Week 15 Recap- Dolphins

Assessing the severity of E.J Gaines injury, Kelvin Benjamin’s eventual knee surgery, and discussing other player’s updates injury status.

The Bills continue to play with our emotions, winning their home finale against the Miami Dolphins 24-16 which brings their home record to 6-2. This is their best record at home since 1999 which everyone knows is the last time they made the playoffs. I have said on this site several times that I felt they had a playoff run in them; I have also stated that they are just about done. This is my fandom, living and dying week-to-week. I have been here once before as a fan in 2014 when the Bills lost to the Raiders after a rousing win against the Packers the week before. I also recall in 2004 when they played the Steelers at home and lost their chance at a playoff berth. These moments are fleeting during The Drought; as before, we must enjoy this and know that one day, they will make the playoffs again.

Before I let my emotions get the best of me, today’s post as always will be assessing injuries sustained in Sunday’s game. Thankfully, only CB E.J. Gaines was injured midway through the 3rd quarter during a tackle. Upon video review, he comes in low attempt to tackle TE Julius Thomas at which time Thomas turns to his right to absorb the blow, forcing Gaines down as he hits his left knee, rolls over and begins favoring it.

After multiple reviews, there is no planting or pivoting motions, there are no lateral movements, there is no specific mechanism of injury. I am initially stumped as to what his injury is; I suspect he hit it hard and just couldn’t play through it. At worst, he may have sustained a patellar fracture due to the direct hit on the knee, but that is an extreme case which I do not believe to have happened. More information may be released in the coming days, but there wasn’t anything that can indicate any specific injury. Losing him for any extended time will be costly as the team does suffer without his play in the secondary.

Other notes regarding injuries are RB LeSean McCoy, WR Kelvin Benjamin, QB Nathan Peterman, and OT Cordy Glenn. First up is Mccoy who appeared to be injured after reaching 10,000 yards and had to leave the game momentarily midway through the 2nd quarter. After seeing broadcast replay, he got the wind knocked out of him. Later in the 4th quarter, McCoy was hit in the backfield and twisted in the air, landing very hard on his right hip. He was able to get up but was in obvious pain as he walked off the field. He did not return to the game as the offense was no longer needed until victory formation. He may show up on the injury report with a hip injury but should be nothing that will keep him out for Sunday.

Benjamin will continue to show up on the injury report due to his meniscus tear sustained in the Chargers game but did not appear to be limited during this previous Sunday. It is worth mentioning that after the game Benjamin was asked about surgery on his knee after the season and he reported that he would require a procedure. He will most likely require a meniscectomy which involves shaving down the partially torn area to reduce pain, repeated swelling, and range of motion limitations. As he has already been cleared to play, he will most likely not sustain any further damage, but may limit his full abilities. Even injured, Benjamin brings big play abilities to the offense when given the ball.

Peterman has cleared the concussion protocol as of Monday. He appeared to be on track to clear before Sunday’s game, however he may still have been dealing with some dizziness or headaches during Friday’s practice which prevented full clearance. He will be valuable against the Patriots in case QB Tyrod Taylor goes down with an injury. Peterman has shown he can run the offense during the Colts game and can be a game manager.

Finally, Glenn has been placed on IR with his chronic foot/ankle issue which little information is known. I continue to believe he has some type of instability in that region which has prevented him from effectively producing. As has been the theme, specific information is limited which leaves a good portion to be guessed. I will be posting an article during the off-season on the type of procedure that I believe Glenn will be having and will be able to shed light on his availability for 2018.

After Wednesday’s injury report comes out, I expect more names to be added and more information known, specifically Gaines’ knee injury. As of right now, I’m still believing in this team for a playoff run. They still have to do their job, but they have to make the playoffs at some point; why not now? Like everything else, time will tell.

Continue to check back for updates regarding the injury report and any notable updates. Follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88 for breaking news and my latest thoughts. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 15 Injury Breakdown- Dolphins

Assessing the latest injury report following the brutally cold game Sunday and how it impacts the Dolphins game.

The Bills released a new injury report which means a new article! While I did expect new players to be on the injury report, thankfully it is not that extensive and overall, things look well leading up to the Dolphins game Sunday. Today’s post will outline the injuries and impact it has on for Sunday.

Starting off, those that did not practice include: OT Cordy Glenn (illness/foot/ankle), WR Andre Holmes (neck), DT Kyle Williams (groin). At this point in the season, Glenn has become a broken record in regards to his injury that does not seem to heal. I still believe it is a chronic issue which limits his availability and this should affect his off season whether he stays with the Bills or moves onto another team. As he is dealing with an illness which is most likely the flu, this will limit whether he will be ready to play.

