Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- DT

Breaking down the defensive tackle position injuries from this season.

Today’s post will begin the defensive side of the ball with review of injuries over this past 2017 season. There were a total of 6 players that played defensive tackle this season with varying results. Those players were Marcell Dareus, Adolphus Washington, Cedric Thorton, Rickey Hatley, Jerel Worthy, and Kyle Williams.

First up is DT Marcell Dareus. The 7th year pro saw minimal playing time during his 8 games in Buffalo suffering hip and ankle injuries, the latter which forced him to miss the Denver Broncos tilt. During the 7 games he played, he recorded 3.5 sacks, 24 tackles, and assisted in 15 additional tackles. Prior to that, Dareus had dealt with other soft tissue injuries, off the field issues/suspensions, and uninspired play which led to his eventual trade to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 6th round pick halfway through the season. The 2011 3rd overall pick did produce at times while he was in a Buffalo uniform, but after he got his second contract, he appeared to shut down and be content with what he had accomplished. Due to his contract and falling out of favor by not “trusting the process”, it will be a cold day in hell before he dons another Bills uniform.

Next up is DT Rickey Hatley. The rookie saw time in what may be possibly the biggest two games in recent Bills memory, playing in the season finale recording 1 tackle. He recorded 2 tackles and assisted on another in the playoff loss to Jacksonville. Hatley did not make much of a mark during his brief stint in Buffalo and while his contract comes very cheap, the front office brass will have to determine whether he warrants additional time with the Bills next season.

Another player that had a shorter stay with the Bills is DT Jerel Worthy. During his 5 game, 1 tackle, 4 assisted tackle stint, Worthy sustained a significant concussion at the end of the preseason which forced him to miss the first 3 games. This was followed by a thumb injury which did not cause any missed time. Unfortunately, once finally getting healthy, the Bills cut him in mid November and he has been out of a job since then. Despite being a former 2nd round pick, Worthy has not shown the ability to be a starter in the NFL, but did show the ability to be a depth player in the preseason. Unless he gets signed to another team, he could be a nice camp body going into next season.

DT Cedric Thorton is the next player to see time at the position during the 2017 season. Thankfully, he did not suffer any injuries during his season here and was able to start 3 games recording 2 sacks, 18 tackles, and 9 assisted tackles in a backup role. He is currently a free agent that the Bills have not signed back to another contract and may be another camp body option for depth going into next season.

DT DeOndre Coleman rounds out the depth players at the DT position. The 4th year pro saw time in 6 games recording 3 tackles with 4 assists during the 2017 season. Coleman also dealt with a knee injury late in the season which did not affect his availability. As he is a free agent, do not expect him to come back unless he is invited back as a camp body.

Approaching the returning performers on defense, DT Adolphus Washington comes up with a healthy season under his belt. The 2nd year pro saw time in 15 games with 10 starts totaling 1 sack and 22 tackles with 11 assists. As he is still on his rookie contract, he should be on the team for next year barring any off season issues such as his water park incident from last year. However, if he does not improve his play, he may not get a second contract in Buffalo under this new regime.

Finally, DT Kyle Williams makes his appearance on this list. The heart and soul of this team finally saw the playoffs after a long 12 years in the trenches and while on the downside of his career, still performed effectively providing 3 sacks and 21 tackles with 20 assists. The big man also saw time on offense during a memorable 1 yard TD plunge during the regular season finale against Miami. During the 2017 season, Williams dealt with a multitude of injuries but did not miss any time. The 12th year pro dealt with thumb and groin injuries along with appearing on the injury report nearly every week requiring rest days. While he is not as effective as he has been in past seasons, he will still be invaluable as a mentor to the younger players and an excellent transition piece as the Bills search for his replacement both at the DT position and as a leader. Expect Williams to deal with several injuries next season with plenty of rest days to get him through his final season.

Additions to the team include DT Star Lotelelui signed from the Panthers help shore up the D-line. While the starters may be nearly set, depth will continue to be addressed in the draft and in camp to find young hungry players ready to make their mark. Continue to check back with Banged Up Bills for the latest updates and articles on the Buffalo Bills. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Handling the Hamstrings

Educating on the all too common hamstring strain, levels of severity, and prevention.

