Patriots game as he will be needed much more against a far better opponent. 

He was noted to be wearing a shoulder harness that limits shoulder abduction and external rotation with those movements placing stress on the healing tendon/muscle. He will likely not be 100% until after the bye, but healthy enough that his presence is greatly needed over the next 3 weeks in order to keep piling up the wins. 

G Jon Feliciano (pectoral tear)

Feliciano continues to wait to return to play following his pectoral tear back in August. I had originally thought that he would return around midseason in Week 8. While not confirmed, his 21-day practice window is closing on Wednesday with the team to make a decision on whether to activate him. It’s likely that he will be activated, but the team intends to use the full window before they make the decision. 

LB Tyrel Dodson (right hamstring)

Dodson was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring strain which indicates that the injury is possibly a Grade 2 strain which will take 4-8 weeks to fully heal. I would speculate that he is closer to the 4-week variety. It’s hard to say how long he’ll be out, but it’s likely that he will be out the next month as he rehabs. 

CB Cam Lewis (left wrist)

Lewis was active Sunday following being deemed week-to-week with a wrist injury sustained in the Chiefs game. It still isn’t clear what he is dealing with, possibly a fracture due to the club, but it’s serious enough to not play against the Jets. It appears that he was available only in the event of an emergency. With the potential return of CB Levi Wallace from IR potentially this week, this could be a one for one swap if the team goes this route. 

S Jaquan Johnson (back)

Johnson popped up on the injury report Friday with a back injury but played on Sunday, appearing in 57% of special teams indicating that this wasn’t a concerning issue. He doesn’t have any known back injuries, but something to note as he has become an important special teams contributor. 

TE Dawson Knox (calf/COVID)

Knox was ruled out prior to Sunday’s contest but was placed on the COVID/Reserve list Saturday after testing positive, also forcing TE Lee Smith, TE Tommy Sweeney, and PS TE Nate Becker onto the list due to being close contacts. While it’s highly unfortunate that Knox contracted COVID, this may benefit Knox in the long run as he can rest for the next week which may allow him to return fully healthy once cleared. According to protocols, if he was asymptomatic, he can return after 10 days from the initial positive test and have two following negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

If he was symptomatic, he would have to wait 10 days from when the symptoms first appeared and at least 72 hours from when he last experienced symptoms. So it’s possible that Knox could return by next week to play, but we won’t know that unless we know that he was symptomatic. This is a waiting game at the moment. Hopefully, Smith, Sweeney, and Becker test negative and can return to their respective roles quickly. To read more about the COVID testing, check this article out.

The team should be getting a lot of players healthy this week with the possibility of another name or two popping up on the injury report. Despite not having Knox for the foreseeable future along with potentially G Cody Ford, the additions of Feliciano and Wallace should help immensely in order to allow the Bills to take control of the AFC East next Sunday against the Patriots. 

Top Photo Credit: Buffalo News

2020 Week 7 Bills Injury Preview- Jets

The injury list is long, pick your poison.

The Bills 4-0 start seems like ages ago following two straight losses to the two best teams that the AFC had to offer last season. Sitting at 4-2, the Bills are still in a prime position to win the division and host a playoff game for the first time in a quarter-century. Despite being in the driver’s seat, it doesn’t feel like they can field a healthy team in order to keep the march going strong. 

In the time writing these weekly injury reports, this is one of the more taxing ones that have been completed. There are simply a lot of injuries. There have been other weeks within a season that have had a lot of designations, but the list thins out or guys get healthy. We are now feeling the effects of injuries piling on top of injuries with multiple guys already ruled out prior to Sunday’s matchup against the Jets. Fortunately, the depth that the Bills have is still sufficient in the short term to get through this week. Below is the extensive list of injuries.

OUT

G Cody Ford (right knee)

Ford is ruled out for Sunday after sustaining what appears to be an MCL sprain to his right knee as the result of getting rolled upon in the 4th quarter. He was able to walk off under his own power before requiring the cart to head to the locker room. I had thought he would benefit from a short term IR stay but the team has not elected to go that route quite yet. Considering he was playing through a groin, possible left shoulder/elbow, and now knee, he could use the break. Regardless of the IR decision, Ford will be out Sunday.

WR John Brown (left knee)

Brown was ruled out for Sunday due to a left knee injury sustained in the Chiefs game. This occurred in the first series as Brown was trying to catch a cross route when he fell onto the left knee. He was hobbled by it the rest of the game and was largely ineffective.

Based on the latest injury alone, he probably could play through it, but considering all the injuries he’s been dealing with including the previous knee injury along with calf and foot issues, he could use a week off and that’s what appears to be happening following a week of DNP’s. The week off should do him some good in order to get ready next week for the Patriots. 

TE Dawson Knox (calf)

Knox will miss his second straight game with a calf injury originally sustained in the Titans loss. The severity is unknown but considering he will now miss two games, this says that it isn’t minor. The literature does show that these can take some time to heal, on average, 17.4 days which means he’s not quite there yet. At this point, he will need full practices 2 out of the 3 days in order for me to be convinced he plays. The more time Knox misses, his 3rd game total due to a concussion, the less he can be relied upon as a weapon for Josh Allen.

Update: Knox has since been placed on the COVID/Reserve list along with Lee Smith, Nate Becker, and Tommy Sweeney.

CB Josh Norman (left hamstring)

Norman reportedly tweaked the same hamstring from training camp, which according to records, was the left side. He has since been ruled out and we do not know the severity of the hamstring which will make a timeline tough to establish. 

Due to the previous hamstring strain, he was at greater risk of re-injure the area with the literature showing a 33% recurrence rate. Hopefully, the injury was minor and he comes back in time for the Patriots game. If he can’t go, CB Levi Wallace will come off IR, giving the team some options.

LB Tyrel Dodson (right hamstring)

Had Dodson not been injured, we possibly would see Milano sit another week due to the lack of need. However, since Dodson injured his right hamstring on a punt return, Milano may be pressed into service Sunday. Dodson has already been ruled out and may miss the Patriots game as well. Hopefully, Dodson is not out too long to give this team depth and versatility in the second half.

Update: Dodson has since been placed on IR.

QUESTIONABLE

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral)

Milano continues to battle back from a left pectoral strain suffered against the Raiders in Week 4. He appeared to be on track against the Chiefs to play but the research didn’t support a return that quickly with him ultimately missing another week.

He is far more likely to play in the Jets game considering the lack of depth available at the linebacker position. With any injury, he would benefit from additional time off but he is probably healthy enough to play and be effective. I expect him to play with the shoulder harness and give the defense a needed shot to get right for the coming weeks. 

CB Cam Lewis (left wrist)

Lewis continues to practice with a club on his left hand following Sunday’s injury attempting to tackle Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It’s not clear what he did to the wrist but it’s significant enough that he has to wear a club on his left hand and that he was ruled week-to-week. The one upside to his injury is that he can go out to perform all the duties of the cornerback position with the exception of catching interceptions. Considering the lack of depth, Lewis may be forced to be active but available only in case of an emergency. 

CB Tre’Davious White (back)

White appeared on the injury report again with his back injury that has been bothering him since the lead up to the Titans game. Outside of it being a pain-related issue, we still don’t have details as to what is flaring things up. 

While he is not playing quite at the level he was last year, he is still playing at an above-average level which makes him still one of the best options on the team even not fully healthy. I expect he plays or at worst, is active but only in case of emergency. It’s unfortunate that the team has to resort to suiting up injured players, but such is the case with the Bills this week. 

ACTIVE

QB Josh Allen (left shoulder)

Allen continues to practice in full with the left shoulder injury sustained in the Raiders game. I have thought his throwing mechanics have changed due to the injury which could explain some of the misses over the last two weeks. I expect him to come off the report soon but to linger on the report as long as he has is important to note later on. I still suspect he tore his labrum or injured his rotator cuff, but I will be looking to see if he continues to wear a brace on Sunday for stability. 

S Jaquan Johnson (back)

Johnson popped up on the injury report Friday with a back designation but practiced in full. There is absolutely no idea what he could be dealing with unless we get more information. Due to the issues in the secondary, any nick or bruise draws concerning responses from the fan base.