Holmes was described as having some “neck stiffness” which is not surprising considering the hits that everyone took Sunday’s game. I don’t believe that it is anything more than general muscle soreness. Structurally, there should be no concern, but it may limit his ability to move his head effectively when running routes. Stretching and rest will be key for him to return to full function.

As for Williams, he is still dealing with a groin injury that he sustained last week again the Patriots. It does not appear to be anything more than a Grade 1 groin muscle strain. He was able to play through the Patriots and Colts game without any limitations. I expect this to be the same preparing for the Dolphins game. As we saw Sunday, Kyle Williams is far too tough to let a minor injury stop him from playing.

Those limited in practice are: WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), TE Charles Clay (knee), T Seantrel Henderson (back), RB LeSean McCoy (knee), and QB Nathan Peterman (concussion). Starting off with Benjamin, he did re-injure his knee during Sunday but upon video review, he did not suffer any mechanism of injury when he had to leave the game. It appears that he fell hard on his knee, similar to the Taylor injury two weeks ago. Think about it, your knee hurts like no other when you fall on the snow and ice. This is what I believed happened to Benjamin and with his limited participation in practice, this is a good sign that he may be ready to play Sunday. It is also worth noting that he is still recovering from the meniscus tear even though he has been cleared to play.

Clay continues to deal with his knee injury that may be related to the chronic issue that has plagued him in season’s past; his abilities do not appear to be hampered. Henderson is still dealing with a back injury that he either sustained in the Patriots game or in practice; I believe he is dealing with a muscle strain that continues to limit him. Time will tell whether he plays Sunday.

McCoy had a fantastic day on Sunday despite the cold and snow and is dealing with a knee injury that may be more a veteran rest day than anything to truly be concerned with. Barring any new information, expect him to play without any restrictions come game time. Finally, Peterman is recovering from a concussion sustained late in the 3rd quarter and was unable to return. As he is able to return to practice in a limited fashion, this is an excellent sign as he is in either stage 3-4 of the protocol and may be available to play if he has no recurrence of symptoms.

Those that practiced in full: CB Leonard Johnson (knee), G John Miller (ankle), and QB Tyrod Taylor (knee). Johnson is still recovering from the helmet to knee hit sustained in the Patriots game and if the weather was not so poor during the Colts game, he may have played. Expect him to play as conditions will be improved. Miller is finally practicing again after missing the past several weeks with a possible high ankle sprain. At best, he may be active to provide depth at the guard position.

Finally, Taylor practiced in full with the knee injury that kept him out this past Sunday. Due to the snow, the team hedged their bets and rested him to ensure that he was not lost for the season. Due to the location of the contusion, it can continue to limit him, but with protective bracing and rest, he should be named the starter against the Dolphins which despite his shortcomings, I believe is the best shot to get the team a win.

The injury report will change over the next several days, but there should not be any reason that most of the players will be unable to play Sunday. Barring any setbacks, the team is going into their final home game with a real shot to go 8-6 and stay in the hunt towards clinching that ever elusive playoff spot.

Continue to check back for new articles and updates. For the latest information and game day thoughts, follow me on Twitter at @kyletrimble88. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 14 Post Game Thoughts- Colts

Initial thoughts regarding injuries following yesterdays cold and exciting win!

What a game, what a game, what a game!! The Bills pulled off a spectacular win at New Era Field with a 13-7 score over the Indianapolis Colts!! Man what a game! Besides the snow and the cold, the Bills came out on the winning end of things without major injury. Today’s post will break down why the Bills are in good shape health wise for a playoff push if they still have something left in the tank.

Thankfully, injures were at a minimum during yesterday’s game due to the poor footing and snow to soften some of the blows. This doesn’t mean there wasn’t any injuries, just far fewer than usual. Starting off, QB Nathan Peterman had to leave the game late in the 3rd quarter due to a head injury sustained when he dove/fell head first and was hit helmet to helmet. He had to leave the game and was able to walk off on his own power. QB Joe Webb was able to take over and while he looked shaky, he was able to maintain the lead and give Peterman his first NFL win.

It is far too early to tell how serious Peterman’s head injury is but he is in the concussion protocol. We have seen a variety of timelines from other players this season with regards to returning after a suspected concussion. CB Tre’Davious White and RB Travaris Cadet were both able to return rather quickly while DT Jerel Worthy was out several weeks. There is no real way to determine severity based on hit alone as evident by Gronkowski’s hit on White last week. Regardless of the outcome of Peterman’s injury, QB Tyrod Taylor will be ready to play against the Dolphins.

