Week 6 Bills Injury Preview- Texans

Assessing the latest Bills injuries despite a rare injury free game report.

The Bills roll into Houston with a noted distinction rarely seen in today’s NFL. They have no one on the injury report in a league where each player is one injury away from never playing again. I am not a statistician or have extensively researched this, but the incidence of this is rather low if you ever took a look at www.pro-football-reference.com injury report for any team during any season. Despite this week’s rarity, today’s article will still review injuries from this week and impact they can have on the game.

Those on the injury report this week were S Micah Hyde (groin), S Rafael Bush (shoulder), CB Tre’Davious White (ankle), & G John Miller (ankle). As previously mentioned, Hyde and Bush missed last week with their respective injuries and White & Miller appeared to have either injured or aggravated previous injuries in practice.

However, all are cleared to play though may not be 100%, as most players aren’t fully healthy during the grind of an NFL season. Miller and White appeared to have generalized sprains based on limited reporting out of practice this week. Miller did deal with what I believed was a high ankle sprain last season. I do not believe he is dealing with an aggravation of this, but is a concern if he has repeated appearances on the injury report. White did not miss an defensive snap which makes me believe this is a minor injury. These generalized sprains can be managed well with rest, rehab, and proper bracing/taping to play the next week.

Bush is coming off a shoulder injury that by video, appeared to be an AC sprain. He was able to play though the rest of the game which makes me believe this to be the case. It is possible that he could have sustained a more serious injury, but we will know if there is any bracing or additional support on the shoulder that would signify any other injury.

With those on the injury report, the only one I am concerned about is Hyde. With groin injuries, they can linger as most strains do and are at a higher risk for re-injury if coming back too soon. There is a precedent for healthy players to be ruled inactive as CB Phillip Gaines and RB Marcus Murphy were ruled out in past weeks despite practicing in full that particular week. As Hyde is a vital cog to the secondary, it is possible that he may miss the game, but less likely as he is a starter. Add in the fact that the team released S Dean Marlowe indicates that Hyde will most likely play.

This fortunate injury report allows the Bills to go into Houston with a healthy roster and everyone mentioned above active. This will give them the best chance possible to get to 3-3. These are the games that fit “The Process” exactly; games that while tough, are games that can be won with the right game plan and personnel available. I do not anticipate the Bills to have results that mirror the Ravens and Chargers games. I believe that the Bills will walk away with a win and keep pace with their AFC counterparts.

This is one of the shorter articles this season and in my book, that is an excellent thing. Continue to check back for the latest updates and news coming out of One Bills Drive. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills and online at www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 5 Bills Injury Review- Titans

Read up on the latest injuries following the win over the Titans.

Leave it to the Bills to wait until the last second to pull out a win like that! K Stephen Hauschka’s game winning kick to give the Bills a 13-12 win over the Tennessee Titans propels Buffalo to a 2-3 record and momentum going into their Week 6 showdown in Houston. As always, today’s post will review the injuries sustained in Sunday’s win.

Those ruled out prior to the game include S Micah Hyde (groin), S Rafael Bush (shoulder), and RB Marcus Murphy (ribs). Hyde and Bush were not expected to play this week after not practicing all week and their availability may improve with this week’s practice. However, Murphy was inactive despite practicing in full all week and demonstrating that he was healthy. There is precedent for the Bills to rule a player inactive despite appearing healthy. Just the prior week, CB Phillip Gaines was ruled inactive with an elbow injury despite practicing in full. These may be personnel decisions or may be allowing these players to heal up more before rushing back to full contact.

Those injured during the game were minimal included P Corey Bojorquez (shoulder), CB Taron Johnson (shoulder), CB Tre’Davious White (ankle), and DT Kyle Williams (knee). However, only White made his way to the injury report. Possibly the most serious injury out of the bunch is Bojorquez. He suffered a right shoulder injury on a botched fake field goal attempt and sustained an unlikely injury in the process. He was observed later having had the shoulder wrapped with limited motion during running and in obvious pain at times. Based on the mechanism of injury, it appears that he may have suffered a SLAP lesion of the shoulder. SLAP stands for Superior Labral Anterior and Posterior which means that the top portion of the labrum tears; this is where the long head tendon of the biceps connects at.

Bojorquez suffered the shoulder injury late in the 2nd quarter as the result of the tackle and came up with significant discomfort. The reason why this is at least a SLAP lesion or subluxation and not dislocation is due to the fact that he was able to move his shoulder around and did not appear to require immediate manual reduction of the joint. This injury occurred as he was tackled; his arm was in an abducted and externally rotated position which places a lot of stress on the front part of the shoulder. This is also the motion that is required to throw a football.