Other Injuries:

G Jon Feliciano (pectoral tear)

Feliciano has been discussed in the game plan this week for the first time since before his injury occurred. His 21-day window to practice without counting towards the active roster is rapidly closing and the team will have to make a decision by October 28th.

By the time you’re reading this, Feliciano will likely have been activated from IR. I do not expect him to take all the snaps in his first game back but he should see a decent amount to get live game reps to prepare for the second half of the season. A corresponding move to bring Feliciano back will either mean someone is cut or someone is placed on IR, hopefully, Cody Ford.

TE Tommy Sweeney (foot)

Sweeney is mentioned because he is now eligible to return from PUP following a six-week stay. The team has five weeks to activate him to practice and from there, they have a 21-day window to activate him to the roster. I had thought that he suffered a stress fracture and is still working back from the injury. Considering the struggles that Dawson Knox has had, Sweeney could be a nice addition in the coming weeks. I will be interested to see what the plan is moving forward.

Update: Sweeney has since been placed on COVID/Reserve list.

G Quinton Spain (foot soreness/released)

Spain was a surprise release following two games where he was declared inactive due to foot soreness. While he was a good player last year and had recently signed a contract extension, it simply did not appear to work out due to the team wanting to develop Cody Ford at the guard position. Details aren’t exact with regards to the reasoning of the release, but I would expect it was because he wasn’t happy with his playing time.

While it is not a great look to release a former starter, it is better to cut loose a player who does not want to be there rather than let any potentially negative attitudes fester in the locker room. Best of luck to Spain in his NFL journey as he looks to find a new home.

As a result of this move, the Bills elevated DT Justin Zimmer to the active roster and signed LB Ahmad Gooden to the practice squad.

Inactives:

TE Dawson Knox* COVID

CB Josh Norman

G Cody Ford

LB Tyrel Dodson* IR

QB Jake Fromm

WR John Brown

RB TJ Yeldon

Call ups:

CB Dane Jackson

CB Lafayette Pitts

The only upside is that the Bills are playing the Jets this week. Had we been forced to play another team such as the Patriots or Seahawks, this game could have been rough. Along with having a lesser team in the Jets, they are also dealing with their own injuries seen below. 

Those are some key players that are injured that could make an already depleted team even more susceptible to a loss. But according to Tom Pelissero, QB Sam Darnold is expected to play.

While there are questions about whether the Bills are the real deal following two losses, these are the kind of games where a winning team must come in and do their job, beating a lesser opponent. Ideally, the Bills take care of business and move onto the Patriots in addition to getting healthier as the team enters November and the second half of the season.

Top Photo Credit: BillsWire USA Today

2020 Week 5 Bills Injury Preview- Titans

Which of the questionable players will suit up?

Heading into Tuesday’s unusual matchup against the Tennessee Titans, the Bills are fairly beat up with injury designations already determined on Saturday afternoon. While the injury list looks dire, things actually aren’t all that bad. Check out the details below. Let’s hope this game gets played & put in the rearview mirror.

OUT

LB Matt Milano (Left pectoral)

Milano has since been ruled out for Tuesday’s contest which isn’t a surprise considering he did not practice all week.

Milano is coming off what appears to be a left pectoral strain. Based on the literature, it’s no surprise that he will be out for the short term. In my article at Buffalo Rumblings, I had detailed that he would be out at least 2 games and potentially more. The fact that he hasn’t been placed on IR also hints at the timeline the team thinks he may return sooner than later.

QUESTIONABLE

WR John Brown (Left knee)

Brown has been battling calf and foot problems all season, none of which have been serious enough to miss any time. Brown did appear to tweak something on the left side as shown in the video below.

Per the injury report, he is dealing with a knee injury now. While there is video of the injury, it’s hard to discern what he exactly did. In the video, he planted his left foot and pushed right before taking another step and then began hopping in pain.

He took several hard steps on his left leg to turn back to the right to catch the pass. His knee appeared to bow out on the next step, but it’s possible he could have tweaked the MCL or inside knee ligament on the prior step, felt it, took an uneven step which where we saw the bowing out, and then the final hopping off the field.

Credit: PTHealth.ca

If this injury was in isolation, I would say he’s alright to play especially with the few extra days off. But considering he’s dealing with foot & calf injuries, he may be best suited to take a week off. May come down to how he feels. This is one position where the team has healthy depth.

G Cody Ford (Groin/left shoulder)

Ford is battling a groin strain apparently suffered in the Raiders game. Sean McDermott did note that Ford was battling through some things during the Raiders game. I believe he was referring more to the left shoulder which could be anything at this point. There is nothing definitive on film & would need more information for a specific injury. There is a possibility that he’s dealing with a rotator cuff issue or labral injury due to the brace, but something to monitor.

As for the groin, also not sure when he injured it which makes it difficult to determine how it will affect him. The one upside is that playing on the interior part of the line; he will not have to use as much lateral movement or sprinting which can reduce strain on the area. If he doesn’t go, then G Quinton Spain would likely get the start.

RB Zack Moss (Toe)

Moss continues to be limited with a toe injury that appears to be turf toe. He was potentially able to play Sunday against the Raiders, but he ultimately did not suit up.

He has missed the last 2 games which fits in the timeline for a turf toe. The hope is that he returns for Tuesday’s game with a few extra days rest & is more of a factor than RB TJ Yeldon. Considering all the questionable players & that he practiced in full leads me to believe he will play.

LB Del’Shawn Phillips (Left quadriceps)

Phillips has returned to practice & began practicing in full which is an excellent sign for the special teams linebacker. He has missed the last 3 games following a quadriceps injury that appeared to be a strain by video.

I expect most of his playing time to be on special teams once again unless he is called upon to play on defense if injury occurs. I also expect that he will continue to be slowly worked back in as he acclimates to not playing football for nearly a month.

Update: Phillips has since been placed on IR. The team promoted LB Deon Lacey in his spot.

WR Andre Roberts (Ankle)

There is no information on Roberts other than he injured his ankle. Nothing on film indicates that he suffered an injury and nothing in the media reports indicate the type of injury he is dealing with. The fact that he hasn’t practiced all week isn’t a great sign either.

The only two instances I could find for a possible injury came in the 1st quarter. The first was a right end around where Roberts lost 3 yards when he was flipped upside down by S Johnathan Abram. The other, three plays later, when Roberts caught a 6 yard pass to the left and was taken down by CB Nevin Lawson.

He had his left ankle get clipped on the first tackle and on the second, he was twisted down. Hard to identify if this is when he hurt his ankle or what the exact injury could be.

This will be something to monitor as the season progresses.

CB Tre’Davious White (Back)

This has been a mystery. White played in every defensive snap on Sunday & has been fairly durable throughout this season & career. He has not practiced this past week & it’s not clear whether he is even at the facility.

Watching film from Week 4, he appears to move well around the field and is not labored or slow to get up. As this is a back injury, these are harder to identify the injuries as there is typically not bracing or specific movements that are limited by the injury.

More information would be needed in order to identify what he’s dealing with. I could list a bunch of injuries & conditions, but trying to identify this injury is like throwing a dart in the dark at the dart board. The only reason that he could possibly be questionable after not practicing is if it’s a pain related issue where the team is hoping that things can calm down before Tuesday. But even that doesn’t narrow things down.

I have heard severe people say that he got his money & is not playing as hard anymore or that he is attempting to opt out because of the COVID concerns with the Titans with the team saying he has a back injury. Sure, there’s always that possibility that he is phoning it in now that he got paid. If he was, then that was a poor decision by the team to sign him to an extension. If he is not trying anymore, that’s on him. I don’t believe the Bills want guys on the team like that. I personally don’t believe this to be the case.

The COVID concerns are real, but to have the team say he has a back injury in order to keep him away from the facility, that’s a stretch. They could list him with an injury, we do see guys on injury reports often every week and don’t appear to have anything wrong. If I recall, Tom Brady was notorious for that with his right shoulder.

