Week 14 Injury Breakdown- Colts

Breaking down the latest injury report prior to the Colts game including updates on Kelvin Benjamin, Tyrod Taylor, and Tre’Davious White.

Not surprising, more news coming out of One Bills Drive after today’s press conference and practice. The Bills aren’t quite shutting it down for the season, but after that loss to the Patriots to leave them at 6-6 and 8th in the AFC, the playoffs are becoming less and less of a possibility. It is quite disappointing after that great 5-2 start, but this team had shades of 2011 all over it and at this point, the team is playing for pride and to hopefully build a stronger foundation for next year.

Breaking down the injury report, WR Jordan Matthews and DE Shaq Lawson have been placed on IR, ending their respective seasons. Not much is known at the moment regarding what is hampering Matthews besides a knee issue. I had suspected a recurrence of tendonitis that he was dealing with during training camp, but more may be released as time passes. Lawson injured his ankle during a goal line stand against the Patriots on Sunday and based on what I was able to see, it appeared to be a high ankle sprain. This is supported by the mechanism of injury and the fact that he is on IR.

Those not practicing today are: RB Travaris Cadet (concussion), TE Charles Clay (knee), G John Miller (ankle), QB Tyrod Taylor (knee), DE Eddie Yarbrough (chest), DT Kyle Williams (groin). There is no surprise with Cadet not practicing as he is still in concussion protocol. Miller is still not practicing due to an ankle injury that has sidelined him for the past several weeks and nothing is really known; he has been dealing with this since November 16th. He may also have suffered a high ankle sprain considering his timeline and add in the fact that he has not been able to participate in practice.

Yarbrough is not practicing secondary to what appears to be the same chest injury that he was dealing with last week. Looking back at film, he did not appear to be limited and was able to play through the entire game. This may be a pulled chest muscle that he continues to play through knowing that depth is thin at his position. Taylor is dealing with his patellar tendon contusion which was detailed in my previous article. Time will tell whether he will be ready for Sunday, otherwise QB Nathan Peterman may get the start. Finally, DT Kyle Williams is dealing with a groin injury. He was able to play the entire game and while there were some instances where he could have pulled his groin, he did not have to leave the game. The only time he was off the field was when certain defensive packages allowed him rest. I do not anticipate that he will miss next game.

Those limited in practice are: WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), CB Tre’Davious White (concussion), CB Leonard Johnson (knee), RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring), and OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle). It is very promising to see that Benjamin is out and running on the field during practice today. Typically, in the general population these types of injuries do require a lengthier rehabilitation to return to full function. Benjamin is may be still dealing with some minor pain and swelling, but can at this point be expected to play through some discomfort. It helps that Benjamin has access to rehabilitation daily and expert medical advice. I expect him to be able to play Sunday but be on a possible snap count so as not to create further damage. It does help that the field conditions will be poor which in turn will reduce the likelihood of injury with inability for the feet to stick in the ground.

White returning to practice after the hit he took is quite amazing but every concussion is different in how they respond. As long as he does not have any recurrence of symptoms, he should be able to play Sunday. Johnson’s knee was of little concern as he took a helmet to the knee but he should be able return to play. Tolbert and Glenn continue dealing with their respective injuries which may allow them to return to play Sunday. However, I believe Tolbert is nearly out of the woods with his hamstring injury but Glenn will continue to be hampered with his issue as I still maintain he has chronic instability.

Those able to fully participate are OT Seantrel Henderson (back) and RB LeSean McCoy (knee). Henderson only participated in one offensive play and one special team play so its interesting that he has a back injury despite such little playing time. McCoy continues to be the engine that drives the offense and with the amount of abuse that his body goes through weekly, it is expected that he would have some type of week-to-week ailment. As he is a full participant, there should be no limitation.

Interesting to note, after FB Patrick DiMarco and TE Nick O’Leary were listed on the injury report last week with their respective ankle and back injuries. Despite O’Leary missing the Patriots game, they are not present which indicates that their issues must have been minor and should not limit them going into next week’s game against the Colts.

As the injury list gets longer along with the schedule getting shorter, this is expected at this time of the year. It is impressive that the Bills have not lost anyone significant to injury reserve which could have derailed their season. Unfortunately, poor play derailed this season and a chance to end the long suffering playoff drought. Ideally, depending on how these last 4 games play out, this should allow the season to end and everyone to get healthy to come back next year.