As the Bills are on a bye this upcoming Sunday, this allows some deviation away from Bills injury talks to discuss general matters, my thoughts and opinions, and review ideas/thoughts that may get lost in the shuffle of the busy season filled with injuries. Already this season, we have seen Pro Bowl, All-Pro, and HOF caliber players go down with injuries that are potentially career ending, career altering, and just plain unfortunate. Over the next week, I will look to identify and explain general injuries that regularly occur and how to differentiate between injuries and their severity.

Today’s post will look at the all too common hamstring strain. This is an injury even the best conditioned athlete can sustain. This article will not focus on one specific player, but rather educate and inform what the hamstrings are, how they operate, why they’re injured, and prevention.

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Credit: myprotein.com

The hamstrings are made up of 3 muscles in the back of the thigh consisting of the biceps femoris on the outside and the semimembranosis and semitendonosis on the inside. Together these three muscles attach to parts of the upper femur and bottom of the hip which is called the ischial tuberosity . This is the bony part that everyone sits on when they are in a chair. At the other end, they connect to the top of the tibia and fibula, which is the lower leg bones. Due to the muscles crossing over two joints, they have different functions. Together, these muscles allow the leg to extend and drive the body forward, along with bending the knee. During running and blocking, these muscles cycle through the process of shortening and lengthening at regular intervals depending on the position of the leg.

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Credit: livestrong.com

To help you envision the hamstring functioning, picture a sprinting athlete. Typically, one foot is in contact with the ground, the other in the air. During the foot that is in contact with the ground, the hamstrings with other muscles assist in extending the thigh to assist in moving the body forward. As the body moves forward and begins to push off, the other leg begins the process towards beginning to make contact with the ground. Once the original leg finishes pushing off, the knee begins to bend to assist in clearing the foot to bring the leg forward. Even during the portion where the leg makes contact with the ground, the hamstring is loading back up and eccentrically contracting which means that it is accepting a load while lengthening, which is the most taxing type of muscle contraction. While the hamstring does sound confusing, it can be, but know that without them, you’re not doing much walking without them

During times of injury, the muscle can be overworked, overstretched, or fatigued, leading to part of the muscle to become injured. Depending on the severity and location can dictate the recovery time. A strain is due to the injury to the muscle or the muscle bone attachment. Grade 1 tears are the least severe in which a small portion of the muscle tears during excessive activity. This can heal up rather quickly but several days of rest, stretching, and light exercise can remedy the muscle.

Grade 2 hamstring tear is where at a moderate portion of the muscle tears with a greater force, leading the player to limp and be unable to properly use the affected leg as intended. Typically, there is greater bruising and swelling with initial difficulty placing weight, keeping the player off it for some time. Bruising, poor functional control, and tenderness may occur during this time.

Grade 3 hamstring tear is where the muscle nearly or completely tears. It can also pull a chunk of the bone away from the bony attachment, most likely at the ischial tuberosity, known as an avulsion. This is due to this area being the anchor point, meaning the harder the muscle contracts, the harder it pulls on the anchor point, leading to eventual overload. At this level of injury, the muscle is quite weak and function is no longer normal.

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Credit: physioprescription.com

These types of injuries occur when an athlete suddenly tries to decelerate and change direction, hurdling a player, or trying to push their body faster and faster. This can also occur during blocking, trying to maintain their ground as their being pushed forward and backwards, eventually the muscle gives out and the player becomes injured as a result. There are countless ways for the hamstring to be injured, these are just several of the more common mechanisms of injury.

While the injury is not fully preventable, there are certain steps that can be taken to reduce the incidence. Some preventable measures that can be taken is ensuring proper hydration, conditioning, stretching, and strengthening. Some things that can’t be controlled is previous hamstring injury and increased age. The best method to treat an injury is to prevent. However, I would be hard pressed to find an athlete that has not sustained some sort of hamstring injury during the course of their athletic endeavors.

