Week 14 Bills Injury Review- Jets II

Breaking down the latest Bills injuries following Sunday’s loss to the Jets.

Back to back tough losses really take the wind out of the Bills sails and drops them to 4-9. This was the 3rd loss this season where the Bills had the game in hand but were unable to secure the win. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, we knew that they were going to take a step back this year. However, the mark of a good team is the ability to finish games and beat the teams you should beat. This wasn’t one of those times. Hopefully the Bills can learn from this season and transition into more consistent wins next season. Sunday’s loss also marked one of the most injury riddled days in recent memory and the most since I began this site. Today’s post will review the injuries sustained and what significance they have moving forward.

Starting off with the most serious injury, LB Matt Milano (fibula) suffered an ankle dislocation and fracture late in the 4th quarter at the goal line. This was the result of QB Sam Darnold attempting to dive into the end zone, landing on the back of Milano’s heel, firmly planting the foot in the turf. As the foot is planted, Milano is hit from behind by S Jordan Poyer and Darnold’s body being in the way prevents Milano from falling naturally, instead twisting to the left and snapping his fibula which is the outer portion of the ankle. I had retweeted a rather graphic picture of Milano’s ankle twisted 180 degrees with his heel facing where his toes should be. Thankfully, the tibia, which is the shin bone, was spared due to twisting to the left instead of the right. The ankle broke on what I can only assume based on video is the lower portion of the fibula which is the outside portion of the ankle. There is fairly significant ligament damage based on the twisting but can and will heal up due to the ankle being reduced or put back into place on the field and the ankle will be immobilized for some time due to surgery. Below is a picture of a fractured fibula, though not exactly represented as how Milano’s may look on x-ray.

Ankle Fx Pre-op.jpg
Credit: ankleandfootnorthwest.com

A lot of chatter on Twitter has been discussed over the Bodine injury compared to the Milano injury. Both injured the same bone but the severity is starkly different. Bodine will be back before Milano in regards to healing and normalcy due to Bodine’s fracture was fairly simple; he suffered a break, there was no dislocation or what appeared to be associated damage to the area. He just required surgery to set the bone and stabilize it in order to heal. Milano’s injury was more severe due to the corresponding ligament damage in the area. He will be immobilized and non-weightbearing post surgery, but as a result of the immobilization with the ligament damage, the ankle will become very tight due to the scarring down of the healing ligaments. This limited range of motion this will require further stretching and rehab interventions to address the tightness coming out of the surgery to regain the mobility required for his position. However, the timelines are still similar with rehab and recovery with the difference being weeks vs months in regards to return in comparison to Bodine vs Milano. I still expect Milano to take between 6-9 months to fully recover, but I’ll take the low side of that recovery which makes him possibly ready to participate in OTA’s.

The most comparable Bills injury is that of RB Travaris Cadet who suffered a similar injury late last year but was able to return in time for training camp. The only difference between the two players is that Cadet was a fringe roster player buried on the RB depth chart and couldn’t make the team. However, he was able to return to full health as evidence in his participation in training camp.

The other significant injury is RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring). Shady suffered a hamstring strain during the first offensive series against the Jets and was initially questionable to return, later downgraded to out. He appeared to pull his hamstring on a 6 yard gain right before the first Bills TD by QB Josh Allen. There was not anything specific regarding the injury; he did cut hard to his right before taking a step forward and going down. He was observed at one point running on the sidelines and cutting to test it out, but it appeared that he was not ready to return Sunday.

Hamstrings are tricky because they range in severity and affect each position differently. With McCoy’s skill set, as poor as it’s been this year, that hamstring is still more vital to his abilities than let’s say an offensive lineman. The veteran running back has since been listed as day-to-day by the team and has had an MRI to determine severity. This tells me that this is most likely a moderate Grade 1 strain. Yes I am splitting hairs here but they performed an MRI which in my observation is only reserved if the physical assessment is not matching up with typical physical examination. Day-to-day indicates that he will be limited with the possibility of playing next Sunday. However, we have seen this wording used in the past and interpreted to eventually missing some time. Typically we are not seeing players who suffer a strain come back this quickly.  But since there is a muscle tear as all strains are classified, once he rests, the muscle does tighten up and the inflammation process begins which limits his abilities. I’m going to be conservative and say he misses next week against the Lions because it’s a game that doesn’t mean anything and Shady has been absolutely been beat up this year, so a week off will only help.