Also injured on the same play of Peterman’s head injury, OT Jordan Mills sustained a left knee injury that took him out for several plays, but was able to return later. However, with the lack of depth at the position, Mills may have been forced to play though the injury. Video shows that he merely fell after getting twisted up during line play but did not appear to suffer any injury to the joint.

Finally, WR Kelvin Benjamin re-injured his right knee twice; first on a hard hit to the knee during landing early during the 4th quarter. He was able to return later in the game and unfortunately re-injured his knee. I do not believe that he tore his meniscus further or sustained any additional structural damage, but rather landed hard similar to what Taylor sustained last week. Analyzing video of the game supports that there were no mechanisms for injury; rather just hard hits to the knee along with adding in previous pain due to the already healing meniscus. As Benjamin is being further evaluated, I do not believe anything more will come of the injury.

After that brutal game with all the slipping and sliding, I expect the injury report to be rather long with several veterans requiring rest days and most guys being banged up with minor muscle strains and contusions due to the brutal nature of the game. I expect that the Bills will be able to be able to rest up and be ready to play an always tough Dolphins team that look to end the Bills playoff chances.

Look for the next article to dive deeper into the injury report and explain any new injuries presented to the media. Until then, continue to check back for new articles and updates as more information becomes available. For the latest injury information, follow me on Twitter at @kyletrimble88. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 8 Recap- Raiders

Discussing the Buffalo Bills injury report following a dominating win over the Oakland Raiders.

These Bills continue to make me BILL-EVE!!! With a dominating 33-14 win over the Oakland Raiders, the Bills move to 5-2 on the season and 4-0 at home. These Bills look good!! While we have been here before recently in 2008 and 2011, finishing 7-9 and 6-10 respectively, this team is different. There are still tough games ahead including match ups with the Patriots and Dolphins twice, Chiefs, and Saints. If the Buffalo Bills continue to play complete games as they have most of the season, there’s no reason why they can’t continue to win. I expect some losses coming up, but this team does not appear capable of long losing streaks. I may come back and eat crow for that statement, but I continue to remain optimistic on these Bills!

With a convincing Buffalo Bills win despite the cold and rainy weather, injuries continue to remain at a minimum. The slick surface contributed to this as this lessened the chance for firm planting in the ground, leading to decreased major knee and ankle injuries. With decreased friction at point of contact with the ground, this leads to decreased force through the joints. Makes it very hard for running, but the Bills did just fine with LeSean McCoy rushing for 151 yards and a TD.

Notable injuries to the Buffalo Bills today included WR Zay Jones (Shoulder), C Eric Wood (Ankle), and G Richie Incognitio (Ankle). It is unknown when both Jones and Wood sustained their injuries, but considering they are on a short week, any possible injury must be reported and managed. If this were a normal week, this may not have even come to light. Jones was a full participant in practice and while Wood and Incognitio were limited, this is not concerning as they are both veterans. It is concerning that Jones is listed on the injury report after his most successful game to date, but I suspect it is nothing more than general soreness.

TE Charles Clay (Knee) and LB Ramon Humber (Thumb) continue to be out with their previously mentioned injuries. Originally, I believed that Humber should have come back shortly after his surgery, but not knowing the specifics of his particular injury clearly altered my initial projection. With the emergence of LB Matt Milano continuing to demonstrate stellar play allows Humber to take his time to get healthy.

I had originally also stated that Clay would be able to return for the Colts game which would have put him at 10 weeks from initial injury. As the Bills did not put him on short term IR, this allows the possibility to return sooner. Reports state that he has been stretching and preparing to practice, but has not been cleared yet. If the Bills clear him to practice and play in time for the Saints game, this would be a fantastic and incredibly short recovery. It is still within the realm of possibility, but I would still expect him to be out until at least the Chiefs game, possibly the Chargers game if he’s really pushing to play. While the knee can heal quicker than expected, the change in weather and surfaces will have an impact on when he returns which can alter re-injury rates.

Despite missing both S Jordan Poyer and CB E.J. Gaines due to injuries sustained last game, the secondary did not struggle as everyone believed they would. Filling in without missing a beat, CB Trae Elston came up with his first interception and CB Micah Hyde continued his stellar play, collecting his 5th interception of the season. I would expect that they continue to hold Gaines out until the Chiefs game to ensure prevention of further re-injury. Gaines goes all out which is appreciated, but not at the risk of turning into the Buffalo Bills version of S Bob Sanders when he was with the Colts during their Super Bowl run.

