2020 Week 13 Bills Injury Review- 49ers

What happened to Jon Feliciano? Updates on Cody Ford and Isaiah Hodgins

The Bills regime and team as a whole continue to break down barriers and set new standards year by year. The first Bills Monday Night Football win in the 21st century, first since 1999, this time over the San Francisco 49ers 34-24. It seems as though every time there is a stat line that the Bills haven’t accomplished something in a while, the Bills set it as a goal and in most cases, win! It almost seems like Sean McDermott has the proverbial carrot in front of the team, always chasing, never satisfied. 

On top of the team stacking wins, the team continues to avoid serious injury with a flurry of activity early in the game before things calmed down later. Below are the injury highlights and updates on several surgeries over the past week.

WR Cole Beasley (concussion check)

Beasley took a hard hit to the head while hauling in a 31-yard pass in the first quarter. He was slightly slow to get up and returned to the sidelines where he was evaluated for a concussion. Thankfully he did not have any symptoms as he quickly passed through the screening and returned to the field to complete a career day in receiving yards. 

The loss of Beasley underneath would have hurt the Bills as they continued to focus on different aspects of the offense to keep the defense guessing. Even with delayed onset of concussion symptoms, it would have been known by now if Beasley suffered one as he would have been announced to be in the concussion protocol during yesterday’s press conference. Thankfully, he appears to be alright.

RB Devin Singletary (Right knee)

Singletary required medical attention shortly after Beasley went in for his concussion check with a run up the left side with 13:08 left in the 1st quarter. It isn’t clear what Singletary did to his knee, but his right knee was directly hit by Jimmie Ward, leading to Singletary missing several plays. 

He was able to return quickly and play the majority of snaps for the remainder of the game signifying that this was not an injury to be concerned about. He was likely pressed into greater service due to Zack Moss’s fumble, but if there was an issue, I believe the team would have played Moss more to ensure Singletary’s health. I’m not certain that Singletary even shows up on the injury report this week though it is possible with how the team has reported several injuries this year.

RB Zack Moss (Right knee)

Right after Singletary went out, Moss followed behind with his fumble that was initially reviewed but eventually overturned. I had initially thought that he suffered a possible concussion as he got a shot to the head while going down. However, he got up and was walking with some discomfort to the sidelines before Singletary returned. Upon review, the outside of Moss’s right knee was hit as he was going down which explains the discomfort walking to the sidelines. 

Moss eventually was able to return to the game though his lack of play was more due to his fumbling issues in the end zone rather than injury. Based on video, the right knee injury appears to be a contusion or at worst a minor MCL sprain. He was able to play through it and did not have any evidence of bracing on the area later in the game. He is also another one that I wouldn’t expect to be on the injury report, but if he is, this instance may be the reason.

G Jon Feliciano (Left leg/knee)

Feliciano went down with a knee injury with 10:12 left in the 3rd quarter. During the play, he fell forward, the left leg appears to disappear into a pile of bodies before he comes out laying on his right side. There was nothing to suggest that he suffered any injury until trainers began tending to his brace. He missed the rest of the series which resulted in the Isaiah McKenzie touchdown before returning.

Feliciano played up until the 4th quarter following the Gabriel Davis touchdown, leaving the field to be replaced by Brian Winters. Looking at the film, there is nothing to suggest that he suffered a further injury after he returned the first time. Going back to look at the original play again in what I’ll refer to as the “Madden view”, his left thigh did get struck by Kevin Givens which could explain why the bracing needed adjusting. To note, this did take me many viewings with many more slowed down to catch this.

It’s possible he could have a contusion that led to the muscle tightening up as the game progressed, but it’s also possible the game began to tilt more in favor of the Bills and they were able to sub Winters in for playing time. Considering Feliciano was mentioned in Tuesday’s press conference, this is something the team acknowledged and it’s possible he appears on the injury report with a quad or knee injury. However, this appears something he can play through and is minor unless he has multiple DNP’s this week indicating a greater severity than originally appears.