As Bills fan, we have already seen several players deal with hamstring injuries this season with varying degrees of severity. As a PT, I am not concerned about the long term management of the injuries. I know these players need time to rest, recover, and not to rush back. I would expect to see these injuries increase as the season wears on and the bodies begin to break down. So far, several players on the Bills such as Marcell Dareus, E.J. Gaines, Matt Milano, Nick O’Leary, and Deon Lacey have all spent some time on the injury report this season due to this malady.

I hope this helped educate your understanding on the purpose of the hamstring, why it gets injured, and what it means when a Bills player or another player you follow goes down with the injury. Over the next week, I will continue to outline other common injuries or any specific injuries that occur. Thank you for your time; just doing my job one post at a time to help educate the fellow Bills fan and realize that not every injury is season ending or dashing the team’s success each year.

Week 5 Injury Breakdown- Bengals

Assessing the latest injuries prior to the showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals and how it affects depth.

The injury list continues to grow for the Buffalo Bills heading into the Week 5 match up against the Cincinnati Bengals. While the only notable players that are sure to be out are LB Ramon Humber and WR Jordan Matthews, there are still many others that are dealing with injuries. Most of these injuries appear to be players getting banged up due to the rigors of the NFL season.

Today’s article will review most everyone that has appeared on the injury list this week and attempt to determine the true severity of each player’s injury. Staring off with players who have not been limited in practice with injuries are as follows: RB LeSean McCoy (wrist), RB Mike Tolbert (thumb), and DT Jerel Worthy (thumb). It was observed that Mike Tolbert injured his hand at the end of the 3rd quarter which led to a fumble that Buffalo recovered. It is unknown how Jerel Worthy injured his thumb, but it was injured enough to appear on the injury report. Both players most likely sustained sprained thumbs which will affect play, but with proper management which may consist of taping for stability or even a wrist brace to reduce risk for further re-injury.

McCoy continues to appear weekly on the injury report due to a nagging wrist injury sustained in the season opener. While he continues to be a full participant, it does worry me that he continues to re-injure this wrist. He has been observed leaving each game briefly due to wrist pain after running the ball. He appears to jam it while cradling the ball, leading to pain and possible weakness. He could tape the wrist or wear a brace, but this limits the ability to cradle the football and effectively block. I expect him to miss some time during the game due to wrist re-injury, but the upcoming bye week may allow him to get the rest he requires to prevent worsening of the injury.

Those limited in practice were WR Kaelin Clay (back), DT Marcell Dareus (ankle), CB E.J. Gaines (groin), OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), CB Shareece Wright (back), DE Eddie Yarbrough (thigh), DT Kyle Williams (thumb), S Micah Hyde (knee), and DE Shaq Lawson (groin). Glenn continues to deal with his chronic foot/ankle injuries and Dareus is still recovering from his sprained ankle, which is consistent with this type of injury. Lawson injured his groin last week in practice and missed the Atlanta game.

Kyle Williams thumb injury may be similar to Jerel Worthy’s injury in that it may have been sprained due to the hand fighting that a defensive lineman performs during each play, getting the thumb hyperextended or caught. Williams is tough as nails and won’t let something like this slow him down. Shareece Wright and Kaelin Clay’s back injuries are injuries that not much information is available. This may be something that occurred during practice or something that is nagging. Considering that the spine is made up of bones, ligaments, and tendon attachments, it is quite possible they pulled a muscle, over rotated, or extended; causing pain and difficulty during tackling, running, and changing direction.

Eddie Yarbrough and Taiwan Jones also have little information regarding the nature of their injuries. These may be just contusions and limit the ability to go full speed, but do not concern me about underlying issues. Yarbrough continues to be a diamond in the rough, playing exceptionally well and Jones handles kickoff duties, which affect more game play rather than another body on the sidelines.

Finally, E.J. Gaines and Micah Hyde are questionable along with Cordy Glenn and Shareece Wright. As mentioned last article, Gaines’ groin severity is unknown at this moment, the team may take the approach that they did with Lawson last week and see how he feels going into the game, shutting him down if things don’t feel right. Micah Hyde is dealing with a knee injury that was not noted until Thursday afternoon. It was initially reported that he was dealing with general soreness which has since been narrowed down to a knee issue. This may be as simple as a sprain which he needs to rehab correctly or it may be something worse that the team wants to see how it responds before taking further action. Without video, it is impossible to speculate what specific injury may be ailing him. Losing Hyde going into the Bengals game will be a huge loss in the secondary considering the offensive weapons the Bengals have and several injuries already in the Buffalo secondary.