Hopefully the Bills get another win against the lowly Colts and continue have something to play for despite the disappointment that ends nearly every season in Buffalo. This is a very winnable game at New Era Field; they should be able to move to 5-2 and at least be respectable at home. These weather conditions are suitable to Buffalo football, the Bills should take advantage of the inclement weather and use the run game that’s worked for them so well in the past.

Continue to check back for the latest updates and articles regarding Bills injuries. Follow me on Twitter at @kyletrimble88 for the latest updates and breaking news. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!

Week 13 Recap- Patriots

Assessing the latest reported injuries following the loss to the Patriots including concussion’s and Tyrod’s knee.

The Buffalo Bills lost another game to the Patriots, 23-3. The only consistencies in a Bills fan’s life are the sun rising, the mail being delivered, and the Bills losing to the Patriots. To add to it, the Bills lost several key players to injury today which if the team somehow has a playoff run in them, it will make things even tougher. Today’s post will, as always, identify injuries and impact they have on the rest of this season.

First up is QB Tyrod Taylor who left the game with a left knee injury early in the 4th quarter. Taylor injured his knee on the first play from scrimmage during a tackle going out of bounds. He initially appeared to be in pain, limping around, but was able to stay in the game up until he took another hard hit onto the same knee early in the 4th quarter. Upon viewing video, it was confirmed that Taylor sustained a patellar tendon contusion on the first play and then re-aggravated it, ending his day.

patellar_tendonitis2.jpg
Credit: robertsonfamilychiro.com

A patellar tendon contusion is basically a bruise to the tendon that connects the kneecap (patella) to the tibia as seen in the reddened area in the picture above. By definition, this is actually a ligament, but as the patella acts as a fulcrum to assist in knee movement, it is commonly referred to as a tendon. Falling directly onto the knee can cause injury to the area as seen in Taylor’s case. Limitations include running, cutting, stopping suddenly, and direct impact to the area. As evident by Taylor’s play, he was able to play through it but clearly limited him as it was shown with Taylor’s ability to scramble out of the pocket. With how Taylor played today, the injury may be irrelevant because he may not be worth playing next week.

As to how long Taylor is out, it is truly a day-to-day injury. It may resolve and he may be able to play next week. He may also miss the next game due to continued pain and swelling. It is really up to how he responds. I expect to see him with some type of compression sleeve to manage swelling but not limit mobility.

Next is DE Shaq Lawson who left the game with 9 minutes left in the 3rd quarter after getting tied up in a pile of players during a goal line stop. Video review shows that Lawson tried to stop RB Rex Burkhead coming up the middle and got caught with OT Nate Solder falling on his right ankle. Lawson is listed week-to-week with an ankle sprain but my fear is a high ankle sprain which is far more severe and could cause him to miss some time. I suspect this as the lower portion of Lawson’s ankle had Solder fall on it while Lawson was still in the air, causing the stress to be placed up higher through the fibula. Either way, it would not shock me if he was ruled out for at least next week.

CB Leonard Johnson left the game early in the 3rd quarter and did not return with a left knee injury but was able to lightly run on it to go into the locker room. He appears to have suffered a knee contusion due to a direct helmet to knee hit. His body was up in the air during the hit which reduced serious injury if the foot was planted in the ground. It did not appear severe in nature and I like his outlook for next week’s game.

RB Travaris Cadet is currently in the concussion protocol as reported today. Reviewing video, Cadet did take some hard hits to the helmet but none knocked him out of the game. He was able to play all the way to the end and did not appear to be disoriented. One of the hits earlier may have gave him a delayed presentation in symptoms after the game. Either way, losing the backup running back is never great. The only silver lining is that FB Mike Tolbert may be slated to return after missing the past few games with a hamstring injury.

Finally is CB Tre’Davious White who suffered a concussion during a very late, very dirty hit from TE Rob Gronkowski late in the 4th quarter after an interception. As most everyone has seen the GIF by now, Gronkowski charges down towards White and lays an elbow/forearm into the back of White’s head as he is lifting it, causing the head to bounce off the field. Gronkowski has since been suspended one game, which he is currently appealing. White is possibly the biggest loss to the defense even with the lowly Colts coming to Buffalo next week. White is currently in the concussion protocol and it is far too early to tell whether he will be ready to play next week. For a quick review of the concussion protocol, please review my article here.

Yesterday was a rough day, it sucks being a Bills fan sometimes, and it sucks seeing success elude this team year after year. It hurts even more when injuries add to the misery of it all. I hope that Johnson, Cadet, and White are able to suit up for next Sunday. I expect Taylor to be benched due to injury and if not injury, then he should be benched for performance. I also expect that Lawson misses next week as he appeared to be in rather significant pain and does not appear to be ready to go next week.

