2020 Wild Card Weekend Bills Injury Preview- Colts

Will Beasley & Diggs play Saturday?

The playoffs are here! The Buffalo Bills HOST the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday at 1:05 pm. 25 years is a long, long time between playoff football games in Buffalo. While we all can’t be there, the few that can be will represent us well. Regardless of where everyone may be watching the game, it should be an exciting game, and the chance to advance in the playoffs for the first time since 1995 would be surreal. 

On top of all the excitement, the Bills are fairly healthy heading into this game, with only several concerns with the wide receiver corps. Below is all the injury concerns heading into Saturday’s game and additionally, a breakdown of the Colts injuries heading into the game. 

QUESTIONABLE

WR Cole Beasley (left knee)

At least when Sean McDermott says week-to-week, he means it and has been fairly consistent with that phrasing since coming to Buffalo. However, it is unknown whether Beasley will play Saturday after only practicing once in the past two weeks. He was limited during Thursday’s practice and was observed going through light exercise/jogging and stretching, not stressing the knee at all.

There is no video present of running, jumping, or cutting at full speed to indicate how he will perform. While he doesn’t need the practice, it is concerning whether he was available for the offensive game plan installation. I simply don’t know if he plays. On one hand, it’s the playoffs, if you don’t win, you’re done. But does the team want to risk aggravating his injury and losing him for the remainder of the postseason?

If Beasley does play, I would expect he has difficulty running his routes to the right and having to cut on a dime to that direction having to push off the left knee. I would also expect him to have difficulty with jumping and getting yards after the catch to move the chains. In addition, he would be going up against one of the best slot corners in the NFL in Kenny Moore. Going up against a healthy slot corner with Beasley not being 100% makes me question whether it’s worth getting him out there. Can he tough it out and play? Absolutely, but it doesn’t mean it may be the best option.

The team has expressed confidence in Isaiah McKenzie filling in for Beasley if needed. While McKenzie doesn’t do what Beasley can do, he is still healthier which may be more effective in the short term. But it’s the playoffs, Beasley is a competitor, he wants to play, that’s a given. Just whether he is able. I have detailed my thoughts on the possible injuries he is dealing with here. I also went into detail on Locked On Bills with Joe Marino Friday if you’re looking for any more nuggets of information. 

What this will come down to is: Does the team believe they can perform without him like they did last week? Or will a less than 100% Beasley be more effective than McKenzie in the slot? If I had a gun to my head, I believe that the Bills can win without Beasley for this week especially against elite competition in the slot defensively, and get a healthier version of him in the divisional round. If he plays, fantastic, if he doesn’t, it may be the right decision in the long run.

WR Stefon Diggs (Oblique)

There was a lot of concern with Diggs’ oblique that popped up on the injury report Tuesday. He was limited Tuesday, did not practice Wednesday, but did have a limited practice on Thursday. He is questionable, but it doesn’t mean that he won’t be dealing with some discomfort. To understand what he is dealing with, read below.

Credit: Centenoschultz.com

The obliques are a part of the abdominal muscles positioned on the outside portion next to the “six pack” we 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. 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. 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 when or which side he suffered this injury on also limits knowing which side is limited. There was a report that he was grabbing at his side during warm-ups but he was still quite effective during the game and only came out after the half. He also did suffer a late hit from Christian Wilkins during the 2nd quarter that resulted in brief worry for a concussion or other injuries such as this oblique injury, but it is not clear that this is when this injury occurred either.

The only other Bills player that has publicly sustained an oblique injury during Sean McDermott’s tenure is former guard John Miller. He suffered an oblique injury against the Jaguars in 2018 and ultimately missed a game. However, Miller did not practice and was ruled out for the game against the Dolphins. Miller was on the offensive line, bending forward, twisting his upper body, and pushing against large humans while staying upright took an immense amount of strength.

Diggs has the ability to avoid taking hits to the area, minimize the need for blocking, and can generally reduce strain on the area due to his position. He may be slightly limited in which way he turns, how he takes a hit, how he fights for extra yards. He does have a lot of pain management interventions available to him from the team and ways to manage this so he can get through the day. He is the main component of the offense and to lose him for Saturday would be a huge loss. However, he has said he’s fine, he’s been limited two out of the three days, I believe he will play and be quite effective.

To gauge an idea of whether Beasley or Diggs plays based on practice reports from this season, check out the tweet below. 

