Bills Week 15 Injury Review- Lions

Assessing the latest Bills injuries following the win over the Detroit Lions.

Sunday was certainly a nail biter! The Bills managed to squeak out a win over the lowly Lions 14-13 to move to 5-9 on the season. However, the win didn’t come without sacrifice as injuries continue to mount and will force the team to shuffle the roster around in order to get to the end of the season. Today’s post will assess the injuries sustained and what they mean going forward into Week 16.

The most serious injury of the day happened to RB Marcus Murphy (elbow) who suffered a dislocated elbow late in the 2nd quarter. Murphy ran up the middle and as he began going down, he planted his left arm on the turf and Lions LB Jarrad Davis came in and hit his elbow with enough force that it gave way and dislocated. As expected, he appeared to be in significant pain but was able to walk to the locker room with the assistance of the training staff. After the game, it was reported that the elbow had to be reduced or in other words, put back in place on the field by Ian Rappaport. As a result on the injury, his day was done. While the elbow itself is rather stable, it can dislocate just as any other joint and will still take 1-4 weeks for him to return to full function per most guidelines. My assessment is that it takes the better part of a month for him to regain full function without any associating fractures. If you recall, CB Phillip Gaines sustained the same injury earlier in the season, missing one game. However, Murphy would require greater use of his elbow to cradle the football and fend off defenders which would necessitate a longer recovery. Murphy has since been moved to IR which is the smartest move at this point as there is nothing to play for and he would not be able to return to 100% by the end of the season. He will be able to make a full recovery for OTA’s and have no lingering issues.

Another injury that appeared to be rather serious initially was WR Isaiah McKenzie (calf). The shifty wide out went down suddenly with no contact during a punt return midway through the 3rd quarter. Initial fears were an ACL tear or Achilles due to suddenly going down without contact. An Achilles tear was especially concerning when McKenzie began pointing to his right calf, eventually requiring a cart to get off the field. However, almost miraculously, he was able to return in the 4th quarter and finish out the game. This alone indicates he avoided serious injury with his ability to return. While riding on the cart, it was observed that he had his feet in full dorsiflexion by training staff. Thoughts later by @ProFootballDoc Dr. David Chao, speculated that he may have had a muscle cramp which required stretching and IV to recover. This appeared to be the case as there was no specific mechanism for injury or tell tale signs upon video review. The severity of the injury was magnified due to the presence of the cart which certainly altered my thought process at the time. As expected, McKenzie was still clearly not 100% during his return but was able to be available dealing with some residual pain and soreness. Believe it or not, this is an injury that he should not miss any time with and should finish out the season.

LB Tremaine Edmunds (back) required a quick assessment from training staff after getting blindsided by OL Frank Ragnow early in the 3rd quarter. Walking off the field, Edmunds appeared to be walking gingerly and motioning to his back. Edmunds was able to return to the game next defensive series and did not appear to be laboring through the rest of the game. This is not an injury that I expect him to miss any time or even find his way onto the injury report.

RB Keith Ford suffered what appears to be a left ankle injury late in the 3rd quarter which forced the team to go to FB Patrick DiMarco and at times, empty backfields, briefly before Ford was able to return early in the 4th quarter. The ankle injury that he sustained isn’t conclusive but may have been a typical inversion sprain or contusion that was taped up and allowed him to return. This is not an injury that should sideline him for any duration of time. He should play next week as the Bills have been running 3 running backs all season and with Murphy out, Ford moves up.

FB Patrick DiMarco (thigh/knee) and LB Corey Thompson (left leg) suffered what appears to be hard hits to the left thigh/knee area for both players when trying to run back up field towards the ball carrier on a punt return early in the 4th quarter. DiMarco got tangled up with LS Reid Ferguson who was knocked out of the way by DB Quadre Diggs, forcing Ferguson into DiMarco for some friendly fire. As for Thompson, he got tied up with S Tavon Wilson and went down injuring his left leg in the process. Both were able to return later in the game without any residual effects. No concerns for the rest of the season.