If this game were to be a non-conference opponent, I expect more players to be out include the above mentioned Glenn, Hyde, Wright, and Gaines. As the Bills would benefit from winning every game, it is more important to win the conference games if it comes down to tiebreakers at the end for playoff seeding. Excluding Gaines, I expect all the players listed above to play. Some of these players may see a limited snap count such as Dareus did last week. It remains to be seen if his snap count is limited secondary to discipline or whether they want to ensure that the ankle heals correctly. I am in favor of limiting snap counts in order to get the best players on the field.

I believe this game is winnable with the way the defense is playing, simple as that. How things play out with the questionable players, along with Ramon Humber’s and Jordan Matthews’ replacements will dictate the quality of play. McDermott and Beane have constantly been addressing depth and finding the type of players that fit their schemes, which in turn should reduce the drop off in quality of play dealing with replacement players.

Continue to check back for injury updates after the game and break down roster depth, injuries heading into the bye, and any injury highlights from around the league. Thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 3 Recap- Broncos

Analyzing the Buffalo Bills injury report following the Week 3 win over the Denver Broncos.

The Buffalo Bills stole a crucial win from the Denver Broncos on Sunday, winning 26-16 during possibly the hottest game ever in Buffalo. The Bills played a solid game despite some parts of the first half that were sloppy. Tyrod Taylor pulled it together and moved the ball well, giving up no interceptions, fumbles, or making any poor choices. I do not believe he is the long term starter for this team, but he is what will work for now until Nathan Peterman develops or the Bills draft a QB next year.

Breaking down this week’s Buffalo Bill’s injury report, well, there’s not much to go over. Sunday’s game showed the first time in recent memory where a player did not go down with injury for either side. As I was at the insanely hot game Sunday, I did not have the vantage points that I normally have on TV. One Bills player did get assessed by training staff but was able to walk off on their own power. This indicates that either they were possibly dealing with cramping or got banged up. Considering the heat Sunday, cramping is the likely culprit.

There are not any new additions to the Bills injury report with many subtractions from last week. Finding their way off the injury report is S Colt Anderson, TE Charles Clay, DE Shaq Lawson, WR Kaelin Clay, LB Deon Lacey, LB Matt Milano, and TE Nick O’Leary. All of these players were dealing with a variety of complaints that do not appear to be long term issues. One note that I would like to make is Shaq Lawson. It was reported that he was dealing with a nerve contusion last week which affected his foot. As I thought previously, it did not affect his overall play with 1 solo tackle, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, and 1 QB hit. While he did not light up the box score in previous games, he still played in 60% of the snaps, which is in line with the other defensive starters. I do not expect that this injury will reappear again this season.

Those currently on the injury report include LB Lorenzo Alexander and DT Kyle Williams due to rest. Two veterans that give it their all every Sunday, they benefit more from rest than practice. Next up is LeSean McCoy with a wrist injury. This is 3 weeks now that he has been dealing with a wrist injury sustained in the home opener when diving into the end zone. He may be dealing with a mild wrist sprain that the team wants to ensure that does not get worse. I do not believe that this injury is any worse or is part of something larger at this time.

A positive sign for this week is that DT Jerel Worthy is listed as a full participant in practice. This is a huge step forward from the past several weeks. If you recall, Worthy sustained a significant concussion in the preseason finale against the Lions. Considering that he is a full participant indicates that he is in Stage 5 of the concussion protocol. This means that barring any recurrence of symptoms over the next several days, he should be cleared to return to play against the Falcons on Sunday. This is supported by the Bills roster cut of DT Deandre Coleman, signed last week.

DT Marcell Dareus and OT Cordy Glenn have made themselves comfy on the report this week. Dareus was listed as a limited participant. Considering there was video of him last week in an air cast performing upper body work indicates that he continues to deal with a mild lateral ankle sprain. If this injury was significant, he would not have been doing activities in standing and may have had a walking boot, creating more stability. Expect him to play Sunday and shut down the potent Falcons running game.