But to fake an injury would go against the competitive balance & intention of the injury report. To use it to cover up for something else makes me think the NFL wouldn’t take too kindly to that.

Right now, I am going with the fact that he has a back injury, details are not available, and the hope is that it isn’t serious. If he doesn’t go, the team has CB Dane Jackson they can call up for depth.

G Brian Winters (Right knee)

Winters appeared to injure his right knee on the same play that Josh Allen injured his shoulder. He fell hard on the right knee and was labored upon getting up and trying to get back into the play.

It appears to be a generalized contusion, but considering he hasn’t practiced in the past week, there’s potential it could be other things. He could have injured the bursa which is a fluid filled sac that helps lubricate the joint. A direct blow to that could cause inflammation to the area, limiting range of motion.

There are other possible injuries that he could have suffered but without more information, hard to establish a timeline. Considering the team has a bevy of offensive lineman, he could afford to sit this week.

INJURED RESERVE

CB Levi Wallace (Left ankle)

This move was a possibility but not certain as low ankle sprains can be played through, depending on the severity. Unfortunately for Wallace, he appears to have suffered a Grade 2 low ankle sprain early against the Raiders. This is due to the fact that he was placed on IR on Wednesday which requires a 3 week stay indicating a timeline for severity.

Credit: Medium.com

According to this picture sent in by a fellow Twitter user, Wallace appears to be off crutches and the swelling in the left ankle looks minimal. However, there is still likely instability due to the ligaments getting stretched out from the injury.

What we also don’t see in this picture is if he is on crutches and he put them down for the picture. We also don’t see how much weight he is putting through his left foot. Both feet could be down but he could be leaning more to the right to off weight the leg. Whatever he’s doing, he can rest for the next 3 weeks now that CB Josh Norman has returned from IR.

ACTIVE

WR Cole Beasley (Left foot)

Beasley continues to battle with numerous injuries including previous injuries to his thumb and hip. After being limited in practice earlier this week, Beasley was a full participant which signifies that he is healthy enough to play. The extra days off will certainly help his foot to heal further which will allow him to make those cuts over the middle effectively and use his speed to work around the field.

QB Josh Allen (left shoulder)

Allen practiced in full every day despite the left shoulder designation from Sunday’s injury. The injury designation officially notes that he does have an injury and that it could affect his ability to play. The concern is that he has either an AC joint sprain, rotator cuff injury, or labral tear.

He did have a brace on for Wednesday’s practice and kinesiotape on for Thursday’s practice. The hope is that he has the AC joint sprain & it’ll heal on its own. My worry still remains that he had more damage in there as mentioned above. I would anticipate to see some bracing on for Tuesday regardless of the injury.

As the season progresses, the injury will become more clear if he takes further hits to the shoulder or if he continues to wear bracing.

Inactives:

LB Matt Milano
TE Lee Smith
G Brian Winters
QB Jake Fromm
RB TJ Yeldon

A bye week would be beneficial like it was last year at this time, but the Bills are not due for one for some time. These kinds of weeks will really test the depth at each position and the training staff’s ability to get each guy ready. It is important to note that a player may be active but may not get much play, only available for depth if needed. The team was forced to do this several times last year.

While the Titans are healthier as evidenced by the list below, they also have not had the ability to practice as a team in the last 2 weeks, unless you could the unauthorized practices after their facility closed. They also still have a number of players on the COVID reserve list.

Even if they’re healthier, I would be concerned about in-game injuries due to the sudden ramping back up of game play. I do not wish injury on anyone, but there is a greater risk. That along with not having the ability to fully implement their game plan may help be an equalizer in the game.

Remember, this is a team that was an AFC finalist last year. This team is no slouch. I would expect the Bills to win because I am biased and believe we have the better team. But if they lose, they are a worthy opponent. I’d like to see a win, but more importantly, minimal injuries as the Bills prepare for a short week against the Chiefs in Week 6 at home.

Top Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

2020 Week 4 Bills Injury Review- Raiders

Is Josh Allen going to be ok? What happened to Levi Wallace? How long will Matt Milano be out for?

The Bills are 4-0 for the first time since 2008 and the fanbase is buzzing! That was about the time I began to sink my teeth into what is now my full-fledged Bills fandom & totally embraced it. While the beginning of the season was fun, the later half clearly wasn’t. However, this 2020 team is something else! 4-0 including two wins over division opponents in the Dolphins & Jets and two more wins over playoff contenders in the Rams & Raiders. 

While it’s unrealistic to run the table to a Super Bowl, the Bills are showing they know how to win games that they are expected to win. There are still several games on the schedule that aren’t automatic & realistically, they will suffer some losses. But for now, the Bills are getting stacking wins as they continue to march forward in the season.

In light of the win, there were several injuries to note of varying concern. Below you will find my thoughts and expectations for each injury moving forward.

CB Levi Wallace (left ankle)

Wallace injured his ankle with 8:22 left in the first quarter with what appeared to be a calf/ankle injury. Upon review & just prior to falling to the turf, Wallace changed directions suddenly, going backwards in order to get the tipped ball. As he was going backwards, he rolled his ankle inward. That sudden weight through the rolled ankle likely worsened the severity of the ankle sprain observed on film. He was down on the ground in obvious pain and required assistance to get back up and off the field. Regrettably, he was unable to return.

Noted above, following the game, he was on crutches as Coach McDermott was giving his post game speech. From the video, it isn’t determined whether he had a boot on, but considering the possible severity of the sprain along with the crutches, it’s very likely he did. 

McDermott has since stated that he is week-to-week which translates out to several weeks missed. Grade 1 ankle sprains can usually be played through. Grade 2, which I believe is what Wallace has, is anywhere from 3-6 weeks. Considering they have not put him on IR yet, I believe he can come back after missing 2-3 games, barring setbacks.

They do have Josh Norman available and may be the only option until Wallace is ready to return. 

WR Cole Beasley (left foot)

Beasley suffered what he termed a foot sprain on his TD catch when he got flipped into the air before coming down hard for the score. As he came down, his left foot smashed into the turf.

This appears to be a generalized foot sprain, more specifically to the midfoot. He had it taped up and returned later in the game, at times labored. He’s a guy who could benefit from some time off but he’s a baller and he’s going to play. I expect him to be limited in practice or have a day off this week. Unless the foot gets much worse Tuesday & Wednesday, I expect that he’ll have it taped up for next Sunday.

QB Josh Allen (left shoulder)

Allen scared the entire NFL when he got tackled scrambling out of the pocket before getting taken down from behind, falling with his arm outstretched, hitting at the elbow then rolling onto his left side, grabbing at his non-throwing shoulder. 

There’s a lot to unpack with the injury so stick with me here. It initially appeared that he injured his hand due to shaking it out with noticeable discomfort. Due to the elbow striking the ground, he likely hit the ulnar nerve that runs on the medial portion of the elbow, aka, the funny bone. 

That would explain the hand component. When the elbow struck the ground, he immediately grabbed at the shoulder. There are several things that he could have injured with that fall including an AC joint sprain, rotator cuff, or labrum tear due to subluxation/dislocation.

I would take the above order of injury based on severity. Best case he could have injured his AC joint with the fall. He can wear a brace for a few weeks and have no lasting effects, especially considering this is his non-throwing shoulder. 

The rotator cuff could have been strained due to the elbow hitting the turf, jamming the humerus up into the acromion, causing injury. This injury would also take several weeks to recover from. Think QB Drew Lock of the Broncos from Week 2 below.

However, the worst and I feel is most likely is the labral tear due to a subluxation/dislocation. The elbow hitting the turf and forcing the arm up and into the shoulder socket could have forced the head of the humerus away from the labrum which helps deepen the socket for the shoulder to articulate.

Credit: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00167-015-3979-8

If this is the case, I see a scenario where he wears the brace the rest of the season as he rehabs in order to keep the shoulder strong and as stable as possible. My hope is that he subluxed the shoulder, it caused a small tear in the labrum that he plays through and then the team can evaluate if he needs to undergo surgery in the offseason. There is concern that he injures the shoulder further if he falls on it.

Check out Bears QB Mitch Trubisky’s shoulder injury from two years ago for similarities.