Other injury thoughts:

LB Matt Milano (Left pectoral)

Milano finally returned to play against the 49ers after missing the past month of football recovering from his partially torn pectoral muscle from Week 4. While he only played on obvious passing downs, he was more involved in the defense, seeing 19 snaps which is the same from what he saw in Week 7. 

He was able to get a quarterback hit, fully wrapping up Nick Mullens along with two solo tackles in his limited playing time. Hopefully, the team continues to wean him back in as he slowly regains his starting role. The team can take their time with this due to the emergence of AJ Klein, but this just allows the Bills to scheme various plays to keep the opposing offense guessing. Milano still probably isn’t 100% prior to the injury, but he’s obviously close enough to return playing with improved results.

WR Isaiah Hodgins (Left shoulder surgery)

It was announced Tuesday night on Hodgins’s Instagram and Twitter that he had successful shoulder surgery earlier Tuesday. While the exact details are not known what he required surgery on, the team had alluded to the possibility of this back at the beginning of the season when he was placed on injured reserve.

He was observed wearing a shoulder harness during training camp which suggested that he tore his labrum though there wasn’t any past publicly reported medical history to support that. There also wasn’t anything in camp to suggest he further injured his shoulder other than sitting out several practices. However, Sean McDermott did state that Hodgins was being placed on IR to let the shoulder calm down a little bit and get some strength in it. I had interpreted this as a rotator cuff issue which it very well could have been.

Hodgins did return to practice right before Thanksgiving and participated briefly before exiting, not being seen again until this announcement was made public. Once there is more details, a firmer rehab timeline can be established. If it is a rotator cuff repair, he is looking at roughly 6 months; if it is labrum, he is looking at 6-9 months with a more likely return at the 6-month mark due to his positional demands.

G Cody Ford (Right meniscus tear)

It has already been reported that Ford was moving to IR on November 27th with a torn meniscus. This injury was suffered in practice on November 25th according to reports and it was announced he would have season-ending surgery. At the time, it was unknown which knee suffered the injury.

According to Bills Wire reporter Bradley Gelber, Ford had surgery sometime during the first week of December on the right knee as viewed in the picture above. This confirms that he did suffer the right knee meniscal tear which is the same knee injured against the Chiefs. It is possible that he originally tore the meniscus back then, but at the time, the mechanism did not suggest that it was a meniscus, rather, an MCL sprain.

I expect that there are more injuries on the report later Wednesday but hopefully, the list does not grow like it did in past weeks. The Bills are practicing on a short week as they prepare to host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football with the Steelers coming off a loss to the Washington Football Team Monday night. They are dinged up on the defensive side of the ball, losing linebacker Bud Dupree to a right ACL tear last week and their secondary suffering various injuries as well.

It is too soon to tell who will play Sunday for the Steelers but the Bills health is trending upwards allowing a possible mismatch against one of the AFC’s top teams. Like last year, this will be another opportunity for the Bills to showcase their talents on a national stage and garner further respect as they near the playoffs.

Top Photo Credit: Buffalo Rumblings

2020 Week 13 Bills Injury Preview- 49ers

Will Milano and Dodson get activated?

It’s December and the Bills are not only playing meaningful football, but it’s in prime time! In addition, getting this injury report really feels like Christmas with how much improved the report is and for my sake, a much easier review to write up. While there are minimal injury concerns this week, there are still several players to note and watch for Monday’s contest against the 49ers. This is the first time since Week 10 of the 2019 season against Cleveland where there were not any game day designations prior to the game.

QB Josh Allen (Right knee/ankle)

Allen has practiced in full this week despite dealing with a minor knee and ankle sprain from the result of a Joey Bosa tackle. Fortunately, he did not suffer worse damage despite how rough the injury originally looked. For more details, check out my article from Tuesday that breaks down why he is also dealing with a knee injury on top of the ankle injury. 