As he is falling with his arm in that position, he has a defender falling on his body, preventing him from falling to allow him to brace for impact. When Bojorquez hits the ground, the body weight of the defender plus the ground lead to the arm to hyperflex which possibly led to the SLAP tear. During impact, it is also possible that he may have suffered an anterior subluxation of the shoulder, which is a partial dislocation to the area but able to self relocate. However, of all subluxations/dislocations, this is the most common with 97% of all these injuries occurring in this manner. In dislocations, the labrum tears and leads to instability in the shoulder. In the case of subluxation, there is a joint shift but a lesser chance of injury to the labrum. However, in most dislocations/subluxations, damage does occur and instability is present. This is also evident in SLAP lesions.

Symptoms seen with Bojorquez after the injury would most likely include difficulty with overhead motions, general strength deficits, and complaints of popping, locking, or clicking during movement, among other complaints. As with labral tears, this is not an injury that will heal up on its own and would require surgery to repair the damage. A normal person could live with this injury without surgery but due to the demands of the NFL, he would most likely require surgery later.

Despite this grim prognosis, Bojorquez may not miss any time or have any deficits come next game. He will have to strengthen the area and give it time to reduce pain and weakness, but otherwise he will be able to perform his regular punting duties as required. Thankfully he is not out of the field often and he can still play with his full ability without compensation. The only major deficit he may have is if the Bills want to run a fake field goal play; this may limit his abilities to throw the football effectively. He may eventually need surgery if it continues to give him problems but will not require it immediately; he may use bracing as seen with CB Taron Johnson.

Unfortunately, following with another shoulder injury, CB Taron Johnson suffered a re-aggravation to the right shoulder, as he has had in previous games. He did have to sit out several plays after but was able to return with overall effective play. He will have to continue to tackle with his left side to reduce further injury and missed time. While he continues to injure the area, this can and will lead to less forces required to sublux the shoulder, leading to greater instability and eventual surgery.

DT Kyle Williams suffered a right knee injury in the 3rd quarter but eventually resumed participation. Williams did return to his place in the rotation after sitting out 1-2 series but based on the injury, does not appear to be serious. Williams injured his knee as the result of having his right leg kicked out from under him which resulted in him falling directly on his knee without bracing for impact. This may have been more of falling directly on it and requiring some rest to reduce the initial shock of the impact. While Williams is on the injury report, he is listed as requiring a veteran rest day as he does every week. I do not see this injury causing any long term issues.

Finally, CB Tre’Davious White suffered an ankle injury during Sunday’s win and was limited in practice today. Reviewing film, there was not one specific play that revealed the injury. Add in the fact that White played in every defensive snap and all defensive field goal attempts makes this difficult to diagnose. This may have been an injury that he played through and did not realize until after the game or this may have been an injury that he sustained in practice today. Without conclusive video, it is rather difficult to identify what type of ankle injury he sustained. Either way, he was only limited in practice which on Wednesday is a good sign in order to play Sunday. Based on this information alone, this does not appear to be a serious injury but something that the Bills should be proactive about. This is far from a guarantee, but history serves us well when looking at availability.

This wraps up the injury review from Sunday. The Bills continue to be fortunate when dealing with injuries in terms of severity. While some of these injuries are significant in nature, they are able to be conservatively managed until there is a more opportune time to address the long term management of these conditions.

Continue to check back for the latest updates and news coming out of One Bills Drive. Follow on Facebook at Banged Up Bills, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills, and online at www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 5 Bills Injury Preview- Titans

Dissecting the latest injuries prior to the AFC matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

The Bills roll into Orchard Park with a 1-3 record and much to play for when they host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. While it is quickly becoming a reality that this team will not look like last year’s surprise playoff team; the fan base is still hoping that there are some positives that can be squeezed out of this season.

According to Friday’s injury report, no one has been ruled out prior to Sunday’s game. Three players have been ruled questionable including: S Rafael Bush (shoulder), S Micah Hyde (groin), and TE Charles Clay (ankle).

Reviewing video, Hyde’s injury was fairly straight forward, pulling his left groin midway through the 1st quarter attempting go upfield and get involved with the play, coming up lame. He was on the injury report the prior week with a toe injury but this is not something that would have caused compensation patterns leading to the injury. He simply performed a football move and it caught him. While he is questionable, he has not practiced all week which historically is not favorable when predicting whether he will play Sunday. He will realistically need at least one more week before he can even consider playing in a game. Expect him to miss this Sunday.