My biggest worry if he continues to sublux or dislocate the shoulder, leading to missed time. This could cause further damage to the labrum or a significant dislocation could lead to a brachial plexus injury which is the bundle of nerves that supply the arm for sensation and movement. This is less common, but still possible. A non-throwing shoulder injury isn’t as big of a deal, but if he takes further shots, this could take him out of games even temporarily.

As it’s not his throwing shoulder, the team will unlikely give any further information and we will have to read the tea leaves. 

RG Brian Winters (right knee)

Winters suffered what appears to be a right knee contusion on the same play that Josh Allen got injured on. He was engaging his block before getting shoved down way behind the line of scrimmage, falling directly onto his right knee. He was able to get back up & finish the play, but was laboring to get back towards the action. 

He was later ruled questionable with a right knee injury & did not return. This isn’t something that should linger outside of dealing with pain. He could have played through, but considering that the team has depth & still wants to get reps for all their guys, it was a smart move to avoid having him continue to play. This might show up on the injury report but it doesn’t appear to have lasting concerns.

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral)

Milano injured his left shoulder/pectoral area attempting to tackle RB Josh Jacobs near the line of scrimmage. As he went to wrap him up, Milano’s momentum kept him moving upfield as Jacobs began to run downfield. In the process, his left arm was pulled away by Jacobs running. Milano got up, having his left shoulder/pectoral muscle checked out by the team doctor on the sidelines.

This is the exact mechanism of injury for a pectoral tear, maximal eccentric contraction of the muscle, leading to overload and tearing. However, it does not appear that a full tear is the case. This appears to be more of a strain by how Milano responded and how quickly he fell to the ground, allowing the ground to stop some of his momentum. This could be an injury that he does miss some time for, but isn’t something that I expect to hinder him all season. 

He has since been termed as week-to-week, which isn’t promising. Most of the literature I found spoke more of the pectoral tendon rupture, exactly what G Jon Feliciano is recovering from. There are some resources that note that this strain could be a 2-6 week recovery.

Considering they’re not placing him on IR at the moment, this leads me to believe that he’ll be out 2-4 weeks. Not quite enough to be placed on IR but not a quick return. I will say he’ll miss probably 2 games which will put him on track to return for the Jets game. Unfortunately, that second game missed would line up with the Chiefs game which would be vital for him to be available. More information will have to be available in order to change my mind on the timeline.

Already this season we have seen Eagles DT Javon Hargrave miss almost 4 weeks with the injury before returning to play in Week 2. Raiders LB Nick Kwiatkoski missed 2 games with a pectoral injury and returned to play with bracing. So to put him on track to return after 2-3 games should be reasonable. Had he outright ruptured, this wouldn’t even be a discussion. This is highly unfortunate considering he already missed one game with a hamstring strain. This will be another injury he simply has to battle back from. 

S Jaquan Johnson (right lower leg)

Johnson continues to show why he is active every Sunday as a special teams contributor. He successfully recovered the onside kick that the Raiders attempted to try and recover to get one more shot at the end zone. During the recovery, he was kicked hard in the lateral lower leg area during the scramble for the recovery. That kick, along with at least a dozen grown men landing on him would make even the toughest of men hurt.

Like Winters, there will be pain, but outside of that, he should be alright for next week.

Other observations:

G Cody Ford (left shoulder)

Ford was noted wearing a brace on his left shoulder signifying some type of instability. This was first noticed by Erik Turner over at Cover 1.

Looking back at the Miami game, there wasn’t any apparent instance of an AC joint sprain or even a labral tear. You could make the case for some pectoral strain possibilities, but nothing was definitive and I would have expected he would miss some time.

I then also grew concerned for a labral tear. These are highly common in NFL lineman & something that can be played through. Finding that on film would be difficult due to repeated blocking with the arms extended & I’m not certain that he even suffered this during a game. He could have injured the shoulder at practice In between the Rams and Raiders game.

Like all the others, something to monitor. To note, he had surgery on the opposite shoulder last year but details were never made public on whether it was a labrum or rotator cuff. We are once again left to speculate. 

All these injuries, most of them aren’t things that could have been prevented with preseason. These are just unfortunate and the reality of the Bills returning to the mean in regards to injuries. None of these injuries are season ending and most can return to full health. Football is a physical sport, there are injuries, I am glad that we are not seeing season ending ones yet. Looking forward, the Bills move on to play the Titans in Week 5 as they continue to maintain control of the AFC East. 

Top Photo Credit: larrybrownsports.com

2020 Week 4 Bills Injury Preview- Raiders

What is going on with Ed Oliver’s knee? Will Zack Moss play Sunday?

The Bills are getting healthy. Despite the injury list being longer than we would all like, several players are set to return & several more are expected to play despite dealing with injury. While the Bills are not fully healthy, they are in a far better position than the Raiders as seen below who are missing many key contributors which may make the Bills job on Sunday far easier. Below are the Bills injuries heading into Sunday’s matchup.

OUT

LB Del’Shawn Phillips (left quadriceps)

Phillips will miss his 3rd straight game following a quadricep strain in the season opener. Originally, I could not find when this occurred but after further review, I found on the All-22 film that he suffered a quadricep strain with 6:48 left in the 2nd quarter on the kickoff following the Bills 3rd score. He ran down the field and appeared to strain his left quadricep, having difficulty slowing down, occasionally hopping it off.

Since then, he has not practiced with the exception of Thursday & Friday in which he was limited. He likely suffered a Grade 2 quadriceps strain which can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to recover based on the already established timeline. His status poses the question, why didn’t the Bills place him on IR since it is only 3 weeks now? That’s a good question. It’s possible that he was trending towards coming back sooner and had a setback or simply did not respond to rehab as expected.

While he only has 7 special teams snaps as a Bills to his name, the team clearly likes him and is keeping him around despite the ability to stash him on IR. I would need to see a string of full practices out of him before I could even consider him to play in a game.

QUESTIONABLE

DE Mario Addison (knee)

Nothing is known about Addison & his knee that popped up on Friday with a DNP. His status is officially questionable. There wasn’t anything in particular on film Sunday that suggested a knee injury. He did exit the game for cramping in what appeared to be his right leg, but this should not cause knee problems several days later.

He did have a knee injury back in 2017 that he didn’t miss any time with, but I do not believe this is connected nor do we know which side. It’s possible that he hurt his knee Thursday after practice, but any specifics are non-existent. I have to assume he doesn’t play based on the questionable diagnosis, but that guess is as good as flipping a coin and calling heads.

RB Zack Moss (toe)

Moss appears to be trending up from a toe injury sustained in the win over the Dolphins in Week 2. He likely suffered a turf toe injury which can be played through but does benefit from some time off. Fortunately, he’s not a bell cow back for the Bills and he can split carries with RB Devin Singletary and if needed, use RB TJ Yeldon like they did last week.

Moss will probably have a stiff sole and possibly tape to prevent excess movement at the big toe so that he can have that explosive first step. If he doesn’t play, then I expect him to be full-go for Week 5. Without more knowledge to sway either way, I’m leaning towards him playing.

ACTIVE

WR John Brown (calf/foot)

Brown continues to be limited with foot issues since the beginning of the season, adding in a calf strain from the Rams game that caused him to miss the 2nd half.

The foot is more of a pain issue and a nuisance more than anything. The calf strain can linger but if he took himself out Sunday in the second half as a precaution and was DNP Wednesday, limited Thursday, and full Friday, it’s likely that he is healed enough.

The team may also be conservative in his approach during practice due to the heat expected in Las Vegas. This could exacerbate a strain if he gets dehydrated, however, they are in a climate-controlled stadium which may neutralize that factor.

Brown also has sickle cell trait which could place his body under extra stress and pain if he overworks his body or becomes dehydrated. This is merely a factor the team has to account for but does not limit his abilities. Sean McDermott appeared fairly confident that Brown would be available Sunday which is a ringing endorsement from a coach who says very little.

LB Tremaine Edmunds (right shoulder)

Edmunds finally was able to practice in full following a shoulder injury in Week 1 that caused him to miss Week 2. He did return in Week 3 and was less than effective with a shoulder harness.