Thankfully he can play through a likely minor MCL sprain with bracing and with an effective tape job he can manage the ankle sprain he’s dealing with to play against the 49ers. He may be limited with running but it doesn’t mean that he won’t be mobile. 

G Jon Feliciano (Foot)

Not much is noted about Feliciano and his foot. He did play in all 62 offensive snaps and didn’t appear to require any medical attention during the game. This could be as simple as he was stepped on and made note of it to the training staff. Feliciano was a full participant all week and considering he’s missed enough games already this season, I didn’t expect him to miss for minor ailments. 

DE Mario Addison (Knee/vet rest)

The details of Addison’s knee injury continue to escape me but he is 33 and requires more time to recover than when he started out. The knee may be a chronic issue at this point and the team may be looking to keep him as fresh as possible and for as long as possible. 

TE/FB Reggie Gilliam (Hamstring)

Gilliam’s first appearance on the injury report with a hamstring isn’t all that concerning as he was limited Thursday and practiced full on Friday & Saturday. This may be something that’s sore, something that he wanted to make the team aware of in case it worsens Monday night. His practice participation suggests that this is minor and not something that should hold him out. 

He continues to see most of his time on special teams with 44% of snaps taken there compared to 10% of snaps on offense. I would say his injury risk is higher with a hamstring injury present, but between those two percentages, that’s only 18 plays. He’s on the field infrequently and that may benefit him, in the long run, to get past this hamstring and off the injury report. 

RB Taiwan Jones (Hamstring)

It’s unclear if this hamstring is a continuation from the last hamstring strain that cost him two games and the bye week or if this is a new issue. Jones has shown the ability, again and again, to play through injuries and if he is practicing in full, this doesn’t concern me for Monday especially with the extra day of rest. 

LB Matt Milano (Pectoral strain)

After missing two games due to a pectoral injury followed by two ineffective games, Milano was placed on IR to take a full month to recover for the final stretch of the regular season. While at the time of publication, the team has not made any official designation on whether they will activate Milano. They have until Monday at 4 pm to make this designation. I fully expect the Bills to wait until the last second for a competitive advantage. 

The only way we find out sooner is if it’s confirmed that Milano travels with the team as injured reserve players don’t travel on game days. I do expect that Milano gets activated as there are open roster spots for him right now and playing against the 49ers would allow for him to get back up to game speed.

Observed in Thursday’s practice is the fact that he continues to wear his shoulder harness on his left arm which isn’t a surprise. I don’t expect him to get rid of that harness until the end of the season to prevent any further issues. It also appears that may be on a pitch count, similar to what he was on earlier and what the expectations would have been for Jon Feliciano if not for Mitch Morse’s concussion.

I expect the team to adhere to the pitch count and to get back in the swing of things as he prepares for bigger opponents such as the Steelers. 

LB Tyrel Dodson (Hamstring)

Dodson is in the same boat with the roster designation and activation for 4 pm Monday. He continued to work back from his hamstring strain suffered against the Chiefs in Week 6. It’s impossible to determine the grade of the hamstring strain by video but considering he was out for 6 weeks, he may have had a Grade 2. The only reservation I have regarding whether it was is whether the team needed to pull him off IR or kept him there to get fully healthy and he was not needed before that especially when Matt Milano was playing after his return. 

Either way, Dodson should be very close, if not 100%, giving the Bills a much-needed boost at linebacker depth heading into the final stretch of the season. I also believe that Dodson will return due to the open roster spots available. 

Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm

RB TJ Yeldon

DT Harrison Phillips

DE Trent Murphy

TE Lee Smith

*With the health of the team, they may not need to have PS callups, leaving 5 players inactive. 

Looking at the game, there is a lot of money going towards the 49ers making this game a pick ‘em which could be a concern Monday night. While bettors do not decide the games, they are betting on an improving 49ers team from a health standpoint and angry that they cannot play in their own stadium due to local restrictions in California. 