Finally, OT Cordy Glenn continues to deal with foot/ankle injuries. As I have said before, I continue to maintain that he has instability within the ankle/foot region due to repeatedly spraining the areas. Are these injuries that he could play through if this were the playoffs, quite possibly. However, it is still early in the season and Dion Dawkins held his own against the talented Broncos D-line. I expect the training staff to continue to bring Glenn along slowly to ensure that the O-line has the depth required to get through the season.

I still believe that McDermott is rotating through players more frequently to reduce overuse injuries and keep the integrity of the roster intact. As the season continues on, I will continue to address injuries that occur plus outline any injuries that can become common or chronic. Once again, thank you for reading and look for further updates, GO BILLS!!

Week 3 Injury Breakdown- Broncos

Analyzing the Buffalo Bills injury report for Week 3.

Week 3 is upon us! As we head into the match up at home against the Denver Broncos, I will review the team injury report and breakdown expectations for the players on the report. Unfortunately, the Bills injury report will continue to grow through the season. However, most injuries so far have consisted of minor problems that if managed correctly, will not become a problem long term.

Getting several of the names out of the way early are LB Lorenzo Alexander, RB LeSean McCoy, and DT Jerel Worthy. I address these players first because they are not serious issues or have already been addressed. Alexander is on the list due to rest, McCoy due to his wrist which does not appear to be a serious injury as he was listed as a full participant. Finally, Worthy is still in the league concussion protocol and still not practicing, which likely means he is still having symptoms during regular aerobic activities.

Those carrying over from last weeks injury report are S Colt Anderson, TE Charles Clay, and OT Cordy Glenn. Colt Anderson continues to deal with a foot injury and continues to somehow be on the roster. Clay was on last week due to shoulder complaints; this week is knee, which continues to be a long term issue year after year. Glenn reappears on the list due to re-aggravation of the foot/ankle area.

New to the injury report are DE Shaq Lawson, WR Kaelin Clay, DT Marcell Dareus, LB Deon Lacey, LB Matt Milano, and TE Nick O’Leary. Kaelin Cray is dealing with a foot injury, yet not much is known about the current injury. Clay did suffer a broken foot last year during training camp with the Ravens. He was eventually cut in November from injured reserve and essentially sat out last season. Hopefully, this is not something that will keep him out for long. Deon Lacey, Matt Milano, and Nick O’Leary are all dealing with hamstring injuries which can continue to be tricky due to the demands of their specific positions. Lawson’s injury was detailed greatly in my last post and should not affect him for long term. To note, all were full participants on Friday which indicate that they will most likely play Sunday.

It was reported today that both Cordy Glenn and Marcell Dareus will not play Sunday due to the previously reported injuries. I had initially thought that Dareus’ injury was not major due to the fact that he returned to the game against the Panthers. He most likely sustained a sprained ankle and the team is possibly being cautious to ensure that he will be available later this season. With Dareus ruled out, the Bills signed DeAndre Coleman to the roster. Coleman was in training camp and during the offseason, released during cut down day. Considering that Jerel Worthy and Dareus is out, depth will be crucial to place pressure on the Denver offense and contain the run game.

With Cordy Glenn ruled out of the game Sunday, expect Dion Dawkins and Ryan Groy to see increased playing time. This will be the first true test for Dawkins, which I believe he will step up and fill in, demonstrating why the Bills picked him in the 2nd round. As for what Glenn is dealing with, possibly a foot sprain leading to further instability and pain. There are reports that he has issues with both feet/ankles, but unable to confirm each individual issue as that kind of detail typically isn’t released. At this point, I say keep him out until he is ready to play. I have outlined my thoughts on Glenn in the past, I still maintain that the previous issues are contributing towards this current one.

While missing Glenn and Dareus in the lineup, the depth is finally there to deal with these losses. All of the players except Worthy, Dareus, and Glenn practiced in full on Friday which leads me to believe that most of them will either be ready to play for Sunday or have their snap counts limited. Please continue to ask questions, leave comments, and educate yourself on Buffalo Bills injuries. I continue to be open to ideas and will address injuries that require further explanation. Once again, thank you for your time and GO BILLS!!!