Another week of rest & rehab should do him well & he should improve his play. The hope is that he eventually ditches the shoulder harness which would support the AC joint sprain which makes more sense & is less severe than a labral tear. He’s not 100% yet, but I expect him to slowly continue to improve towards a Pro Bowl level. I will also be watching closely how he engages his tackles and if he accepts more hits to the right side.

TE Dawson Knox (concussion)

Knox is slated to play Sunday following a concussion in Week 2 that forced him to miss the Rams game. He has since practiced in full and only has to pass his independent neurological consult if he hasn’t already. He is at a higher risk to suffer another concussion since he has already had one but playing football, he’s at risk regardless.

T Dion Dawkins (right shoulder)

Dawkins took a hard spill on Sunday as the result of trying to avoid Rams CB Troy Hill, somersaulting over him and landing on his right shoulder. The hope is that this is a contusion and is more pain limiting. There is a possibility that he suffered a minor AC joint sprain, but Dawkins was fairly jovial and hanging around following the win Sunday while not appearing to favor the arm.

One benefit of this being his right shoulder is that he plays left tackle. He will have to engage his left arm more, blocking the defensive end around the edge, allowing Dawkins to keep the end in front of him. He will use his right arm, but he can get through the game a lot easier because of this. I really don’t expect much drop off in the quality of play Sunday.

S Micah Hyde (left ankle)

Hyde sprained his ankle going in for a blitz Sunday and rolled it engaging the Rams tackle. Low ankle sprains are painful but easily played through with bracing or tape. My only concern is if he continues to re-injure the area that he misses time. I’m not all that concerned about damage in the short term, it’s easy to manage, but he is an older player and continues to require occasional days off to recover.

DT Quinton Jefferson (foot)

Little is known about Jefferson other than that he’s an older player with a previous Jones fracture from last season. He did have foot soreness in the preseason and is dealing with this again. There are other possibilities such as the plantar fasciitis that John Brown could be dealing with or that Jefferson had his foot stepped on.

This is something that I’m aware of but not concerned about right now, but something to monitor as the season progresses. I will be looking for patterns on the injury report and if he begins to miss snaps/games. For Sunday, he will be good to go.

DT Ed Oliver (right knee)

Oliver’s knee injury appeared pretty innocuous during Week 2 when he attempted to trip the offensive player, getting hit directly at the knee and then hit on the shin.

He was limited Wednesday due to the knee continuing to bother him followed by a DNP Thursday. This sent out a lot of concern to the masses thinking he wouldn’t play, but Ian Rapoport of NFL Network indicated that it was a bruise and that the knee was structurally sound. But considering the DNP’s on Wednesday, this was probably done to stagger all the various players out. He likely hyperextended the knee during the original hit which led to the brace, but overall it does mean that the knee is sound as the knee does have some leeway with extension.

However, this picture above began making the rounds late Friday evening which makes me believe something more is going on. Clicking on the picture below, you can see that there is a bandage of Oliver’s medial right knee. Considering this is the location that he was hit, I got to wonder if he got his knee drained due to excess swelling.

This is a common procedure and the knee would be drained in that area. This picture highlights how severe the bruising may actually be. If you compare the right versus left calf, you can also see less definition on the right calf as compared to the left which would further show overall swelling in the knee and lower leg. I reached out to several Bills fans who have greater expertise in those areas and supported my thoughts. Really appreciate their input!

I wouldn’t be surprised to see both a compression sleeve on the knee and hinge brace for support Sunday. This will be something to monitor in the coming weeks.

CB Josh Norman (left hamstring)

Norman is slated to return to the active roster following a 3-week stay due to a likely Grade 2 left hamstring strain suffered during the first week of real training camp. He appeared on the mend but had a setback at the end of August, forcing him out of practices prior to Week 1.

He has since returned to practice Wednesday and has not been on the injury report. As of publication, he has not been activated, but the Bills waived CB Cam Lewis, later re-signing him to the practice squad. Considering the position and roster move, it appears a foregone conclusion that Norman will make his debut with the team Sunday. I expect him to work into a split role with CB Levi Wallace to keep the Raiders off balance and to help him adjust to game speed.

Ideally, the time off helped reduce his risk to re-injure the hamstring, but it is not completely absolved. Hopefully, he can find the fountain of youth and rekindle some of his stellar play from his days in Carolina.

Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm
DE Mario Addison
OL Ike Boettger
RB TJ Yeldon
TE Lee Smith
LB Del’Shawn Phillips

There doesn’t appear to be any surprises for the inactives, more personnel inactives than injuries besides Phillips & Addison. Based on my thoughts that Addison doesn’t play, that allows both DE Darryl Johnson & DE AJ Epenesa to get out there as they have been inactives in past weeks.

The Bills are far healthier heading into this game than the Raiders and I believe more talented. The injuries that we do have are on the mend which can help continue to develop depth in place until the starters are healthy. This is a game the Bills expect to win as they have much greater competition farther ahead, making each week more important than the last. Despite the early injuries, the rust appears to be shaken off and ideally, the quality of the defense continues to improve in order to support the hot start by the offense.

Top Photo Credit:

Chris Benoit Facebook/Nate Mendelson Twitter

2020 Week 1 Bills Injury Preview- Jets

How are the Bills looking heading into the season opener?

FOOTBALL IS BACK!!

The Bills face the New York Jets on Sunday in a much-needed distraction from what 2020 has become. As expected due to the truncated offseason, both teams are entering the game with several injuries. Fortunately, the Bills appear to be the healthier of the two teams. Today’s post will focus on the Bills injuries as they always do. If time was to be spent on the Jets, we would be getting into making this a chapter book. For easy reference, see the Jets injury report below.

As for the Bills, there are several injuries on the defensive side of the ball that could challenge the depth that the front office has worked so hard to build up. Below is each player’s status & injury.

OUT


CB Josh Norman (left hamstring strain)

He has officially been ruled out of Sunday’s matchup against the Jets despite injuring his hamstring more than 3 weeks ago. This is regrettable as he appeared to be on track up until this week.

This tells us several things about the injury.

  • It was possibly more severe than originally thought. This strain could be a Grade 2 which can take 4-8 weeks on average to recover.

  • He may have suffered a Grade 1 but re-injured it on Monday, the last practice that he participated in. He had looked well in video running through drills, but still had the leg wrapped.

  • This also potentially resets the timeline of when he will return. 1-3 weeks is a typical timeline for Grade 1 strains, but if it’s a Grade 2, he may only be half better by now. Or if it was a Grade 1 with reinjury, he may have to restart his rehab which could mean that he misses 2-3 weeks.

Defensive backs make up 23% of hamstring strains when compared to other positions and 12% of all training camp injuries are hamstrings. Norman was just outside the 2-week window where re-injury is at its highest but that window is still open for up to 4 weeks from the onset of the injury. Next week will show where he may be in terms of recovery and availability.

These are frequent injuries seen in training camp & occur even without abnormal preseasons. He may not be 100%, but considering he has a specialized role on special teams, he could be effective in limited action. It will be important to note how effective running & cutting can be, especially when cutting to the left, pivoting off the right knee. could be continuing to deal with issues especially cutting, could limit his return ability. Jones has dealt with numerous injuries before, this will be yet another injury he plays through.

QUESTIONABLE

DT Vernon Butler (hamstring)

Not much more can be said about hamstrings that haven’t been mentioned already for Butler. He practiced in full which indicates that he is likely to play Sunday. He has the added benefit of being in a rotation on the defensive line which will limit fatigue & overuse throughout the game.

He won’t have to work up to top-end speed like Wallace & Norman do but he will have the responsibilities of trying to drive through and around his blocker which will force the hip into extension. This is a primary function of the hamstring which could cause problems if he does too much. He will likely play but there is concern that he re-injures it.

ACTIVE

CB Levi Wallace (hamstring)

Fortunately for the CB2 position, Wallace is active & will get the start Sunday. He suffered his hamstring strain shortly after Josh Norman went down with an injury.