While the fan base waits for a designation for Milano and Dodson, the 49ers are in the same boat with QB Jimmy Garoppolo and TE George Kittle as they are finally eligible to return off injured reserve with their respective injuries. However, the team has not activated their practice window according to reports. The Bills appeared to have dodged a bullet in not seeing those two for this game.

The 49ers will be without reserve CB K’wuan Williams (ankle) and CB Emmanuel Moseley (hamstring) is questionable. While these are not starters, the loss of any depth can be tough to overcome if starters go down with an injury. There are still questions that cannot be answered until 4 pm Monday, but this is the best information that we can go off of right now. 

The Bills have an excellent shot to win this game and move to 9-3 on the season. December is the time of the year where this makes or breaks most teams, I believe the Bills have what it takes in order to end 2020 strong and head into the playoffs ready to make a deep run.

Top Photo Credit: Buffalo Bills

2020 Week 12 Bills Injury Review- Chargers

How did Josh Allen avoid serious injury?

Another week, another stressful win. Consistently winning is something this generation of Bills fans has to get used to. It’s a great feeling, but it would be nice to just absolutely dominate a team from time to time. At the end of the day, I’ll take the win because that shows up in the box score and string together enough wins and that qualifies for the postseason. I am aware the Bills are still not a finished product with glaring mistakes and continued issues, but if they can play like this and be 8-3 with the ability to fine-tune things and peak at the right time, then that’s all that matters. But this isn’t a blog that looks at the play of the Bills, it looks at the injuries of the Bills. Fortunately, there were not many in-game injuries and below are the ones noted in the game.

QB Josh Allen (right knee/ankle)

Josh Allen may very well be Gumby. The way his right leg twisted down under Joey Bosa, affecting his right ankle and knee wasn’t pretty. He walked off the field, misses one play, and then returns to finish out the half before returning is impressive.

Looking at everything after the game and his body of work, it actually looks as though he injured his knee versus his ankle based on the picture below. 

I’m going to walk through the thought process with this injury so you can understand why it’s a knee and not ankle, though it’s quite possible he suffered an ankle injury in addition to the knee injury. During the moment of play, I had originally thought a high ankle sprain based on how the ankle twisted but was not convinced that it was with how quickly he returned and played afterward.

Looking at the play initially, Bosa wraps up Allen and attempts to twist him down. Allen’s ankle gets caught up under Bosa and is pushed into eversion or twisting outward. Allen continues to be dragged down to the turf with his knee taking the brunt of the force as his knee continues to bend into flexion and into a valgus position. By this point, the ankle is pinned under Bosa as he pulls Allen up towards his head to ensure that he is down. The play finishes and Allen is in obvious pain. 

The mechanism for a high ankle sprain was clearly there with the foot in eversion and dorsiflexion as seen below. The mechanism for an MCL sprain was there with the knee bent and in valgus position. Two things really played into Allen’s favor. The fact that Bosa pulled him up over him, relieving pressure on the pinned ankle and the fact that Allen has fairly decent hip internal rotation, allowing the leg to turn out. Had Allen’s hip not continued to turn out to reduce pressure on the knee/ankle, or Bosa didn’t pull him backwards, things could have been much worse. 

Forces showing a high ankle injury
Forces showing an MCL injury
Credit: physioadvisor.com.au

It also helped that Allen was pulled down relatively slowly when it comes to tackling, things weren’t abruptly forced. Another benefit was that Chargers defensive tackle Jerry Tillery bailed out of hitting Allen at the last second, which could have potentially added more force to the stressed knee/ankle and causing further damage. 

Allen played the second half with a hinged brace on the right knee under his pants and socks and was surprisingly effective. Had he suffered a high ankle, he could have still performed and run alright with a tape job, but the swelling would have been set in as the game progressed. I’m not certain he would have been able to run as well as he did if the ankle took the brunt of the injury.