Other players sustaining injuries include RB Chris Ivory (shoulder), WR Robert Foster (right thigh) WR Isaiah McKenzie (left ankle) OL Jordan Mills (left knee), CB Levi Wallace (left ankle), CB Ryan Lewis (concussion), and K Stephen Hauschka (hip/back). Ivory suffered a left shoulder injury running through the linebackers and secondary, landing hard on his left shoulder after being taken down for an 8 yard gain, appearing to favor his left shoulder coming off. If you recall, he suffered what I believed to be a left AC joint sprain back in Week 9 during a failed goal line plunge. He may have aggravated this injury again as he was slowed down and then fell hard to the turf onto the left shoulder and potentially re-spraining the area. He may also be another guy who misses a week, but he would be more likely to play Sunday than McCoy. Overall, AC joint sprains heal on their own with rehab and rest and only require surgery in the event that there is significant trauma to the area.

Foster and McKenzie got banged up on back to back plays at the end of the first half. Upon video review, McKenzie landed awkwardly on his left foot, appearing to tweak his ankle trying to haul in a pass from QB Josh Allen; this occurred with 1:26 left in the 2nd quarter. He was able to return and finish out the game. I would suspect this is nothing more than at most a mild ankle sprain that will may end up on the injury report but should not slow him for next Sunday as he was able to return very quickly after the injury. He did come into the game questionable with a toe injury but this does not appear to be related to the injury he suffered Sunday.

As for Foster, he got hurt on the very next play after hauling in a 17 yard pass from Allen before taking a very hard shot into his right thigh area that drove him out of bounds. This injury appears to be a contusion at worst as he was able to return quickly. He may be dealing with some soreness and may be limited in practice Wednesday, but this also appears to be an injury that should not keep him out Sunday as he has become a vital piece to the limited WR corps.

OL Jordan Mills suffered a left knee injury performing what appeared to be a chop block though he was withering in pain immediately after the play which required training staff to assess his knee. He was able to return the next offensive series and finish out the game. My best assessment is that he came down on his knee hard and he suffered a mild contusion. Mills has had several injuries similar to this this past season in where he goes down, needs to come off, and then quickly returns. I can’t even classify this as an injury per se, sometimes things hurt when you hit a certain way. No concerns for next Sunday.

CB Ryan Lewis suffered a blow to the head which was later diagnosed as a concussion late in the 2nd quarter. We have seen most of the younger players return from concussions quicker than older players such as QB Derek Anderson, but each concussion continues to be unique and only time will tell how Lewis responds while in the concussion protocol. Far too early to tell whether he will be available Sunday.

CB Levi Wallace suffered an odd looking left ankle injury early in the 3rd quarter. He began to suddenly stop and planted hard on his left leg, the ankle buckled as he attempted to pivot and assisted in taking down the ball carrier. I do not believe that he suffered any major injury to the area, coming off may have been more precaution to further assess the injury after the play. He was able to return after several plays and finish out the game. With his stellar play this year, we can not afford to lose anymore players in the secondary in order to finish this season. He should be available for Sunday.

Finally, K Stephen Hauschka (low back/hip) suffered a cheapest of cheap shots by Jets DE Henry Anderson after the blocked FG on the last play in the 2nd quarter. Hauschka was blindsided when he got hit, unfortunately he was unable to react properly and came down hard on his right hip and potentially jarring his back. It was reported that he had x-rays to assess for any damage but based on the hit, it appears as though he suffered a hip pointer injury. An injury such as this is basically a bruise to the bony portion of the hip that is about where most of our pants sit at on our waist. The reason this is so painful is because there are so many muscles that attach to this area which in turn affect how the core muscles perform along with the hip musculature especially with him being a right footed kicker.

The blindside hit clearly affected his ability to kick as he missed a FG try later on in the game and appeared to be limping at times afterward. This is an injury that does not appear to be long term nor should affect him next week due to the limited need of his position. We have also not had any reports that kickers were being brought in which indicates that this is not a severe issue which should make him available for Sunday.

Overall, a very rough day from an injury standpoint. The only silver lining is that we are out of the playoff race which makes these injuries hurt less. The benefit to these injuries now is that all these won’t be long term and allow all to be ready by training camp barring any setbacks or new injuries over the next several weeks.

As a result of all these injuries, the team will have some new faces in the starting lineup. LB Julian Stanford will be starting in place of Milano, RB Marcus Murphy may get the start if Ivory can’t go and RB Keith Ford may be brought up from the practice squad to backup Murphy. This is the time of year that is great for the front office to find out who else they want to keep for next year by seeing how they do in game action now. We know this roster will have more turnover next year; might as well get familiar with some new faces with the idea that they are here next training camp.

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 12 Bills Injury Review- Jaguars

Read up on the latest Bills injury news following Sunday’s win over the Jaguars.