The only difference between Wallace & Norman was the designations upon injury. Wallace was listed day-to-day whereas Norman was week-to-week. Hamstrings continue to be a common injury early in training camps & early-season games. Hopefully, Wallace does not suffer a re-injury due to fatigue & puts this injury behind him.

RB Taiwan Jones (right knee)

Jones has been dealing with the injury since August 26th as camp was wrapping up. Reports indicated that he stepped awkwardly and went down, requiring trainers to tend to him. Without video, it’s hard to get a true gauge on the injury. But based on the wording, he could be possibly dealing with an MCL sprain or meniscus tear. I’m leaning towards the MCL due to the shorter timeframe that he has been limited.

Remaining injuries on IR:

G Jon Feliciano (left pectoral tear)

He continues to work back from his injury, recently ditching the sling early last week indicating that he is on track with rehab. Based on his timeline, he has one month to get in NFL shape & strength which is a really tall order. If the Bills get off to a great start, then this can allow Feliciano to take the time he truly needs to return & not rush back, risking the possibility of re-injury.

TE Tommy Sweeney (left foot fracture)

Sweeney is on the PUP list with the foot fracture & is not able to come back until Week 6 at the earliest. As midseason gets closer, we will have an idea of a Week 7 return is realistic or if he will need more time to fully get back into shape.

INACTIVE LIST

This is incredibly tricky due to the fluid nature of the practice squad list. However, there still has to be several inactives.

CB Josh Norman
G Ike Boettger
QB Jake Fromm
RB TJ Yeldon
TE Reggie Gilliam
WR Isaiah McKenzie

Fortunately, the Bills are in much better shape than the Jets coming into the game. The true test will be managing the workloads of all the players & not exacerbating or creating any new soft tissue injuries. I expect a Bills win not only due to talent but overall health. It is simply wonderful that football is back & can provide some sort of normalcy in an already crazy world.

Photo Credit:

Niagara-Gazette.com

CB Levi Wallace Injury Profile

#39 Levi Wallace
Position: CB
Height/Weight: 6’0”/179 lbs.
Age: 25
College: Alabama
Year joined Bills: 2018
Acquired: UDFA

College Injuries:

TBD

Pro Injuries:

2018:

Ankle sprain, Week 14, missed 0 games

2019:

Right ankle sprain, during practice prior to Week 2, missed 0 games

Left shoulder injury, Week 8, missed 0 games, later required surgery, unknown if same shoulder

Right ankle sprain, Week 17, missed Wild Card game

2020:

Sore back, missed several preseason practices.

Hamstring strain, preseason, missed 0 games.

Left ankle sprain, possible Grade 2, sent to IR, will miss 3 games.

General links:

2019 Bills Injury Preview- Cornerbacks

2020 Bills Injury Preview- Cornerbacks

Levi Wallace Shoulder surgery

Buffalo Bills Training Camp Injury Review- Week 2

The Bills are still dealing with injuries, what ones are concerning?

Another week of Bills training camp is completed! Fortunately, the list of injured players has shrunk considerably from last week allowing the Bills to stay healthy & participate in training camp. For last week’s recap, check out my article at Buffalo Rumblings.

New additions to the injury report:

WR Stefon Diggs (knee/back soreness)

Diggs gave everyone a scare when he went down briefly on Monday when he stayed down for a moment while trainers tended to his knee. Specifics were not given regarding how the injury occurred, but he did not stay down long and returned to practice quickly, not appearing to give it any further attention the rest of the week. This is likely nothing but still important to note.

The more concerning of the two injuries is the back soreness that caused him to miss Thursday’s scrimmage. He was observed on the sideline tossing a football with noticeable limitations. In the video below, he doesn’t exhibit any trunk rotation, he throws purely from his arm and he appears very stiff indicating the low back pain.

This may be true soreness, he may have strained muscles or a sprain, impossible to discern from the video alone. The training staff will be focusing on managing and eliminating the pain and keeping him moving to prevent this from becoming a chronic issue. Like the knee, I do not anticipate this becoming a long term issue, but simply to note.

RB Taiwan Jones (knee)

Jones went down in practice on Sunday after he stepped awkwardly followed by trainers tending to him before ending practice early. Like the Diggs injury, little is known regarding the mechanism of injury. He did not participate in practice the rest of the week and was observed in street clothes during the scrimmage.

My speculation is that he suffered a knee sprain, possibly his MCL. These are quite common during training camp and can hold him out for 1-3 weeks. Until he returns to practice, hard to establish an accurate timeline without more information.

RB Christian Wade (quadriceps)

Wade has missed the last week of practice with a quadriceps injury that appears to be a strain. He could be dealing with a contusion which can be very painful, but not even practicing in a limited fashion indicates more of a strain.

While this could tank most players’ roster hopes, Wade still has his practice squad roster exemption that the Bills will likely use again this season. He simply is not ready to yet contribute to an NFL roster yet which means this injury is a minor issue.

LB Corey Thompson (knee soreness)

Like all the other injuries, we can only go off of what is reported by the team on Tuesday. Knee soreness is a vague term that limits any timelines to be established. He doesn’t have any previous known knee injuries which reduces the possibility that this is a chronic issue.

Injury updates:

WR Robert Foster (concussion)

Foster exited the concussion protocol on Wednesday. He was able to participate in Thursday’s scrimmage but due to media restrictions on reporting, his performance was not known. Foster has a week to show the Bills why he needs to stick around on the roster, but his chances appear to be dwindling.

G Jon Feliciano (pectoral tear)

Feliciano is still out with his pectoral injury & is not expected to be ready for some time. But it’s important to highlight that he was observed out of his sling by Spectrum News’ Jon Scott.

This indicates that he is on schedule with the rehab protocol but does not indicate that he will be back as soon as Week 4. I still maintain that he will be back around mid-season which will allow him to be fully ready rather than limited.

CB Josh Norman (left hamstring)

Despite his aging vet status, Norman still commands a lot of attention for the fan base. He has been out over a week with a left hamstring strain suffered while returning an interception & tackle.

DC Leslie Frazier is hopeful that Norman will be back in time for Week 1 and he still appears on track for that. Barring any setbacks or change in severity, I anticipate that he will play but CB Levi Wallace is available to start if Norman isn’t 100%.

No changes:

FB Patrick DiMarco (neck), TE Tommy Sweeney (foot) are still not practicing & are uncertain to return anytime soon.

LB Vosean Joseph (undisclosed) was dealing with an injury last week which DC Leslie Frazier acknowledged but details were not given.

DT Ed Oliver, LB AJ Klein, & LB Tremaine Edmunds returned to practice & hopefully will not have any recurrence of the injuries sustained last week.

Housekeeping:

CB Ike Brown retired and posted his statement regarding his reasoning below.

In his place, the Bills signed CB Brian Allen after spending time with the Steelers & Seahawks. His injury history is limited but detailed below.

The Bills also settled their special teams competition with the release of K Stephen Hauschka & P Lachlan Edwards.

The Bills continue to stay in excellent shape regarding injuries & should have nearly everyone available for Week 1 besides Feliciano and Sweeney.

Image Credit: BuffaloNews.com

Bills 2020 Training Camp Injury Preview: Cornerback

Oft-injured, how will the position hold up in 2020?

This is Part 10 of the Buffalo Bills training camp preview revisiting injuries from 2019 & the impact it may have on their performance and availability in 2020. Part 10 consists of the cornerback room.

Not Returning

CB Kevin Johnson

16 games, 1 start, 5 passes defended, 1 sack, 32 combined tackles, 23 solo, 9 assisted, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hit

Johnson made the most of his prove-it deal, appearing in all 16 games, showing that he could stay healthy enough to stay on the field compared to his seasons with the Texans. During his time with the Bills, he only suffered a neck stinger against the first meeting with the Dolphins which limited him the following week in practice, but he did not miss anytime.

He also suffered a knee contusion against the Redskins which caused him to miss some practice the next week, but he once again returned and played the following week.
Johnson parlayed his healthy 2019 into a contract with the Browns for 2020. He should be a shining example of what the Bills facility & staff can provide for someone looking to revitalize their career if it has been marred by injury.