S Rafael Bush injured his shoulder on the last play of the 1st quarter tackling RB Aaron Jones out of bounds. He injured his left shoulder when he got spun around off Jones, falling directly onto his shoulder without having the ability to brace for the fall. He was able to play the rest of the game but was not really directly involved in many plays regarding physical contact after that. His injury was not immediately apparent until reported on the injury report Tuesday. I believe he suffered an AC joint sprain or possible contusion to the general area. Other possibility of a SC joint sprain, though less likely. Typical mechanisms of injury are similar to what was described above; a direct blow to his shoulder. Considering that he was able to play the rest of the game, but take the entire week of practice off suggests that it is a mild sprain/contusion that may take a week to heal.

From my previous article from the Tampa Bay game last year, edited for relevancy:

“On average, the Grade 1 shoulder sprain that Bush possibly could have sustained typically takes 9.8 days to fully recover from according to Dr. David Geier. He will be at day 7 by kickoff Sunday, which may affect his ability.”

It’s possible that he could play, but not practicing all week may have allowed him to heal in order to play, but more realistically, he is not quite ready for contact. Like Hyde, he was unable to practice which almost certainly seals his fate.

TE Charles Clay suffered an ankle injury that on film did not appear serious. He had a Packers defender falling to the ground and fell into Clay’s ankle while he was trying to get out of the way. He was able get the ankle taped up, continue playing and finish the game. It appeared that he got his ankle rolled up on or tweaked as a result. While he was limited Wednesday, did not practice Thursday, he was able to practice in full Friday which is a strong indicator that he will play. In addition to the ankle, he is also dealing with previous shoulder and hip issues from the previous game. He is also a veteran and requires more maintenance which is why he is unable to practice during the week yet play Sunday’s. I would expect him to suit up to be QB Josh Allen’s safety valve.

Other injuries on the report include RB Marcus Murphy (rib), and DE Shaq Lawson (hamstring). Murphy appears to have a generalized rib injury that cost him last week but it appears healed enough to perform this week. Hopefully it is a contusion that continues to heal rather than a broken rib. Lawson missed two games with his hamstring strain and while he did play the entire game, he may have developed soreness as a result, requiring conservative maintenance on it so as to not further irritate the healing tissues. While it is possible to re-injure the area, giving it rest through the week gives him the best shot to play at 100% Sunday.

Others dealing with injury but did not make the injury report: RB LeSean McCoy (ribs/hand), CB Taron Johnson (shoulder), and CB Phillip Gaines (elbow). McCoy has been dealing with cracked rib cartilage that is physically impossible to be healed yet which still limits him despite what he says otherwise. However, reports indicated that he injured his left hand with it visibly wrapped up after the game. Film review was inconclusive whether he suffered any particular injury. To note, he was able to demonstrate effective ball safety, gripping the ball in each hand respectively without compensation during his limited playing time.

CB Taron Johnson has been a bright spot in the defense 4 games into his rookie year. However, he continues to deal with a shoulder injury that appears to be a torn labrum in his right shoulder. This is evident with the use of visible bracing on the right side, he continually injures the area on hard hits but is quicker to return in the game, and the original mechanism of injury. He can continue to play on the shoulder but eventually he may require surgery for long term correction. Until then, he has altered his tackling style, he is wearing bracing, and I’m certain he is doing rehab to strengthen the surrounding muscles around the joint in order to get through the season.

Finally, CB Phillip Gaines is coming off a right dislocated elbow that forced him to miss one game. However, he was inactive despite practicing in full the week of the Packers game which indicated that he may have been held out due to personnel needs rather than injury. Regardless of reason, the extra time off allowed him to heal even more and he may not require any bracing given the time frame.

Overall, anticipate Hyde and most likely Bush to miss the Titans game with Clay playing with several nagging injuries. These thoughts are further solidified with the signing of S Dean Marlowe and releasing TE Khari Lee. This indicates that at least one safety is certain to miss and the thinning of the TE depth chart indicates Clay is playing. The others mentioned above are expected to play but have injuries that do not require treatment by training staff but could still limit their effectiveness. This game should allow the Bills to get their first home win of the season and move to 2-3 to maintain some level of respectability in the AFC.

Continue to follow Banged Up Bills for the latest updates and news coming out of One Bills Drive. Follow on Facebook at Banged Up Bills, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills, and online at www.bangedupbills.com. As always thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- S

Assessing the safety position injuries from the 2017 season and personnel expectations going forward.

We are 3 weeks away from the opening of the 2018 NFL season with the beginning of training camp! Here at Banged Up Bills, I have been trying to stay cool and sane despite the excessive heat and lack of football. Today’s post will finish up the injuries on the defensive side of the ball at the safety position. The secondary overall was an incredibly strong position for the Bills this past season and going into the 2018 season, this does not appear to change.