The Bills are still in the hunt! With a 4-7 record, they still manage to stave off playoff elimination for another week with a thrilling 24-21 win over the reeling Jacksonville Jaguars. While 4-7 doesn’t sound like things are going well, there are positives to take away from this game and so far, the season. I do not believe that the Bills will make the playoffs even with the possibility that they win out. Having a strong finish to the season along with the development of QB Josh Allen, LB Tremaine Edmunds, and the improving offensive play calling allows the Bills to head into 2019 with lots of tools at their disposal and allows them to take that next step forward. However, as with every post, we will review the injuries sustained during Sunday’s win.

First up is CB Lafayette Pitts (concussion). The veteran corner suffered a concussion early in the 1st quarter on a punt return. He collided with WR Dede Westbrook and began stumbling off the field, initially ruled questionable, eventually downgraded to out before being placed in the concussion protocol. Like QB Derek Anderson, LB’s Matt Milano & Tremaine Edmunds, Pitts must pass through the protocol in order to be cleared for Sunday. The only information we have is that he is in protocol but not how severe this injury is. As always, we are unable to assess severity by video alone. This week’s practice will identify whether he will be available come Sunday.

Next up is G John Miller (oblique). The veteran O-lineman suffered what has since been described as an oblique strain. Quick reminder, a strain is an injury to the muscle itself which in turn affects movement. He was injured late in the 2nd quarter and was unable to return. There was not one particular play which identifies the strain which makes it difficult to diagnose severity.

As this is his oblique, this is a part of his abdominal muscles positioned on the outside portion next to the “six pack” we are all know. They are positioned on both sides connecting to the xiphoid process which is the pointed bottom portion of the sternum and connect down to the upper portions of the hip including the iliac crest, the bony portion of where our waists are located and about where most people’s pants sit. There are internal and external obliques but we would not really be able to identify which obliques he injured nor is it important to this discussion. Due to not identifying which play he suffered this injury on also limits knowing which side is ailing.

All these abdominal muscles make up what is known as the core. These muscles provide protection to the inner organs and function to flex and rotate the trunk. As he is on the offensive line, bending forward, twisting his upper body, and pushing against large humans while staying upright takes an immense amount of strength. Having an injury to this area would make his position very difficult to perform. It is also too soon to tell how severe this injury is and whether he will be available Sunday until he goes through this week of practice.

Finally, WR Robert Foster (head/neck). The rookie receiver suffered a brutal hit to his head/neck region catching a key pass to move the chains. He was forced to leave the game briefly but was able to return later. While he was able to return, this does not mean he’s totally clear from injury. He did get a hard hit up on the head/left shoulder area hauling in the catch. He could have lingering neck pain from this hit but according to media reports, he is not limited nor appearing on the injury report at this time.

Others coming off injury included: QB Josh Allen (elbow), DE Shaq Lawson (elbow), DE Trent Murphy (knee), and C Russell Bodine (shoulder). All appeared to play effective despite their recent injuries. Allen did not appear to be limited in any fashion, though still wearing a protective brace on his right elbow. We all saw how Lawson fought off RB Leonard Fournette indicating his elbow injury did not appear to hamper his abilities to fight or play. Finally, Bodine was observed to wear some type of neoprene compression sleeve up on his right shoulder which may indicate the side of his injury but without further information, we can only speculate that this appears to be minor such as a mild AC joint sprain or rotator cuff contusion. To note, this is not an item that he appears to have been wearing in previous games which further supports which shoulder is injured and the type of injury.

Those still working back from injury include TE Charles Clay (hamstring), QB Derek Anderson (concussion), and CB Taron Johnson (shoulder). All of these injuries have been well documented in past articles if you would like to read further.

Regrettably, as the season begins winding down, we will see injuries that are not that severe but could cause players to miss several weeks go straight to IR rather than try to return so that the front office can get guys who they like on a longer tryout in preparation for next season. Expect that after each game, injured players begin moving to IR rather than clogging up the injury report and roster spots.

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!!

Week 10 Bills Injury Review- Jets

Analyzing the latest Bills injuries following the beat down of the Jets and how the roster looks going into the bye.

This team, one week you’re ready to swear them off for good, next week, can’t get enough. What a complete win by the Bills over the Jets 41-10 to move to 3-7 sliding into the much needed bye week! There are so many positives coming out Sunday’s game, I will leave that to the pundits who know football more than I do to diagram the X’s and O’s. It was a fun win and reassures me that there is talent on the team, the coaching staff does have a plan, and hopefully next year they begin to bring personnel in to turn their grand plans into solid results. However, I am always here to assess the injuries sustained in the blowout and how they affect the Bills going into the Jaguars game two weeks from now.