ACTIVE 

G Jon Feliciano (Left knee)

Feliciano appeared on the injury report following his left leg getting rolled up on just prior to the first Bills touchdown of the day Sunday. He came up limping but did not leave the game. The fact that he practiced in full indicated that it was not a big concern and should be ready to go Saturday. 

TE Reggie Gilliam (Knee/hamstring)

After missing the last two weeks with knee and hamstring injuries sustained against the Patriots, Gilliam appears ready to make his playoff debut. He practiced in full all week and doesn’t appear to be a question mark heading into Saturday. 

WR Isaiah McKenzie (Ankle)

Like Diggs’, this ankle injury was not clear on when it occurred or how severe it is. He also does not have a game day designation which is excellent to see considering he may see increased snaps due to Cole Beasley potentially being out. 

His workload may be reduced on special teams with Andre Roberts taking punt and kickoff returns, but McKenzie has clearly shown the ability to be effective when called upon. I doubt that he has any noticeable drop off in play from last week other than a decrease in total touchdowns.

Colts Injury Report:

OUT

T Will Holden (Ankle) 

While Holden is the backup right tackle, the loss of him leaves the Colts very thin at the tackle position in general. They’ve already lost Anthony Constanzo to season-ending ankle surgery and lost his backup La’Raven Clark to a torn Achilles right after. 

They are down to their 3rd string tackle Chaz Green and anyone backing him up will be coming from the practice squad or playing out of position. The Pittsburgh Steelers managed to sack Phillip Rivers 5 times, who is dealing with an injury of his own, so he can be pressured. The Bills could potentially use part of that game plan for success. 

CB Rock Ya-Sin (Concussion) 

He hasn’t practiced all week due to the concussion and anyone that doesn’t practice prior to a game doesn’t play in nearly every instance I’ve seen. TJ Carrie will replace him at CB2.

QUESTIONABLE

DT Deforest Buckner (Ankle)

He originally injured his ankle a few days before Christmas on the 17th, played through it, and has had some great games including a 3-sack performance days after the injury. He either had a high ankle from getting his heel hit or a bad inversion ankle sprain; either or it hasn’t stopped him.

The fact that he is that far out from the original injury and continues to play indicates that he will play Saturday and I would expect that he still gets his numbers.

ACTIVE 

QB Phillip Rivers (Turf toe)

Rivers has been working through a nasty turf toe injury that will require surgery following the season. Despite the injury, he has still been effective in leading the Colts to the postseason as the 7th seed. 

With Rivers continuing to deal with this injury, this could be an opportunity to pressure him in the pocket due to his inability to scramble along with the general immobility he is known for. If the Bills defense can prevent Rivers from hitting his first and second reads, this may allow the Bills to sack and hit Rivers all day. He will already be under pressure due to the left tackle position, his blindside, is manned by Chaz Green, a career journeyman.

CB TJ Carrie (Ankle/shoulder)

Not much is known about Carrie with his respective injuries but he is starting in place of Rock Ya-Sin and according to Joe Marino, he has been a better performer over this season than Ya-Sin. This may only be significant if Carrie goes down with an injury and they lack a backup suitable to keep up with the Bills wide receiver corps. 

RB Jonathan Taylor (Shoulder)

Taylor will be playing and look to build off his performance over the Jaguars last week despite dealing with a shoulder injury. There aren’t any specifics regarding what he did and the fact that he doesn’t have a game day designation indicates that he will be ready to go. 

S Khari Willis (Concussion)

Willis practiced in full coming off a concussion indicating that he has cleared the protocol and will be available Saturday. 

Bills Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm

RB TJ Yeldon

WR Cole Beasley

DE Trent Murphy

TE Tyler Kroft

A Bills playoff game at home where it is supposed to be just above freezing and sunny could work in Buffalo’s favor. They didn’t have to travel, they sleep in their own beds, they are used to the weather here. The Bills are favored at -6.5 which isn’t the biggest line this weekend, but half of the games are expected to be closer in the score.

This will be fun to watch. A talented Buffalo Bills team that is hot entering the playoffs with Pro Bowl and All-Pro talent at multiple positions, a potential MVP at quarterback, and a winning mindset. Despite former Bills quarterback and now Colts head coach Frank Reich returning to town, I don’t believe he brings the magic from “The Comeback” into this game. The Bills should win this one and kicking off a deep playoff run. Enjoy the moment, it’s what we’ve been waiting for the past 25 years!

Top Photo Credit: Buffalo Rumblings

2020 Week 17 Bills Injury Preview- Dolphins

Who will sit on Sunday to prevent injury?