Stepping up first for review is S Jordan Poyer. The transplant from Cleveland spent the first 4 seasons mostly with Cleveland along with a cup of coffee in Philadelphia before signing a free agent deal with the Bills in 2017. He rewarded the Bills handsomely with 5 interceptions with one TD, one fumble recovery, 2 sacks along with 95 total tackles 63 solo and 32 assisted. These are fantastic stats for a player that Cleveland did not want back. In addition to his versatile abilities on the field, Poyer was able to stay relatively healthy, appearing in 15 games, missing only the Raiders game with a knee injury. He was incredibly durable this season despite the high injury risks that the position comes with. As Poyer is a veteran, he understands how to take care of his body and prepare for each game. Expect another standout year from Poyer!

Next up is S Micah Hyde who was also a castoff from the Green Bay Packers after 4 years. The dynamic play maker appeared in all 16 games producing 5 interceptions along with 82 total tackles, 65 solo and 17 assisted. The 5th year veteran has also been incredibly durable during his time in the league, rarely missing any games which demonstrate why this coaching staff values Hyde so highly. Despite Hyde not missing any time, he also dealt with several minor knee injuries that limited his play at times but did not signify any longer term issues. Similar to Poyer, expect Hyde to continue to prepare like a veteran and come ready to play every week.

Another player who saw time at the safety position this year was S Shamarko Thomas. The 5th year veteran saw action in 12 games but did not record any defensive statistics, making the most of his playing time on special teams. As he did not see many defensive snaps, he was able to avoid injury. Thomas finds himself a free agent going into the 2018 season and could be a candidate to come back at a veteran minimum but that is most likely the reason he was not retained as he became cost prohibitive.

Rounding out players who saw playing time at safety is S Colt Anderson. The oft-injured safety was used more frequently as a special teams ace in years past but his time in Buffalo was forgettable. In 2 years, he appeared in 7 games and not recording any defensive statistics. He had dealt with hand, foot, and forearm injury which cost him significant playing time. This past year, a broken forearm cost him 11 games and when he finally returned, was largely ineffective. As one may guess, he was not re-signed to the team going into the 2018 season. After the multitude of injuries over his career, he may see fit to hang it up rather than try to find another team due to his lack of availability. I do not even envision him coming back as a camp body in any fashion. My final thought on Anderson, he was a holdover from the Rex Ryan staff, I do not understand what the Bills saw in him as he was unable to stay healthy.

As for new personnel, there are many new faces coming into the secondary with the addition of S Dean Marlowe, S Kelcie McCray, S LJ McCray via the practice squad this past season. In addition, S Rafael Bush was brought in via free agency; a more detailed report can be found here. Finally, the Bills brought in S Siran Neal via a 5th round pick who could project to be a top backup with a strong training camp performance.

While this group is veteran heavy with Poyer and Hyde, they will need Bush and Neal to step up and provide effective depth as it is difficult to totally avoid injuries. With strong training camps, Marlowe, McCray & McCray can step up and add another dimension to the already strong unit. This is a position group I do not worry about due to the talent level, but could drastically change with a serious injury.

Continue to check back at Banged Up Bills for training camp content, injury reviews, and any other breaking news to come out of One Bills Drive. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. Feel free to contact me with any questions or content you would like to see. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Buffalo Bills Free Agent Haul

Analyzing the latest Bills free agent signings, their injury histories, and impact for next season.

The Bills continue to make moves which further indicate that the Bills are working towards bigger things for the draft. This new regime is serious and have a clear game plan on how to achieve their goals. Brandon Beane and company have been very busy, finding the right type of players that fit “The Process”. The pressure is on even more now that the NY Jets have traded with the Colts to move up to the 3rd overall pick in order to hopefully obtain their franchise QB. Today’s post will review the free agent signings of DT Star Lotulelei, DE Trent Murphy, S Rafael Bush, LB Julian Stanford, and QB A.J. McCarron.

First up is DT Star Lotulelei, formerly of the Carolina Panthers. The big defensive tackle has been a mainstay in Carolina for the past 5 seasons before signing with the Bills for 5 years, $50 million with $25 million guaranteed which makes him the highest paid Bills player on the roster. While these are rather eye-popping numbers, Lotulelei has shown he is able to earn his keep. The 5th year pro has missed minimal time over his short career, suffering only ankle and foot injuries in the first three years. His ankle injury did not force him to miss any time but a broken bone in his foot at the end of the 2014 season led to eventual surgery. He was able to return to in time for training camp in 2015 but suffered a “stress-reaction” after the 3rd practice. Simply put, he suffered a precursor to a stress fracture. He was able to rest the remaining portion of training camp and missed the first two regular season games but since then has not suffered any further set backs. He should remain healthy as the defense has switched to rotational play, thus ensuring always fresh players in the trenches.