The Bills have since moved Murphy to IR and signed WR Victor Bolden from the 49ers practice squad to fill his roster spot and attempt to find another WR for potentially next year. The Bills should be able to get to the finish line with this roster barring any further injuries, hopefully finishing on a high note by beating both the Patriots and Dolphins. These past few weeks are the fears we all have as injuries can certainly derail a season. While this season is essentially done, it still is terrible to see guys who have worked hard all season end their year prematurely and not on their terms. Regardless, all these injuries still allow the players to come back at full health next season as they march towards a Super Bowl championship.

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!!

 

Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- ST

Evaluating the injuries (or lack thereof) of the 2017 Bills special team unit.

I hope everyone continues to enjoy the summer as we inch closer and closer towards training camp on July 26th! Today’s post wraps up the positional injury reviews for the 2017 season. Today’s article may be the briefest due to an overall lack of injuries, however without the special teams unit, the Bills struggle mightily! This article will review the kicker, punter, and long snapper positions.

First up is LS Reid Ferguson. The talented long snapper finished his first season after spending the 2016 season on the practice squad. Ferguson was able to take over the incumbent LS Garrison Sanborn last season who moved onto the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While there is no official statistics for a long snapper, the body of work for a long snapper is evident with the effectiveness of the kicker and punter. Though a long snapper is only on the field for field goals and punts, they are still at risk for injury just as much as any other player. During punt returns, they still have to go block and tackle the returner. Unfortunately, special team plays like this can cause serious injury such as last year to the Bears and Jaguars. Thankfully, Ferguson avoided injury and is looking to build off a strong 2017 season. If you don’t hear his name again this season, this just means he’s doing his job very well.

Moving to the next position, P Colton Schmidt arrives on the list. The 4th year pro has been a steady presence in the backfield on 4th down after some inconsistency following the release of longtime punter and fan favorite Brian Moorman. Schmidt had 79 punts with an average of 44.7 yards/punt with a season long of 60 yards. Out of those 79 punts, he was able to place 28 inside the 20, good for a 35% rate. Along with Ferguson, Schmidt avoided injury this season and appears to continue his productive career in 2018.

Finally, we round out this article with K Steven Hauschka. The 10th year pro continues to make his mark in Buffalo after stops in Baltimore, Denver, and Seattle where he had his greatest success culminating in 2 Super Bowl appearances with one championship. Hauschka found his way to Buffalo and continued his high level of play in which he was 29/33 in FG’s made, going perfect at 20-29, 30-39, and going 7/9 at both 40-49 and 50-59. This was good for a 87.9% FG completion and was perfect on extra points. The veteran kicker was the only special teams player to suffer an injury this past season. Hauschka suffered a right hip injury following the Saints game which caused him to miss some practice that week but did not cause him to miss any games. Reading further into his injury, it did not appear to be anything more than a possible muscle strain as he was able to play through the discomfort and it did not land him on the injury report the rest of the season. As he is right footed with regards to kicking, the ability to swing his kicking leg through effectively pain free is vital to his ability to perform.

While the NFL has at times been criticized for making the game “soft” through rule changes, these changes are the reason the Bills special team players were able to remain healthy with penalties. Each position has been afforded special rules to ensure their safety. Rules for punter/kicker, and long snapper can be found here. Overall, these rules make the game safer and allow these world class athletes perform their craft avoiding serious injury.

Competing for roster spots are K Tyler Davis and P Cory Carter going into the 2018 season. While I do not believe that they will seriously threaten the above mentioned roster spots, other teams will be watching in the event they are not satisfied with their special team games. Both of these players may find their way onto the practice squad, however I believe that the front office would rather place other positional players on the practice squad for greater depth. Look for this special teams unit to be incredibly effective going into the 2018 season and help keep the Bills in games if the offense fails to move the ball.

This wraps up the 2017 season positional injury reviews. I hope you enjoyed looking back at this memorable season and reflect on how valuable healthy starters are along with effective depth is to a team. This series also demonstrated how the Bills avoided serious injuries this year which led to proper player development rather than inserting players who are not ready or are ill suited for the position/scheme.

Continue to check back at Banged Up Bills on Facebook and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. Look for the latest injury news coming out of training camp, general injury explanations, and anything else that can be reported on. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!