Week 2 Recap- Panthers

Analyzing Buffalo Bills injuries coming off Week 2 loss against the Panthers.

Well, that game is over. That was a tough one to watch from an offensive standpoint. LeSean McCoy ran for 9 yards and the offense scored 3 points. Not the kind of football that I want to watch nor root for. While the defense kept the Panthers to 9 points in their own house, there are no moral victories. Only upside is that the Bills continue to stay relatively healthy, once again, not sustaining any significant injuries.

Today’s post will consist of any Bills players who sustained any sort injury and breakdown potential ramifications for future games. First up, Marcell Dareus sustained an ankle injury early in the 1st quarter and sat out for some time. Watching the game, there was no injury timeout or replays showing the injury. Considering that Dareus returned to the game, it does not appear to be anything concerning. Best case scenario is that Dareus suffered a mild lateral sprain which was taped up on the sidelines, giving him stability to finish the game. Expect for Dareus to be limited in the next several practices as he recovers and be a full participant next week against Denver.

Next up is CB E.J. Gaines who was down momentarily with a shoulder injury. If you recall, Gaines suffered a shoulder injury that knocked him out of last week’s contest against the Jets. While not confirmed, it appeared to be the same shoulder, believed to the left side. This injury was sustained during a tackle near the end of the 1st quarter. While it was initially reported that his shoulder was not concerning last week, re-injuring the same shoulder now makes it concerning. Considering that it was a direct hit to the area, he may have suffered an AC sprain or possible SC sprain which would limit arm elevation, vital for tackling and batting passes down. Expect to see Gaines be listed on the injury report, too early to tell if he misses next game.

Cordy Glenn was next with an ankle injury sustained in the 2nd half. No video or injury timeout occurred leading to further review, but the fact that Glenn continues to be hampered with foot and ankle injuries is concerning. No updated reports indicate that this may be a multi week injury, but expect Glenn to be out of practice the next several days. It does help that McDermott has been rotating his lineman out to keep them fresh which has allowed Dion Dawkins to get vital playing time in cases such as this. I still believe that Glenn may be dealing with some sort of ankle instability which could lead to further sprains if not conservatively managed.

Two injuries that are not concerning are Kyle Williams going down with an eye injury and Andre Holmes with a chest injury. Both returned to the game quickly indicating that no damage occurred. Williams appeared to suffer a cut above his right eye during a tackle and Holmes appeared to have the wind knocked out of him briefly. Williams is too tough to let an eye laceration slow him down and Holmes still made plays towards the end of the game which allows these injuries to become afterthoughts.

Finally, LeSean McCoy went down with a right wrist injury during a tackle at the end of the 3rd quarter but was able to return. Last week, McCoy reported that his hand went numb during a similar play last week and pulled himself out briefly. Despite his hand going numb and then returning to the game tells me professionally that no structural damage has occurred. What is most likely happening is when McCoy goes down, he may be striking the field with his elbow and hitting his funny bone. When someone hits their funny bone, they are actually directly striking their ulnar nerve which is slightly exposed on the inside part of the elbow. This can cause immediate numbness along with the pins and needles feeling as though the hand fell asleep. McCoy could reduce the incidence by wearing elbow pads, but may be a comfort issue or may limit the ability to cradle the football.

A final note, earlier today, it was reported that Shaq Lawson suffered a nerve contusion during yesterday’s game and has begun to recover. Once again, no injury timeout or detailed video indicating when this occurred. Reports also do not identify the area that the nerve contusion occurred. Until further reports are made, I will have to assume that this is a similar injury that occurred with McCoy mentioned above.

Updates will be made once the official injury report comes out and more information is released. None of these injuries except Glenn’s ankle concern me. I expect players to get injured, miss plays/time, and not always be at 100%. While the results are not what us as fans want, I would rather have a close loss with everyone coming back to play next week than a win with a major player going down with a season ending injury. Expect further articles to briefly analyze Week 2 injuries around the league and updates on any Bills injuries once more information becomes available. As always, willing to answer questions, break down injuries, and educate my fellow fans on injuries occurring with the Buffalo Bills and in the NFL.