To rest the starters or let them play, that appears to be the big question for the Buffalo Bills heading into Week 17 against the Miami Dolphins. With the #2 seed hanging in the balance with a win, the Bills must balance the roster properly to ensure maximum health but to ensure that they can still win the game. If they do lose and so does the Pittsburgh Steelers, then the Bills still secure the #2 seed. But if the Bills lose and Pittsburgh wins over a hungry Cleveland Browns team, then they secure the #3 seed. I don’t believe it is in Sean McDermott’s DNA to not try and win a game, especially if home-field advantage hangs in the balance.

The roster management will be significantly different from past weeks and we will see more inactives due to preserving health rather than true injuries. This doesn’t mean that everyone will sit, only those that don’t have anything to gain by playing. Below are the injuries and inactives.

OUT 

TE Reggie Gilliam (knee/hamstring)

Gilliam misses his second straight game with a likely left knee injury in addition to a hamstring injury. He has not practiced over the past two weeks and quietly left the game against the Broncos without a clear mechanism of injury other than having his knee taken out from behind him on a special teams play from which he returned later in the game.

We will have to watch the injury report to see if he begins practicing and returns for the playoffs or whether he gets sent to IR to activate someone else from the practice squad. This would then let the Bills sign others to the practice squad as insurance in case further injuries occur.

WR Cole Beasley (left knee)

Beasley missed the past week of practice as expected due to a left knee injury that forced him to leave the game early in the 4th quarter Monday. I had detailed the possibilities of his knee injury that you can find in my article from Wednesday. To summarize, he could have suffered a contusion to the lateral knee, a quadriceps strain, or a meniscus injury. 

My thoughts have not changed from Wednesday and it may be possible that he plays in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, but it is far from guaranteed. Looking at recent Bills who have played through meniscus injuries including Kelvin Benjamin and Charles Clay in 2017. Benjamin missed 2 games with his meniscus tear and gutted out the remaining 5 games to the playoffs.

Clay missed 3 total games but 4 weeks total due to having the bye week. His recovery was longer due to requiring surgery to trim the meniscus in order to play and allow his MCL sprain to heal. Both were hot and cold with their production, but let’s face it, Benjamin and Clay are nowhere near the talent level that Beasly possesses. 

The Bills could survive the first round game without Beasley, but if he can play, he will try to perform. Practice next week will be telling as to whether he is trending towards playing or if the team is more cautious.

ACTIVE

G Jon Feliciano (illness)

Feliciano was a surprise addition to the injury report with illness but practiced in full on Friday and had no game day designation. As long as the illness is not COVID, things happen, and as long as he can play, then there are no worries. I am not certain he plays a lot unless Josh Allen plays. This is a game that the Bills can look at backups or find out if any of their pending free agents are worth re-signing. 

Inactives:

TE Reggie Gilliam

WR Cole Beasley

CB Tre’Davious White

C Mitch Morse

WR Stefon Diggs

QB Josh Allen

LB Matt Milano

Outside of Gilliam and Beasley, these inactives are a total guess based on value to the team. To lose Tre’Davious White would be a huge issue and Matt Milano certainly would benefit from being fresh working back from his pectoral injury. While Stefon Diggs did reach his statistical benchmarks for the season for his contract and could rest, Josh Allen is only 40 passing yards from claiming the top spot in Bills history for passing yards. I am sure Allen would want the record, but not if it potentially could mean injury. 

Mitch Morse is a smart bet to not play if Allen does not and with his previous concussion this season, to avoid losing him for the playoffs would not be ideal. I would not be surprised if I am wrong on 5/7 picks because Sean McDermott has been coy on if he would rest starters or not. We will know Sunday at 11:30 am as to their plans. 

The team does have their two standard practice squad call-ups and protected practice squad players which were used on offensive lineman Trey Adams, Jordan Devey, Jonotthan Harrison, and Darron Lee. They also have a COVID emergency callup which could be used on Dane Jackson or Davis Webb. The team has plenty of options in terms of resting players with the use of practice squad guys if they need.

Other injury thoughts:

We do know that John Brown will finally play for the first time since Week 10 to get reps to be ready for the postseason. He would be one that would benefit from time off, but to get even a half of football in would ensure that he is ready for next weekend. His high ankle sprain should be pretty close to if not fully healed up by now and most of the other injuries he was dealing with should be fairly well managed by now. 

The Dolphins are dealing with several injuries for themselves including Jakeem Grant (high ankle), Solomon Kindley (knee/foot), Shaq Lawson (shoulder), and DeVante Parker (hamstring). I would expect all play with the exception of Grant who was reported to miss the game but is currently listed as questionable. Even if he did play, I doubt he would be effective on special teams and offense. 