Returning Players

CB Taron Johnson

12 games, 7 started, 5 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack, 50 combined tackles, 39 solo, 11 assist, 2 TFL, 1 QB hit

Taron Johnson is a talented player. The Bills benefited greatly from scouting the small school cornerback and has received great production from him despite his injury woes.
However, his career may be limited secondary to his inability to stay healthy. He continues to deal with soft tissue injuries, his physical style of play leads to the risk to suffer structural injuries, and the fact that he can’t be relied upon consistently makes him a liability, even in such a talented secondary.

Below is Johnson’s known injuries:

    • Groin

Johnson suffered a groin injury in the first preseason game against the Colts. While it did not prevent him from playing in the next game against the Panthers, the injury foreshadowed further issues later on.

    • Right hamstring strain

He suffered a right hamstring strain early in the 3rd quarter of the season opener against the Jets. During an interview, he reportedly felt a pop, which is a usual presentation of a hamstring strain.

This injury was the result of running over the middle, keeping with Jets WR Jamison Crowder. He ended up missing 4 games total though he was looking good in practice prior to that.

He appeared ready to play in the Patriots game, but it was rainy that day and the team was starting to rack up injuries. He also appeared to be ready to play against the Titans, but also missed that one due to the bye week the following week.

It’s possible that he suffered a Grade 2 strain which does take longer, but it’s also possible that he suffered a setback during rehab which led to his prolonged absence. It’s also possible that the groin injury early in training camp led to his hamstring injury.

    • Left-hand 5th digit injury

Johnson suffered an injury to his 5th digit or pinky on his left hand during the Steelers game late in the game after attempting to complete a tackle. He was in distress as trainers tended to him as the training staff buddy taped the area.

It’s likely that he either suffered a dislocation or crushed it enough that it needed support. These injuries are unfortunately common and can be played through as evidence of his play during the remainder of the season.

    • Right ankle eversion sprain

He wrapped up the regular season with a right ankle sprain courtesy of Jets RB Le’veon Bell. He squared up ready to tackle and Bell bowled him over with Johnson’s ankle getting caught in the turf and appeared to suffer an eversion sprain.
He left briefly and then returned to take over for Isaiah McKenzie who filled in briefly.

    • Wild Card lower-body injury

Johnson suffered some type of lower-body injury early in the Wild Card game against Houston which led to him sitting out the entire second half. There was no film, no mechanism of injury, nothing indicating that he was hurt.

He appeared to be ready to go on the sidelines but never re-entered. He did have the ankle sprain from the week before he could have re-injured, but those are typically not serious enough to miss the game as bracing or taping the area could help get through the game.

Details continue to be scarce and it’s unknown if this could affect him going into next season. Johnson is one player who’s 2020 will hinge on whether he stays with the Bills or has to consider finding another home if he cannot stay healthy.

CB Tre’Davious White

15 games, 15 starts, 6 INT, 17 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles 1 sack, 58 total tackles, 48 solo, 10 assisted, 4 TFL, 1 QB hit, no TD’s allowed

The argument remains with Bills fans, we missed out on drafting KC QB Patrick Mahomes! But if we don’t pass on him, we don’t have All-Pro CB Tre’Davious White or likely QB Josh Allen or Tremaine Edmunds with draft-day deals in 2017 & 2018.

White stepped up in 2019 & put together a memorable season that has his name among the NFL’s elite. He has become a player that if he is not on the field, the quality of the defense changes dramatically. Fortunately, he has been very healthy during his time with the Bills.

White’s injury history below:

    • Right quadriceps contusion

He suffered a quadriceps contusion during the preseason game against the Lions which scared most fans. He was observed on the sideline with an ice pack but moving well indicating that it was more precautionary to ensure that he recovers faster. This was not an injury that lingered through the season.

    • Neck

White spent some time on the injury report with a red non-contact jersey with a neck injury. He popped up on the injury report following the Bengals game and was limited in practice that week and next. He never missed games and it was never revealed what he was dealing with. My initial speculation was that it was a neck strain.

    • Right low ankle sprain

He suffered a low right ankle sprain against the first meeting with the Patriots in the 2nd quarter. He had to take several plays off to get it taped up and quickly returned. He appeared a little slower the rest of the game but it was an issue that did not linger and he had the bye week to rehab it properly.

    • Left shoulder/stinger

As with most injuries with White, anytime he is down on the field due to injury is a concern. Many held their breath when he made a tackle against the Steelers on Sunday night football leading with his right shoulder. He got up after finishing the tackle and began motioning to his left shoulder before going down to the turf.

He appeared to suffer a stinger due to his head getting snapped to the left, quickly compressing the nerve. White briefly left the game before returning to finish the game. He didn’t appear on the injury report later and it didn’t appear to be a lingering issue for the remainder of the season.

Overall, White was fairly healthy which is why he was able to achieve All-Pro status. The ankle and quadricep injuries are not concerning but there is some slight worry regarding the stinger and neck injury. There is a correlation between the neck injury early in the season and the possible stinger he suffered against the Steelers.

However, the details of the neck injury aren’t known which makes it difficult to identify whether there is a connection. Likely, there won’t be any known concerns unless something happens again. I am confident that he is alright, but there is always that worry to see similar injuries crop up around the same time.

CB Levi Wallace

16 games, 16 starts, 9 passes deflected, 76 total tackles, 66 solo, 10 assisted, 4 TFL

Playing at CB2, Wallace has played well despite coming in as a UDFA, stepping into the starting role. He will never be at the level that Tre White is at due to the immense difficulty in getting two All-Pro players on the field, even lesser at the same position. But he showed he can get the job done despite several injuries and at times inconsistent play.

Below is Wallace’s known injuries:

    • Right ankle sprain

Wallace suffered a right ankle injury during practice prior to the Giants game in Week 2. He was attempting to play Zay Jones before attempting to turn his hips and fell down over his right ankle. It appeared to be a low ankle sprain that required a wrap to help manage any swelling and pain, but it did not limit him against the Giants.

    • Left shoulder

During the ugly loss to the Eagles, Wallace got demolished by Boston Scott as he barreled into the end zone for a TD. Scott hit the right shoulder of Wallace and he went down hard. He never returned to the game but was never ruled out. He was questionable for the next game against the Redskins, but he ended up playing.

He later required shoulder surgery at the end of January according to reports, but it is not known which shoulder or what procedure he required. It’s highly likely that he required surgery on the left shoulder, but not confirmed.

Looking at social media, Wallace hasn’t been limited with any of his activities nor is it observable which shoulder had surgery. The hope is that it was a general cleanout or shaving down any areas causing pain. This is an injury that historically doesn’t carry over from season to season.

    • Right ankle sprain

Wallace once again suffered a right ankle injury while catching an interception against the Jets in the regular-season finale. He suffered a medial ankle sprain but ultimately missed the Wild Card loss against the Texans. He was practicing during the week in hopes he could play, but ultimately the injury was too much.

It’s also possible that the ankle injury from September led to the December injury, but it is unlikely due to the length of time between the injuries. Fortunately, these ankle injuries do not linger. They can recur at a fairly high rate, but low ankle sprains can be well managed if a re-injury occurs.

CB Cam Lewis

Spent 2019 on the practice squad

Lewis spent the entire season on the practice squad in 2019 as he adjusted to the pro game. He showed flashes of his abilities in the preseason but due to injury and roster depth, he was unable to crack the 53 man roster. For someone that spent the season on the practice squad, he still suffered an injury.

Lewis’ known injuries below:

    • Concussion

Lewis suffered a concussion on a routine play in the 2nd quarter against the Panthers in the preseason. He was initially unsteady but able to walk off under his own power. He was later seen leaving the sidelines in a neck immobilizer and board as a precaution for a neck injury.

He was later cleared from the concussion protocol, but still concerning when a player leaves the field in that manner. He was unable to play the rest of the preseason which may have led to his inability to make the 53-man roster. To read more on his concussion, check out the article at Buffalo Rumblings.