Through all these smaller injuries, this depth the Buffalo Bills have exhibited so far this season is the reason why they have stormed out to a 5-2 start. While some of these players are not starting material week-to-week, the idea is that the backup can come in and play up to par in short term stints until the starter can return. The Bills continue to avoid season ending injuries and key players missing extended time. It is impossible for a team to get through a season without injury, but the Bills are pretty close to that at this time. With the exception of Clay, Humber, Gaines, and possibly Poyer, I expect everyone else on the injury report to play Thursday without any limitations.

Continue to check back on a regular basis for updates on new injuries, my personal thoughts and observations, and detailed explanation on Bills specific injuries. Thank you for your time and GO BILLS!!

Time to Learn

Updating Bills injury news and previewing posts for later this week.

At this point in time, the Bills are hopefully enjoying their time off and getting the much needed rest and rehab required to go into their match up against the Buccaneers next Sunday. This week was wild enough without the Bills playing and driving us insane. The Jets looked very competitive, losing to the Patriots 24-17 with a controversial TD overturned that could have changed the outcome of the game. The Dolphins upset the Falcons in their home 20-17, possibly exposing their Super Bowl hangover. With the way the AFC East games played out today, I expect each game to be a dog fight with no one lying down to wait for 2018.

As the Bills are on the bye, news has been lacking coming out of One Bills Drive. The team has been silent with injuries since last week, offering no updates or return to play expectations regarding Charles Clay, Ramon Humber, or Nick O’Leary. At time of publication of the game recap against the Bengals, it wasn’t known that Nick O’Leary suffered an injury against the Bengals. It was listed as undisclosed and as of today, still is not known what he is dealing with.

In other news, it is also worth noting that Charles Clay has not been moved to IR with designation to return. This tells me several things. This tells me that his injury may not be as severe as originally thought and may be back sooner than 8 weeks. This tells me that the team has faith in their training and medical staff, in that they keep a roster spot for him despite lacking depth at the position. Finally, the team has not gone out and found a big name free agent TE, indicating that they will rely on what they have. I have also stated before that I have no insider knowledge; just knowledge of the injuries and recovery process. With that said, I want Charles Clay to prove me wrong. I want him to return faster than expected. I want him to return healthy and contribute to the team as he was prior to his injury. Time will tell how this one plays out.

As there is little Bills information regarding injuries to report this week, I will go in a different direction. While there are a multitude of injuries that can be covered, I will look to outline general injuries so that you may understand the differences between each issue. My goal this week is to allow you to decipher what is going on when an injury occurs, how severe it may be, and generally, what to expect even before more information is publicly known. Continue to check back daily for new posts regarding these injuries and learn a thing or two! GO BILLS!!

Charles Clay Clunky Knee

Reviewing Week 5 loss against the Bengals and impact of Charles Clay knee injury including long term outlook.

The Bills, well, the Bills lost. They lost a very winnable game by a score of 20-16 in Cincinnati. The offense never got going, the run game doesn’t look anything like it has the past 2 seasons, and this Bills team continues to make this fan base crazy. That’s the nice, politically correct way of saying that. Two years from now, this will be a game that won’t be marked as a trap game, the kind of game that is an expected win. However, we all have to “Trust the Process” and trust I will!

Sunday was one of those games that while the depth that has been lacking in past seasons was there, the talent and cohesiveness was not. The team continues to stay relatively healthy, not losing anyone to season ending injuries. Notable injuries to the Bills are CB Leonard Johnson who left with a hamstring injury in the first half and did not return. However, the focus of today’s article is TE Charles Clay’s left knee injury sustained after catching a pass and getting hit in the knee going out of bounds towards the end of the first quarter. This resulted in Clay ending his day early and getting carted off the field.

Anytime someone sees an elite player go down with a knee or leg injury, they automatically think ACL tear. Why do we think that? Because the ACL is the sexy injury that the media loves to talk about. Everyone knows its serious, everyone knows its season ending, and it’s all over the news constantly. As you begin to hyperventilate or start cursing the Bills, R-E-L-A-X. Clay did get injured, it didn’t look pretty, and the results aren’t great. If you care to continue reading, I will help you step back from the edge and explain what really happened.