Continue to check back for the latest updates and articles regarding Bills injuries. Follow me on Twitter at @kyletrimble88 for the latest updates and breaking news. As always, thank you for reading and despite my disappointment in this team, GO BILLS!

Buffalo Bills Injury Updates- Patriots

Updating the Bills injury report following many changes & clearing up the confusion.

The Buffalo Bills are making their injury report confusing with their upcoming match up against the Patriots Sunday. Is Sean McDermott and brass take a page from Bill Belichick’s book, making the injury report vague and convoluted to attempt to gain and edge over game planning for certain players? I believe this to be the case. It is also possible that the Bills are dinged up and this week’s injury report reflects that? Quite possibly too. Last game against the Chiefs saw no major injuries occur which bodes well for starting personnel to play.

Today’s post will update my last article as there has been so many changes since Sunday. Starting off with those ruled out are WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), G John Miller, RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring). No change here; Benjamin is able to perform some light drills as mentioned in the video last article, but he still has a ways before he’s realistically going to be able to return. Earliest is next week against the Colts, but I expect possibly against the Dolphins or 2nd Patriots game.

Glenn continues to deal with his issues and should only be brought back if the team is still in playoff contention. Tolbert’s injury appears to be more severe than I originally thought as this will be his 3rd game he misses. He may be able to return next week, but time will tell. I still believe it is a Grade 1 hamstring that just requires a longer rehab than most.

Questionable’s include: TE Charles Clay (knee), FB Patrick DiMarco (ankle), OT Seantrel Henderson (illness), WR Jordan Matthews (knee), OT Connor McDermott (chest), TE Nick O’Leary (back), and DE Eddie Yarbrough (chest). The interesting ones of this group are DiMarco and McDermott. After reviewing All 22 footage, there did not appear to be any instance where DiMarco had to leave due to injury. He was listed as a full participant Wednesday, did not practice Thursday, and was limited Friday. He could be an ankle sprain that is minor that the team does not want to aggravate. While I am not privy to when the Bills have padded practices, he may have been sat out to avoid full contact practices. As for McDermott, he has not appeared in a game this season so his injury remains irrelevant besides losing a depth player.

Henderson is questionable with illness; to note OT Dion Dawkins had an illness earlier, it is flu season, and that group is together a lot more than the full team practices. Others to note are Clay and Matthews with knee injuries. I believe these two will continue to be mainstays on the injury report for the rest of the season but should not affect their level of play. They have high impact positions and need continued maintenance rehab to ensure they do not suffer a decline in health or production.

O’Leary and Yarbrough remain questionable with their respective injuries, but video review showed that while they did have to leave late in the game, there wasn’t any specific play or instance where there was an observable injury. Out of the questionable players, I expect everyone to play with the exception of McDermott and possibly Henderson. There are always surprises on game day, but my goal in my articles is to better educate my fellow Bills fans.

Finally, RB LeSean McCoy made an appearance on the injury report briefly this week. He was not on the report Wednesday, was a full participant Thursday, did not practice Friday, yet is not listed on the injury report as a game time decision. Going back through the All 22 footage, McCoy was able to play the entire game and showed no limitations with his ability to move. He may have general knee soreness, but it is unknown. It is hard to diagnose an injury or limitations without seeing what happened. As mentioned above, I expect McCoy to play and not miss a step, only making the Patriots defense miss theirs.

I expect New Era to be rocking allowing the Buffalo D to step up and provide pressure all day. The Bills are 4-1 at home, hopefully they will go 5-1 under the right circumstances. I expect a close game and ideally a Bills win!

Continue to check back for the latest articles and updates. Follow me at @kyletrimble88 on Twitter for the latest updates on injuries and game day reactions. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!

Week 13 Injury Breakdown- Patriots

Detailing the latest Buffalo injury report including why video showing Kelvin Benjamin practicing is not what it appears to be and what it means.

The Buffalo Bills won a vitally important game towards remaining in playoff contention against the Kansas City Chiefs 16-10. However, most of the focus was spent on Monday’s report that WR Kelvin Benjamin is out with a torn meniscus and according to HC Sean McDermott, he is “day-to-day.” If you read my previous article, and you should, you will learn that meniscus injuries are not day-to-day, but at best week-to-week. Personally, I believe the Bills are downplaying the injury by trying to keep the fan base engaged and hopeful. Benjamin has not been a factor in the offense during the games he has been active. Yes, the Bills do lose a potential play maker, but his loss is less worrisome than when TE Charles Clay or CB E.J. Gaines went down with their respective injuries. The Bills sure do know how to sell hope; it’s their best asset after 17 years of subpar football.