    • Week 16 unknown injury

Lewis wasn’t practicing with the team for several days just prior to the second Patriots matchup. There was not an injury designation as practice squad members don’t get recorded, but it was noted by The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia.

It’s not known what he was dealing with, but important to note when players may be dealing with an injury, even minor as it could foreshadow a bigger issue. The biggest concern is the concussion heading into 2020. The hope is that he does not suffer another one that takes him even longer to recover from.

New to the roster

CB Ike Brown

Brown comes to the Bills following a solid career at FIU. He presents as a fairly healthy player heading into training camp, only suffering a collarbone fracture his sophomore season. He will have an uphill battle to stick with the roster in any way, but training camp darlings exist every year. To read more on Brown, check out Banged Up Bills.

CB EJ Gaines

Gaines is a proverbial scratch-off lottery ticket. Buy cheap, possibly win big. His injury history is quite extensive & he has not played meaningful football in over 2 years besides a few games for Cleveland in 2018.

If he can stay healthy, he could be an excellent CB2, but if not, the Bills lose nothing. To make your own decision, check out the extensive injury analysis at Buffalo Rumblings.

CB Dane Jackson

The last Bills draft pick in 2020, Jackson comes to Buffalo incredibly healthy & looking to lock down a spot on at least special teams. He doesn’t carry much injury baggage with him besides a knee injury from high school. While he does have a lot of talented players in front of him, he can adjust to the NFL without the pressure of playing immediately. As players begin to age out or move on, there is hope Jackson can slide in and continue the recent excellent play from the secondary. Read up on Jackson at Buffalo Rumblings.

CB Josh Norman

The former All-Pro from Carolina spent several up and down years with Washington, chasing the money before leaving, viewed as not living up to the contract. Much has been said about Washington not being the right fit for his skills which could have led to his decline in production.

However, Norman is older and has had his share of injuries, including several documented concussions. He plays a very physical position and has paid the price for it. Like Gaines, he is someone that if he doesn’t work out, the Bills are not tied to him significantly. His contract is more substantial but that is justified considering his accolades. He could certainly have a bounce-back year from a production standpoint and could be a value contract in 2020. To read more on Norman’s injury history, read Buffalo Rumblings.

2020 Outlook

If you’re still reading, this position as a whole suffered quite a few injuries. There has been stellar play from White followed by inconsistent play from CB2, but McDermott & Frazier always make it work.

White, Johnson, Wallace, & Norman all should make the team. Jackson has an excellent shot as well as being a draft pick, but not guaranteed. Gaines should make the roster but is totally dependent on his health. His play could affect his future, but he has to prove he can be available first before talent is considered.

Brown & Lewis both have a shot, more likely on the practice squad as both are still eligible. Regardless of who makes the roster besides White, the depth at the position is secured & the coaching staff has several contingency plans if the talent is lacking or injury occurs. Despite the injuries, this should still be a productive position for the Bills in 2020.

Bills Offseason Injury Updates

Get the #Bills latest injury news during these long lulls in the offseason as we inch closer to OTA’s Phase 1

Talk about some offseason doldrums! Mock draft after mock draft, continuous speculation about what player goes where. On top of that, the underwear Olympics are coming up at the end of February which will take the draft season to a whole new level of madness.

To make matters worse, there has been little to no updates regarding anything Bills content outside of DT Star Lotulelei’s restructuring of his contract. That and TE Greg Olsen signed with the Seahawks after meeting with the Bills.

But there’s still love for you Bills fans over here at Banged Up Bills. It’s been about a month since any major news was released regarding offseason surgeries. While there has been little new information, I still feel it’s beneficial to provide updates on the surgeries. This is to attempt to further identify what each player is dealing with and any possible updated timelines.

Jerry Hughes

Jerry got the Bills in some hot water over his tweet below right after the season ended. To recap, he announced that he was playing all season with torn wrist ligaments in his right wrist.

I attempted to speculate what type of injury he may have been dealing with right after the news broke. Make sure to go check it out if you haven’t already. Since then, Jerry had surgery about two and a half weeks after the news with this picture below.

Fortunately, Hughes did not get the Bills in trouble and no fines were assessed due to the injury.

While we won’t know the specifics of the wrist injury, social media does allow us to gather some information on specifics based on rehab timelines. While this is not conclusive, it appears that Hughes still has some type of cast or splint on his wrist that he attempts to hide under the table during the picture.

Click to access scapholunate-ligament-repair.pdf

If that is indeed the case, then this points more towards the theory that he had a scapholunate ligament repair as the timeline for rehab protocols indicate that he is to be in the cast/bracing for six weeks. At the time of this article, he will be a few days shy of four weeks. At this point in rehab, he will be performing any range of motion activities with his fingers, elbow, and turning of the forearm, known as pronation and supination.

He will still likely be limited for most of OTA’s, but he should be active and present as he gears up for yet another season. There should be no limitations come training camp.

Ed Oliver

Oliver’s rookie season progressively got better as he adjusted to the demands of the NFL. He began to show why the Bills selected him ninth overall in last year’s draft. Despite the improvement during the season, it was a surprise when Oliver announced that he had core muscle surgery back on January 14th.

Bills fans got some details with news stories detailing the exact reason he got the surgery later on. But these did not detail the exact area, when he injured it, how he injured it, and the severity. To get some background information on core muscle injuries, check out my article.

Since then, it has been nearly radio silent with little information. The only indication that Oliver is doing alright is that he made it down to Houston at the beginning of February. Based on general rehab guidelines, Oliver is still working on flexibility and reintroducing strengthening exercises, progressing the level of difficulty and resistance as tolerated.

He may also be limited during part of OTA’s, but should be able to participate during Phase Three when there is actual contact. He should also be fully ready for training camp.

Jon Feliciano

Feliciano continued the trend of players requiring surgery after the season, specifically for a left rotator cuff tear. He had noted that he was playing all season with the tear that dated back to the scrimmage at New Era Field in early August.

Feliciano is about five weeks out from surgery which means he has either just begun or will begin to get his arm out of the sling more. He will be progressing his range of motion, careful to not stress the healing tissue and possibly begin working on isometrics based on the doctor’s protocol. For more details regarding a rotator cuff repair, read this article I wrote last month.

Feliciano will take his time to get through the rehab and will not be available for OTA’s. Thankfully, he should be ready for training camp this summer.

Levi Wallace

Wallace was the most recent surgery added to the list, requiring shoulder surgery back on January 28th.

Unfortunately, outside of what Jay Skurski stated, there has not been any other information released. It is known he suffered a shoulder injury back against the Philadelphia Eagles, but the specifics are not available. Unless details are released, I believe he may have had a general cleanout of the shoulder arthroscopically.

It is too soon to tell if he will be able to participate in any fashion during OTA’s. But I remain hopeful that he can participate and be ready for training camp.

Cody Ford

Finally, we get to the last player who required surgery this offseason. Ford was a surprise announcement that he required surgery on his right shoulder. Like Wallace, details are scarce, but there is some information to be interpreted from pictures.

Based on the picture below, Ford is dealing with either a torn labrum in his right shoulder or a rotator cuff repair, both of which would take four to six weeks in the sling. Based on the most recent picture, he would be four weeks out.

Details may emerge later with the exact injury, but seeing updates such as this helps narrow down what the player could be dealing with. If he is dealing with either injury, range of motion is vital early on and performing isometrics to take his rehab to the next stage for strengthening is key. Regardless of the injury repair, he should be fully cleared in either case for training camp barring any unforeseen complications.

While this doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty details that people want to know, it does establish several injury timelines. This also provides updates on how the players are responding to surgery and if anything seems out of the ordinary.

I expect that more details will emerge regarding some of the injuries, but not a given. The Bills are still on track to bring nearly everyone back onto the team to maintain the culture the coaching staff strived to establish. As fans, we can only hope that the Bills are maximizing the quality of starters at each position. If any go down, it’s important to have a capable backup who can carry the torch until the starter returns.

For the latest up-to-date content, check out @BangedUpBills on Twitter and here on the website. Make sure to also check out Cover1.net for my draft injury analysis on prospects as the NFL draft approaches.