Week 9 Bills Injury Recap- Bears

Read the latest about RB Chris Ivory’s shoulder injury, TE Charles Clay hamstring, and other concerns following the loss to the Bears.

This 2018 season is really testing our patience. 2017 was a new regime and we ended The Drought! After such a high, the 2017 off season saw several key players leave and well, we thought the team would take a step back. Though we expected this, we still go crazy with the results. I think what drives most of us nuts is how bad they have lost some of these games. They have not had a loss yet that came down to the final minutes nor have they had a loss that was defined by a single play or two. These losses have come during blow outs and mind numbingly horrible offense. Though the defense continues to hold their own, not even the best players in the league can play for 60 consecutive minutes of football; essentially what the Bills defense has been forced to do due to the ineptitude of the offense. Along with the lack of production, the Bills continue to lose offensive producers to injury. Today’s post will review the injuries sustained in the soul crushing loss to the Bears.

While the Bills did not lose much on Sunday, what they did lose was still painful. First up is TE Charles Clay (right hamstring). The veteran TE suffered the injury on the last Bills offensive possession in the 1st quarter running a route to the middle of the field. He appeared to slow down, turn to his right and begin to try and run towards where the play was taking place, but appeared to take a step and began limping. He was observed on the sidelines getting assessed and stretched by the training staff but was unable to return to the game. He suffered a hamstring strain that appears to be Grade 1 but will unfortunately cause him to miss some time. He has been since listed week to week.

Hamstring strains can and do happen at any point in the season but are more frequent early in the season as players are still ramping up into game shape. As this injury was in the 1st quarter and not the 4th, fatigue does not appear to be a contributing factor. He may have decelerated too fast and felt a pull when attempting to turn direction. Unfortunately, the video available is limited and the injury is subtle in nature, limiting the ability to confirm the specific action. This may have been an unfortunate circumstance or as the result of cumulative injuries as he’s had hip, ankle, and shoulder injuries this season along with a well known knee issue. If this upcoming game meant more or he was desperately needed, it’s possible he would be able to play, but considering he’s had several injuries already, he’s a veteran, and the bye is coming up, it would not make sense to rush him back out there. I’d expect him to miss next week with him coming back after the bye.

The other injury noted was RB Chris Ivory (left shoulder). He suffered his injury on a goal line plunge that was unsuccessful halfway through the 4th quarter. He got hit hard up in the air by LB Danny Trevathan and was stopped cold in his tracks. Ivory immediately went down and began motioning to his left shoulder, requiring assistance to get off the field and eventually carted to the locker room. There was initial speculation that he may have suffered a painful contusion but reports have since come out indicating that he suffered a shoulder sprain.

The most likely sprain that Ivory suffered is an AC joint sprain. The joint that is injured is known as the acromioclavicular joint which is near the top of the shoulder. This joint is made up of the distal or far portion of the clavicle and the acromion which is the hook portion of bone that creates the bony edge of the shoulder. This joint helps connect the shoulder to the thorax via the clavicle and allows for shoulder movement throughout its range. This allows for overhead, pushing, and pulling motions required for activities in every day life.

When a AC joint sprain occurs, the ligaments holding the clavicle and acromion together are damaged due to a direct blow to the shoulder, as in the case of Ivory. These types of injuries can also occur as the result of falling on an outstretched arm, or FOOSH injury. However, most of these injuries occur as direct blows and cause immediate pain and loss of function. This will be evident by the limitation in motion to the shoulder, pain with movement, possible visual deformity as the result of the clavicle rising up higher than the shoulder, and bruising. There are specific grades that allow us to identify the severity as seen below. While MRI may be helpful to identify specific ligament damage, a physical examination and x-ray will typically tell a medical professional the grade level. While we are unable to identify the grade level on Ivory as he had his shoulder pads on, my best guess is that he suffered a Grade 1-2 AC joint sprain which would put him at 2-4 weeks for recovery.

AC-Joint-Separation-Image.jpg
Credit: sportsinjuryclinic.net

Rehab will include rest and stretching to allow for proper healing to the area. Once he is able to move the arm without causing further discomfort, he will begin strengthening and stabilization activities to challenge the joint to perform its function and ensure proper healing to the area. These are injuries that a player can play through if minor enough, however considering the hit that Ivory suffered and the fact that he had to go to the hospital due to initial concern for internal organ damage makes me believe that this is not minor. I can realistically see Ivory missing next game and then using the bye week to recover fully enough to resume playing against the Jaguars. He may be healthy enough to return to play by that time but he may also have taping to the affected area to help provide some type of additional support in order to get through the game. There is a possibility that he will be out longer if the severity is worse than I anticipate, but this is not something that the team would consider placing him on IR at this time. Had he had a Grade 3-5 injury, reports would have surfaced and he would have most likely been placed on IR by this point.

Overall, this upcoming bye will be a welcome reprieve for this team trying to get healthy for the final stretch to salvage any respectability for this season. Ideally, most of those on the injury report will be healthy enough to return and play out the rest of the season. Fortunately, one player will not be completing the final home stretch of the season with the Bills. CB Phillip Gaines has been released with CB Levi Wallace replacing him on the roster. Gaines has been a liability all season and even in his absence due to injury, his replacements demonstrated why he was expendable on this roster. As a fan, I will not miss his giant pass interference calls giving the opposing offense an easy trip down the field.

This wraps up another post for Banged Up Bills injury review. Continue to follow 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!!

Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- CB

Assessing the injuries sustained at the cornerback position from the 2017 season.