Thankfully, the Bills did not lose anyone additional following the win. Those listed on the injury report not practicing today are as follows: OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), G John Miller (ankle), RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring), TE Nick O’Leary (back) and DE Eddie Yarbrough (chest). Those limited in practice are: TE Charles Clay (knee), WR Jordan Matthews (knee). Those full participants are: FB Patrick Dimarco (ankle).

For those not in the Buffalo area, the NBC news affiliate WGRZ had an article on tonight’s news with video of WR Kelvin Benjamin performing ladder drills on the sideline. This tells us two things. First, this indicates that he has not had surgery to the right knee. Second, this states that the meniscus tear is smaller in nature and improves the outlook for return to play. Depending on the location of the meniscus tear which I can safely assume is in the red-red or at worst, red-white area. This is areas with the greatest blood supply, allowing for a better chance at recovery for return to play.

When interviewed by WGRZ, Benjamin states that he is feeling better and will definitely play later this season. I believe this still to be the case if he heals up and if the Bills are still in contention for a wild card spot. Benjamin can walk and run right now with a meniscus tear including performing ladder drills. If he attempts to pivot, sprint, jump, or try to extend his knee to land, his knee may lock up or catch, causing immediate pain and could worsen the meniscus tear, leading to a more complex rehab process. This is not a pain issue, but a functional issue that can worsen if not managed correctly. He could come back at the earliest for the Colts or Dolphins game if things progress really well.

Cordy Glenn may be able to come back soon as he has missed the past three games indicating that this may be a re-aggravation of whatever he has going on. However, reports state that he may also be shut down for the season. This clearly shows that he is not healthy. As the team is tight lipped on what is occurring it is hard to speculate what a viable return to play protocol can be for him. I will continue to monitor and determine if there is any change in his status or information regarding his injury.

Miller continues to be a non-factor and it appears he injured his ankle in a practice which has limited his availability. Tolbert continues to nurse a hamstring pull sustained in the Saints game, but with the change of pace play of RB Tarvaris Cadet, he has become more expendable and does not appear to rushing back to play. The Bills also have FB Patrick Dimarco which allows Tolbert to return to full health, but could potentially leave him jobless in the off-season.

O’Leary is a new addition to the injury report with a back injury. Upon video review, O’Leary was able to catch a pass halfway through the 4th quarter and then did not appear to be any other chance at injury. He may be dealing with general back soreness or recovering from a hit that precluded him from practice as a precaution. I do not expect him to miss any time for next week.

Yarbrough is also added to the injury report with a chest injury. He left at the end of the 3rd quarter and did not return. Upon video review, there was no instances where he was down on the ground or saw that he suffered any injury to his chest. Speculating on why he did not practice, he may have pulled his pectoral muscle which assists with pushing and horizontal adduction or pulling his arm in towards midline. He may have also suffered a contusion to the area; he did pressure QB Alex Smith several times and laid a solid hit on him late in the 3rd. I do not anticipate that he will miss any time.

Clay does not appear to be 100% recovered from his knee injury sustained in the Cincinnati game, but his game has not been affected as a result. He may be dealing with the chronic knee issue that he dealt with all last season, but considering that Clay’s type of injury usually takes longer to be 100%, it is most likely the most recent one. His play suggests that limited participation in practice is related to getting him the reps he needs but limit the chance of re-injury.

Matthews appears to be on the med after injuring his knee a few weeks ago but does not appear limited in running his routes or coming up lame in any of his plays. He was able to play in 62% of the offensive snaps and appears on the better side of the injury he is currently dealing with.

Finally, FB Patrick DiMarco is listed with an ankle injury but was a full participant. Looking at video and snap counts, he played in 25% of the snaps plus saw time on special teams. There wasn’t anything on video that suggested any injury and may just be dealing with a tweaked ankle which requires observation without limitation in practice.

Going into Sunday’s game against the Patriots at home allows for the Bills to have a shot at winning, but everyone must be healthy, the team must play above it’s abilities, and some luck will be required. The Patriots are beatable, this is the NFL, its any given Sunday! Despite all that is wrong with this season, the Bills are still relatively healthy compared to other teams in the league. The difference is when the Bills starters go down, the backups are not high quality as you would find on other teams such as the Patriots, Steelers, or Packers. Hopefully this will change in the coming years, but the Bills are not there yet.

Continue to check back for regular updates and future articles. Follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88 for real time updates and my thoughts as news breaks. 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!!