Week 16 Recap- Patriots II

Assessing injuries observed following the Patriots game including Travaris Cadet’s ankle injury.

The Bills are still in the playoff hunt! Despite losing to the New England Patriots 37-16 Sunday, the Bills still have a very realistic shot at ending the long suffering playoff drought. With a win at Miami along with a Ravens loss to Cincinnati, or losses by the Chargers to the Raiders and Titans to the Jaguars, the Bills can enter the playoffs with an actual shot at winning the Super Bowl! While it is an incredible long shot, just making the playoffs is a step in the right direction. Regardless of the playoff implications, players continue to get injured leading to constant changes to the roster.

The only major injury sustained during Sunday’s game was to RB Travaris Cadet with a gruesome ankle dislocation/fracture. This occurred during a routine play late in the 2nd quarter in which he got wrapped around as he tackled while his foot got caught up underneath. The play ended with Cadet lying on his stomach with his ankle lying at an unnatural 90 degrees to the right. While not surprising, Cadet did suffer a dislocation and fracture to the right ankle which landed him on IR for the rest of the season.

During a dislocation of the ankle, the foot becomes dislodged from the area that articulates with the tibia/fibula and is pulled out of alignment. Due to the forces associated with this injury along with the rotational forces in play, the outside portion of the ankle (lateral malleolus) which is the bottom portion of the fibula broke. Had he solely dislocated like former Bills CB Ronald Darby during the season opener, he may have been able to return at a later date in the playoffs. As it was fractured, he is done for the season. While on the field, he has his ankle relocated and placed into a compression sleeve to maintain stability and manage swelling. He will require surgery to stabilize the fibula with the use of a plate and screws while assessing for any other damage. As there are so many variations of types and location for the hardware to be placed, it is difficult to obtain an accurate picture to the procedure he is going to have. He should be able to make a full recovery for 2018 to continue to build off the solid season he had this year.

Others injured during the game included WR Deonte Thompson (back) and CB Micah Hyde (abdomen/chest). Thompson was hit from behind early in the 2nd quarter and had to leave the field from several plays. He was eventually able to return but would be expected to end up on the injury report on Wednesday. Hyde managed to tackle TE Rob Gronkowski late in the 3rd quarter and got a hard heel to the chest/abdomen area. Hyde appeared in acute distress but was able to return. It appeared as though he had the wind knocked out of him but was able to return.

Other injuries to note include WR Andre Holmes going to IR due to a lingering neck injury. This injury was sustained during the Colts game and while Holmes was able to play the next week, but at some point aggravated it at which time the team decided that he needed to be shut down. As of right now, it is unknown what occurred to his neck. I continue to maintain that he strained his neck in some fashion and it was not healing as quickly as expected. Up until being ruled inactive this week, he had been involved in ~20% of the offensive plays and ~65% of special teams plays which indicate lack of serious injury. The WR corps was thin at the beginning of the season; it continues to be hurt by injuries but the impact has been limited secondary to the anemic passing game. Hopefully with a better QB next year will allow the receivers to blossom and improve the offense vastly.

The injury report comes out tomorrow as it does every Wednesday and I expect TE Charles Clay (knee), WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), and DT Kyle Williams (groin) to remain on the report but not expected to miss any time. As always, there are new additions but thankfully, the team continues to be relatively healthy with the idea that the team still can make the playoffs.

It is hard to believe this is Week 17 and the Bills are still in the mix. It has been 13 years since they have played a meaningful Week 17 game with playoff implications. There are many things that can happen Sunday, but one thing is clear: this team has talent to contend in the NFL, but it is far away from contending from championships. Even though the AFC is weak this year, 6 teams still have to make the playoffs and the Bills potentially are one of them.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and for those Bills fans that don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you enjoyed your holidays and continue to enjoy this rare playoff push. Whatever comes of Sunday’s game, I can look forward to next season with the idea that the front office and coaching staff have a plan in place to execute and bring the Bills back to glory.

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

Trade Alert!!

Breaking down the injury histories of the players Buffalo acquired during the trades made yesterday with the Rams and Eagles.