Continuing in our off-season reporting is positional reporting at Banged Up Bills.. Today’s post addresses the cornerback position which was a bright spot this season after being outright dreadful in 2016. The cornerback position dealt with a variety of injuries that at times cost the Bills crucial games that thankfully did not cause the Bills to miss the playoffs. However, Brandon Beane realized that even though this unit was superb, there is still room for improvement going into the 2018 season.

First up is CB E.J. Gaines. The 4th year veteran came to Buffalo in a trade that included WR Sammy Watkins that worked out favorably for the Bills. Stat wise, Gaines was able to haul in one interception, 3 forced fumbles and 59 total tackles with 48 solo and 11 assisted. There was a gigantic difference between when Gaines was on the field and when he wasn’t. In games that Gaines participated in, they were 8-3, in games he missed they were 1-4 which indicated how valuable he was. However, Gaines suffered several injuries which cost him playing time during several key points during the season. He suffered a shoulder injury in the win over Atlanta that forced him to miss the Cincinnati game which was a loss. Immediately after this injury, Gaines suffered a groin injury that did not appear to be serious, but possibly led into a hamstring injury that cost him 3 games in which the Bills went 1-2. Gaines returned to health, playing in 5 straight games before injuring his knee during the first Miami game which cost him a game against New England. Prior to this season, Gaines had been fairly durable, only suffering a Lisfranc injury which cost him the 2015 season. His injuries likely stemmed from his hard-hitting reckless play. After this injury filled season, the Bills elected not to re-sign Gaines, letting him walk in free agency and taking a rather questionable one year, $4 million with the Cleveland Browns. For a player that was due a potentially big contract with limited availability, the Bills were smart to move on from Gaines despite his stellar play.

Next up is CB Leonard Johnson. The 6th year back saw time in 15 games and starting 7. Johnson managed to stay relatively healthy this season, only missing one game due to a knee injury in the loss in the first New England game. Otherwise, he suffered a quadriceps injury in the season opener and a minor hamstring injury in the loss to Cincinnati in which he did not miss any time. Johnson had been pretty healthy up to this season, only suffering a torn Achilles during his time in Carolina but was able to recover to previous form. Stat wise, he accumulated one forced fumble with one fumble recovery to go along with 51 tackles, 40 solo and 11 assisted. As with Gaines, the Bills elected not to re-sign Johnson as his veteran status most likely became cost prohibitive.

CB Shareece Wright continues the Bills exodus of cornerbacks from the 2017 season. The 7th year back saw playing time in 12 games, starting 5 with stats of one interception, one forced fumble with 2 fumble recoveries to go along with 42 tackles, 35 solo and 7 assisted. Wright suffered a minor back injury in the win over Atlanta but suffered a concussion during the second New England loss which costed him the season finale win over Miami and the playoffs. As he is no longer on this roster for what I assume are similar reasons as Johnson, I do not see him coming back unless there are several injuries which would require him to be re-signed as a depth player.

One of the true bright spots on this 2017 Buffalo Bills roster was CB Tre’Davious White. The rookie from LSU quickly became a fan favorite and helped re-establish the secondary with incredible plays that appeared to allow people to forget he was only a rookie. Numbers wise, he had 4 interceptions, one forced fumble with 2 fumble recoveries with one returned for a TD and 69 total tackles, 53 solo with 16 assists. White stayed injury free all season with the exception of a concussion from Rob Gronkowski. If you recall, Gronk gave White the People’s Elbow after a clearly dead play on the sidelines. White thankfully did not miss time, but repeated hits to the head can have a detrimental effect on a players health later in his career. As White begins his second season, look for him to hopefully stay healthy and continue to produce at a high level to establish himself as one of the best in the league at his position.

Finally, CB Lafayette Pitts rounds out players that suited up at the CB position for the Bills this season. The 2nd year pro joined Buffalo in late October after spending time with Jacksonville earlier in the season. During his time in Buffalo, Pitts only recorded one tackle and one assist on defense with most of his playing time coming on special teams. Despite the lack of stats, the Bills re-signed Pitts to a one year contract in hopes that he adds to the depth going forward.

The Bills position at cornerback appears to be solidified with CB Tre’Davious White manning one side and CB Vontae Davis manning the other. There are questions regarding Davis going into the 2018 season after he missed most of 2017 with a sports hernia that eventually required surgery. As indicated in the previous article, most players sustaining his type of injury are able to return to playing in the NFL without complications. These two players are formidable in their own right and together should really improve the quality of play at the position. Davis is an upgrade from Gaines at the position, but time will tell if the production matches.

Rounding out the rest of the cornerbacks on the roster include CB Levi Wallace, CB Phillip Gaines, CB Taron Johnson, CB Ryan Carter, and CB Breon Borders. Wallace and Carter come to the Bills via UDFA’s, Borders comes back for the 2018 season after spending the end of 2017 on the practice squad. Phillip Gaines came via free agency from the Kansas City Chiefs, and finally, CB Taron Johnson was drafted in the 4th round with the 121st pick. None of these players are guaranteed to make the roster but I expect to see Gaines and Johnson stick with the team as depth in the event a starter is unavailable. Considering the talent at the position, I could see the Bills stocking up on the position, leading one of the remaining names to sneak on to the 53 man roster with an impressive training camp.

That wraps up the cornerback review for the 2017 Buffalo Bills. Our series is nearly done, with positional reviews of safety and special teams rounding out the remaining articles. As this 6 week period between OTA’s and training camp occurs, look for remaining positional review articles along with spotlights on common injuries in the NFL. The goal at Banged Up Bills is to educate my fellow fans. I enjoy any and all feedback via Facebook at Banged Up Bills and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for your time and GO BILLS!!