The MCL injury makes more sense because the knee was bent into flexion and stressed into a valgus position which allowed the tissues to stretch and partially tear, resulting in a sprain, but not with the force necessary to really sustain a significant injury.

It would not surprise me and it should not surprise you if Josh Allen shows up on the injury report Wednesday with a knee and ankle designation or one or the other. I personally believe that it will be more of a knee designation based on the bracing observed after the game.

It appears to be a mild MCL sprain which can take 1-3 weeks to fully heal. I’d expect him to deal with some swelling and pain in the area, but since the knee is a hinge joint, he can continue to run but may have difficulty in running to his left due to needing to push off the right side.

I’d also expect him to wear the brace for a little while to protect the knee in order to ensure that it heals properly. This might be the milder side of an MCL sprain which heals well to begin with. He should play through this and hopefully avoid further injury in order to wrap up the division and get him much needed rest. 

CB Levi Wallace (right leg)

I’m not sure what to make of this injury. This occurred during the roughing the passer call on Justin Herbert with 11:58 left in the 4th quarter covering Mike Williams. He kept with Williams going out of bounds and he jumped as they both went out of bounds in the end zone. He got up and moments later was down on his left knee.

He required attention from the training staff briefly before missing one play and returning. As he was walking off, he appeared to be shaking out his right leg. There is a thought that he injured the ankle but I’m not certain of that. This will be a wait and see approach if he ends up on the injury report. 

Other injury thoughts:

G Cody Ford (meniscus) & WR John Brown (right high ankle sprain)

Ford ended up on injured reserve with a torn meniscus following a knee injury Wednesday at practice. His recovery timeline is 3-4 months which fits in line with a meniscal repair. This will allow him to have the best outcomes possible with his knee injury and maximize his career to prevent possible problems and chronic issues such as arthritis.

Brown also earned a stay on IR due to a now confirmed right high ankle sprain sustained in the Week 10 Cardinals game. I had originally thought he suffered more of a medial eversion sprain, but according to Adam Schefter, it is a high ankle sprain. 

By the time he is eligible to return in Week 15, he will have had nearly a month to recover. By that time, it will only be a guess if he’s needed or if they wish to keep him on IR until the playoffs. 

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral)

LB Tyrel Dodson (hamstring)

CB Cam Lewis (left wrist)  

WR Isaiah Hodgins (left shoulder)

All are eligible to return from IR and have been activated for their 21-day practice window except Milano as of today. There is a strong chance that Milano gets activated for Wednesday’s practice. There are currently 3 roster spots available for which I believe Milano, Dodson, and Lewis will return. 

Milano will be 8 weeks out from his pectoral injury against the Raiders with 4 weeks since playing football, Dodson is 6 weeks out from the hamstring injury against the Chiefs, and Lewis is also 6 weeks out from his possible wrist fracture against the Chiefs. For their respective injuries, that is adequate time for those injuries to heal, but it is not certain that each are 100%.

There is a chance that Hodgins gets activated but he was put on IR with a shoulder injury sustained in training camp and has been on there ever since. It’s possible that they want to see him in-game action or at least get him on the practice field to see what they have in him. In the coming days, we should see several roster changes. I will also not be surprised to see a few names added to the injury report for various ailments and/or chronic issues.

Overall, the Bills are 8-3 as they head into a Monday Night Football against the 49ers as they set up shop in Arizona as a temporary home due to COVID. The big storylines will be the Bills warding off the demons of the Hail Murray in Arizona, the return of a variety of players from IR on both teams, and whether Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle will be activated for Sunday. Right now, it doesn’t appear to be the case based on their respective injuries, but with the 49ers sitting at 5-6, they still have a shot at the playoffs and the return of those two along with other players could allow them to make a push. We’ll see what happens in the coming days. Regardless of what the 49ers look like, the Bills are still relatively healthy and ready to move on to the next week.

Top Photo Credit: Larrybrownsports.com