Going in chronological order of injuries, starting off with WR Robert Foster (thumb). The rookie wide out sustained some type of left thumb injury early in the 1st quarter which required an assessment by trainers. At one point he was questionable to return, eventually returning to haul a huge pass from QB Matt Barkley in the 3rd quarter and finish with 105 yards on the day. As to the specific injury, he may have suffered a dislocated thumb.  He was observed going to the locker room with a trainer stabilizing the left hand at the carpometacarpal joint which is the lower portion of the thumb that connects to the wrist. While that does sound nasty, it is relatively minor. My guess is he somehow injured it on the fake punt play, it appeared he may have hit his thumb against a Jets defender coming down with the ball or he suffered it where there is no video available. In the event of a thumb dislocation, the thumb would be reduced and put back into place, he would be fitted with a thumb spica which is a small brace which would allow him some mobility to the area but reduce further injury. Foster was wearing gloves on both of his hands which prevent us from identifying if there is bracing under for support next time we got a close up. As he was able to return to the game, the week off should be good enough to allow him to heal effectively.

DE Jerry Hughes suffered a right knee injury during a tackle in the backfield and was able to walk off midway through the 2nd quarter. Upon review, he was pivoting up on his toe and rotating to the left, the mechanism suggested a minor MCL sprain but Hughes was observed jumping around and shaking his knee out, also grabbing at the front of the knee. He also did come down hard on the knee which then we are considering a contusion to the area which would explain the limping. Either way, he was able to return and continue to provide pressure on QB Josh McCown all day. The injury appeared to be minor and something that does not concern me moving forward.

CB Taron Johnson (shoulder) exited the game once again midway in the 2nd quarter and did not return. It appears that he suffered a re-aggravation of his right shoulder injury he has been dealing with all season. It is quite possible he subluxed the shoulder once again despite bracing to the affected area, though I was not able to see him wearing it Sunday. He suffered the injury on a hard tackle midway through the second quarter, tackling the offensive player with his left shoulder, and coming down hard on his right. After the play he was able to move it around, giving several high fives after shaking it out briefly. Interestingly, despite the upbeat activity after the play, Johnson did not return to the game which makes me suspect a subluxation as there is already laxity in the joint from previous injury. This means that less force is required to disrupt the joint, leading to easier and easier injures. This is something that he has experienced previously and may require rest and rehab in order to get ready for Week 12. It may be realistic that the Bills shut him down later this season if he continues to re-injure the area so that he can have surgery and be ready for OTA’s.

OG John Miller suffered what appeared to be a right knee injury on the scoring play by WR Zay Jones late in the 3rd quarter. Video is limited but he was pancaked and rolled back onto his own leg, appearing to twist his knee going down. He was able to walk off with a minor limp but yet another injury that does not appear to be serious. In the event that he needs to sit out any time, the coaching staff have been working in additional lineman to find the right scheme fits to spring the running game which appeared to be the case Sunday.

The most serious injury of the day is LB Matt Milano (head). The stalwart linebacker suffered a hard hit early in the 4th quarter that snapped his neck to the left upon contact with Milano going down instantly. It is unknown whether he lost consciousness but he was eventually able to stand up and enter the medical tent. On broadcast and initially getting up, he was favoring his left arm which may indicate that he suffered a stinger based on how he hit and the angle of his head/neck upon impact, but the more concerning injury is the blow to the head. He was eventually brought to the locker room for further evaluation but looking at video, there is cause for concern with a concussion. Whether he actually sustained one is not known yet, but in the event that he did, he will enter the concussion protocol as QB Derek Anderson is currently working through. Time will tell how he responds and hopefully he is cleared as he is having another standout season after a stellar rookie campaign.

Those that were questionable today going into the game were LB Tremaine Edmunds (concussion) and WR Andre Holmes (neck). Both appeared to play with full effectiveness and did not appear to be limited in their availability during Sunday’s win. I do not anticipate that they will continue to deal with their recent complaints and use the bye to rest up.

Overall, the Bills are in good shape going into the bye. While they are missing a lot of starters now, everyone with the exception of QB Derek Anderson appear to be ready to come back 100%. After the performance of QB Matt Barkley, there is question whether he should continue playing or to hand the reins over to QB Josh Allen. If Allen is 100%, play him and see what he can do. If there is any lingering issues which are possible considering the injury, rest him until he has no complaints or concerns. Barkley will eventually get figured out by opposing defenses which supports the idea that Allen should start, but at least the Bills have options moving forward. Personally, I would like to see Barkley or Allen starting Week 12 against the Jaguars, Anderson tutoring Allen as the 3rd QB, and QB Nathan Peterman cut and brought back on the practice squad to develop and be available if things go south.

As a fan, I am looking forward to having a week off from football. I do love the Bills, but they are mentally fatiguing at times and we all need rest. I suggest you all do the same. Over here at Banged Up Bills, continue to look for new content to help gear up for the remainder of the season. Feel free to ask questions or engage in discussions, I want you, the reader, to learn and understand these injuries so that you are a more educated fan and not a mindless lemming that is confused by clueless media reports regarding the health of the Buffalo Bills.

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