Next up is S Rafael Bush, formerly of the New Orleans Saints. The 7th year pro recently signed a 2-year deal with Buffalo has been all over the league, seeing time with New Orleans over two stints along with stops in Denver and Detroit. During his time in the league, he has suffered several injuries that have caused him to miss significant time. 2013 saw him miss 3 games towards the end of the season due to an ankle injury. In 2014, Bush suffered a broken fibula which prematurely ended his season that year. Finally in 2015, he suffered a torn pectoral in the season opener which sidelined him the entire season as it typically takes 6 months to recover. Since then, Bush has been healthy over the past 2 seasons, not missing any games due to injury. While he is getting older, he still has shown the ability to play at a high level and provides depth at a position the Bills found themselves to be very effective at last season.

The Bills continue to address needs on the defense with their 3rd signing in DE Trent Murphy. The 4th year pro has dealt with many injuries during his time in the league but has shown to be effective when healthy. Looking back at his NFL injury history, his rookie year saw him miss one game with a broken bone in his hand which ended his season one game early. He also dealt with a knee injury that year which did not affect his playing time. 2015 saw a minor hip injury and 2016 saw him deal with elbow/shoulder, foot, and ankle injuries that he was able to play through.

Unfortunately in 2017, Murphy suffered a torn ACL in the preseason which forced him to miss the entire season going into the final year of his contract. It was reported that rehab went very well for the defensive end in that he was squatting 475 lbs 6 months after his surgery. While it is typical to see these kind of exercises being performed, to be squatting that much is an excellent sign. Murphy does have a higher risk to retear his ACL which is at about 20% higher compared to a healthy population, but playing in the NFL is always a risk for injury. Between the torn ACL and a 4 game suspension for PED use which he ultimately served during his time on IR allowed the Bills to sign him and they hope to rekindle the kind of production he had in 2016 before his injury. He should fit in nice with the rotation of Jerry Hughes, Eddie Yarbrough, and Shaq Lawson, among others.

The final piece of the defensive free agents is LB Julian Stanford. The 5th year veteran has made stops in Jacksonville, Detroit, New York Jets, and his latest stop in Buffalo where he signed a 2-year contract. Most of his playing time has been seen on special teams with some occasional play in defensive packages. As a result, his injuries have been minimal, suffering a hip injury in 2012 which he did not miss any games and 2016 saw him miss 4 games which landed him on the IR to end the season. Otherwise, from what I have read, he is an effective and durable player who provides depth at the LB position and makes his mark on special teams.

Finally, the Buffalo Bills let the dust settle and finally signed a veteran QB in AJ McCarron. The former Alabama star has primarily rode the bench behind Buffalo playoff hero Andy Dalton for 4 seasons. McCarron recently won his arbitration case which allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent due to an injury his rookie year to his right shoulder. This injury originally occurred during his senior season at Alabama and had been described as tightness. This caused him to start the season on the PUP list which forced him to miss 14 games. I am not quite certain what he exactly did to his shoulder as he reportedly jammed it and always felt fatigue afterward. My initial thought may be that he was dealing with shoulder impingement in where the rotator cuff is pinched during abnormal shoulder biomechanics. There is a possibility that he also suffered some type of nerve injury which could also contribute towards a fatigue like feeling. As this is not his throwing shoulder and he has not had any recurrence since 2014 leads me to believe that this is no longer an issue.

McCarron will be afforded the ability to compete for the starting job along with QB Nathan Peterman and the expected 1st round draft pick the Bills will bring in this year. The 4th year signal caller has seen minimal time with the exception of a 3 game stretch in 2015 in where he went 2-1 with 6 TD’s against 2 INT’s. He was able to show that he could play in college under Nick Saban, but time will tell whether he can be a serviceable QB when given a starting role.

Overall, all these recent signings are favorable to the team and allow them to chase the high end talent in the draft to build for years down the road. All of these players I don’t expect to have any injury issues with the exception of Murphy. He has battled smaller injuries over his career and suffered the above mentioned ACL tear which puts him at a higher risk to reinjure. He will also most likely not be ready until OTA’s in June to fully participate. I believe all these players will provide the needed depth and skill required at their respective positions should the starter go down.

Continue to check back for the latest articles and updates at Banged Up Bills. Follow me on Twitter @BangedUpBills and follow my colleagues at Grandstand Sports Network for the latest NFL draft talk. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!