Trade alert, trade alert!! The Bills are making moves!! To recap, the Bills traded WR Sammy Watkins and a 2018 6th Rd draft pick to the Rams for CB E.J. Gaines and a 2018 2nd Rd draft pick. Also traded was CB Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles for WR Jordan Matthews and a 2018 3rd Rd draft pick. Whether you are a negative Nancy or a positive Peter dictates how you feel about this trade. A lot of talk has been made regarding whether the Bills are tanking and stockpiling draft picks. I don’t believe this to be the case. I believe the Bills are making moves to build through the draft while not sacrificing the present. They are are the Buffalo Bills, not the Cleveland Browns. They share the same lake, but not the same approach. Buffalo now owns 6 draft choices in the first 90 picks in next years draft and a team that can win more than 1 game in a season. This allows flexibility to build a winner while not sacrificing this year’s team. Yes, the Bills lost some talent, but not depth, and they picked up pieces to build for the future.

Sammy Watkins has left a lot to be desired during his time in Buffalo, having missed key portions of each season due to injuries. The Bills also declined the 5th year option on his rookie deal, making Watkins a free agent after the season. The likelihood of the Bills signing him to a long term deal was possible, but would have come at a steep price due to the ever increasing amount teams willing to pay for talent. The Bills were smart to move Watkins while his value was high, obtaining draft capital and a CB to reinforce the secondary which was shown to be horrendous last season.

It has been heavily documented that Sammy Watkins suffered a Jones fracture which has required 2 surgeries and uncertainty of returning to form without complications. The previously linked article from Buffalo Rumblings is an excellent read, got to give credit where it’s due! Besides the Jones fracture, Watkins has sustained numerous injuries including a hip labrum tear and ankle, calf, thigh, groin, and rib injuries during his time with the Bills. While his stats have lined up with his contemporaries in the 2014 NFL draft when on the field, Watkins missing time is more crucial due to the Bills relying on his abilities alone in order to win. As a fan, I would rather have a lesser talent who can participate weekly with the team than someone who isn’t certain to contribute.

Breaking down E.J. Gaines injury history, which includes a 2014 concussion that was sustained in Week 16 and a thigh injury sustained in 2016 towards the end of the season are worth mentioning. The only major injury Gaines has sustained is a Lisfranc injury during training camp in 2015 which caused him to miss the entire season. The injury occurred due to Kenny Britt stepping on his foot during practice. A Lisfranc injury is where the long bones in the foot called the metatarsals that connect to the cuboid bones in the mid-foot become fractured or dislocated. In Gaines case, stepping on the foot caused the injury. In other cases, falling forward when the toes are pointed down can cause this injury. It is not a sexy way to seriously injury one’s self. In all cases, surgery is recommended if there is a fracture or dislocation. While this injury is serious, it is one that appears to be less complex, such as the complications that Watkins has had with his foot injury. Besides arthritis in the coming years, I don’t anticipate that this will continue to hamper Gaines’ production in the defense.

Analyzing Jordan Matthews injury history, he has sustained injuries including a sprained ankle at the end of the 2016 season, knee tendinitis in 2016-2017, back spasms in 2016, and an oblique injury in 2014. Besides the ankle sprain that limited him at the end of last season, there isn’t much that has prevented Matthews from contributing. The knee tendinitis is somewhat of a concern as it can continue to linger, but hasn’t caused him to miss any time. He has produced with consistency that has puts him with elite company. I am hard pressed to find a player who does not deal with some sort of injury throughout the NFL season. What I am concerned about is the extent of time missed due to injury and complications with returning to full health such as Watkins. I do not see these concerns with Matthews. While not all injuries can be prevented, it is important to understand how the injuries occur and the lasting impacts it has on player performance. It remains to be seen how this trade will play out in the coming season and years.

While there are many more discussions regarding the players and their performance on the field, I believe the Bills came away with solid draft picks allowing them to find players who can help them win. I also believe that player wise, the Bills moved players who could continue to be a liability on the field for players that are proven at what they do. They also do not have as significant injury histories, allowing them to stay healthy and contribute towards winning and building depth for the season.