Based on reports, Charles Clay sprained his MCL, tore his meniscus, and will be out for an extended time with surgery to fix the meniscus. Most people know that if the ACL is bad, then the MCL must be bad as well. It is but it isn’t. The knee is comprised of many different structures including but not limited to: bones of the knee: femur, tibia, patella; ligaments including: medial collateral ligament, anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, and lateral collateral ligament; soft tissue includes cartilage and medial/lateral meniscus.

knee.jpg
Credit: webmd.com

The MCL runs on the inside portion of the knee connecting the femur to the tibia. The MCL allows for stabilization medially and along with the LCL, prevents the knee from going east/west and ensures that knee works as a hinge joint. When the MCL is sprained, the ligament is stretched and partially torn as with any other sprain. However, the MCL is more dynamic in that it connects into several muscles in the knee including the vastus medialis, sartorius, semimembranosus, semitendiosus, and gracillis. The MCL also attacks to the posteromedial portion of the medial meniscus. To simplify it, at various points, the MCL connects to parts of the quadriceps, hamstrings, adductor muscles, and part of the meniscus. Without these many connections, the knee would be far less stable and would not be able to change direction suddenly.

Despite a fantastic design by nature, design only allows for so much prevention. The MCL typically gets injured during sudden changes in movement such as cutting and pivoting. The MCL also becomes damaged during direct blows to the outside part of the knee during knee flexion, which is what occurred with Clay when a low tackle hit him out of bounds.

The MCL severity grades are broken down into 3 grades with the increasing grade indicate level of severity. Level 1 consists of some fibers torn with tenderness and no instability. There is some pain during application of force to the outside of the bent knee, but nothing else significant.

Grade 2 consists of increased pain and more noted swelling. There is moderate tenderness and laxity in the joint. Most of the pain is on the inside of the knee and patients typically poorly tolerate laxity testing to the MCL. There are varying degrees of a grade 2 sprain including 2- and 2+ depending on amount of damage.

Grade 3 is a complete rupture of the MCL, leading to instability along with extreme pain and swelling, resulting in difficulty with bending the knee. The knee also gives away during a valgus force which is when pressure is applied to the outside of the knee. Surgery is usually indicated as the ligament has been totally torn from the bone.

Credit: http://kingbrand.com/MCL-Injury-Information.php

Based on video of the play and difficulty with placing weight through the leg afterward, this indicates that he may have suffered a partial tear, possibly a Grade 2+. This is supported by the fact that he did not have surgery to repair the MCL itself.

To add insult to injury, Clay also tore his lateral meniscus. The meniscus acts as the shock absorber in the knee and helps with keeping the knee healthy during movement. Unfortunately, part of the lateral meniscus became torn during the hit. This likely occurred due to the direct blow along with the knee bent and planted on the ground, leading to twisting of the knee, resulting in a partial tear. Presentation of a partial tear involves pain, catching, and clicking during knee movement. While research has been proven that a nonsurgical approach can be just as effective as surgery to trim down the meniscus, this is the NFL and there is no wait and see approach. The procedure that Clay had today is called a meniscectomy which involved cutting out the frayed piece of meniscus and shaving down the area to smooth it over to ensure that more pieces do not fray off.

Reports indicate that Clay will be out at least a month, possibly indefinitely. I believe that he will be out closer to 6-8 weeks. The meniscus is something that could keep him out 2-3 weeks; the problem is the MCL. The body will need to heal and restore proper range of motion to the knee while regaining strength. There are therapeutic interventions that can encourage healing, but the body still has to do its job. Professionally, I would say place him on IR with designation to return. This gives him a guaranteed 8 weeks to heal up and return to full form. This would also allow the team to bring in another TE and not use up a valuable roster spot. This would place him on track for the Colts game in December. Considering the Bills have two games against Miami and one against New England after that, it would be an excellent time to come back healthy.

My final thoughts on Clay is that he has had several years of reported knee issues, of which I wrote about during the preseason. From observation during practice, I believe he had most of the issues on the left knee, of which he injured Sunday. However, this injury is independent from his previous issues. He was not at a higher risk for this injury as the result of the previous problems. If anything, this may help take care of the other issues by giving him time to rest.

The Bills are certainly hurting from this one. Clay has been a consistent producer and a favorite target of Tyrod Taylor. Clay should be back later this season, but whether his return will make a difference remains to be seen. I still believe that this season we have more depth than in previous years, but having depth just is not the same as the starters. That was evident in the secondary and linebackers on Sunday. Thankfully, the bye week could have not come at a better time. I still believe the Bills have a shot to stay competitive this season with how the rest of the AFC is playing this season. The Bills still control their destiny, Charles Clay injury will not define the season.

Continue to check back for further updates regarding new injuries and posts designed to educate my fellow Bills fans and keep you from the edge. Thank you and GO BILLS!!