Either way, this is a must-win game for the Dolphins to control their playoff fate. They could still make the playoffs if the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, or Browns lose which could allow them to enter the postseason, but none of those are guaranteed which forces the Dolphins to play for their lives.

I believe the Bills can still win even with most of the starters resting or seeing minimal playing time. If the Bills do lose this game, this could set up the Dolphins to come back up the next week for the Wild Card game if things fall just right. Either way, this will be enjoyable to watch this game knowing there is little to be concerned for as the team prepares for a home playoff game. The pressure to win will increase following 4:30 pm on Sunday but until then, the fanbase can relax and enjoy the game.

Top Photo Credit: ESPN

2020 Week 16 Bills Injury Review- Patriots

How serious is Cole Beasley’s leg injury?

The Patriots have been vanquished! A season sweep completed, the first since 1999! With a dominating 38-9 win over New England, the Buffalo Bills move to 12-3 as they continue to strive towards the AFC’s 2nd playoff seed. On top of that, the Bills continue to have excellent luck with regards to injuries following a rough stretch earlier this season. Below are Monday’s injuries. 

In-game injuries:

S Jordan Poyer (Concussion evaluation)

Poyer was briefly removed from the game following a thunderous hit on Cam Newton going out of bounds with 3:21 left in the 2nd quarter. He appeared briefly dazed standing up which likely signaled the athletic trainers above to flag the hit for a concussion check. Poyer didn’t appear thrilled that he had to leave the game but left to the locker room.

He came back out later having been cleared from the evaluation and didn’t appear to have issues throughout the game. It’s important to have these protocols in place to avoid further complications if there was truly a head injury. Fortunately, he was not diagnosed with a concussion but I don’t expect him to play a lot in Week 17 due to wanting to rest starters. 

WR Cole Beasley (Left knee/leg)

Beasley got up gingerly favoring his left leg following a missed catch with 10:30 left in the 4th quarter. Upon initial review, he either sustained a hit to the outside of his left knee or he suffered a strain of his left quadriceps muscle trying to slow down. In the Twitter thread below, the first angle shows that he may have gotten the knee hit, but the second angle shows a stutter step. 

Based on how he got up and the trainers later assessing his knee along with focusing on the outside portion, it seems like there could be a contusion rather than a strain. He didn’t return to the game but this may have been more precautionary than the actual injury. 

Unfortunately, Sean McDermott delivered some disappointing news Tuesday during his weekly post game press conference. Beasley has been termed week-to-week with a leg injury which usually isn’t a great sign when it comes to availability for next week. From what I’ve understood with Sean McDermott week-to-week is missing at least 1-2 games. 

The team termed it a leg injury which doesn’t give us much information. It could be a contusion as mentioned above, could be a quadriceps strain, or it could be something else like a meniscus injury.

Why meniscus? Because after watching this enough times and researching more, this is a possibility based on the new information we know. 

Meniscus tears usually occur with more of a rotary or pivoting motion with the foot planted, such as changing direction suddenly. They can occur in other ways such as deceleration which is not something I initially considered when looking at the injury by video. The team was focused on the left knee and in a clip from the sidelines, a trainer even motions to the lateral aspect of the knee, right along the tibial plateau area where the meniscus sits where some pain/tenderness may have been felt.

It’s possible when he stutter-stepped due to slowing down, he created a shearing force on the meniscus with the knee in flexion or bent. That sudden stop with his weight still accelerating forward could have sheared a portion of the meniscus. 

Credit: John Hopkins Medicine

Signs of a meniscus tear include clicking, popping, locking of the knee during movement. There is also joint line tenderness present during palpation of the knee along with intermittent residual pain. He may have had difficulty fully extending the leg with imaging later confirming the physical findings. 

Credit: Liberty Orthopedic

This would explain why he is now week-to-week and fits the information currently available. This is pure speculation as I am processing the newest information. I hope this is not the case but it’s something that has to be considered. There is still a lot of information that we have to see including the body part that the team designates him with on the injury report and his practice availability. 

The best-case scenario is that it’s a lateral knee contusion and the team is being cautious. The next possibility is the quadriceps strain which could be a week-to-week injury that could force him out. This would be the most opportune situation in terms of overall health.

The worst-case would be the meniscus tear and he has to battle through it for the postseason. We saw former Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin deal with this during the 2017 season. I would expect Beasley to do the same. I hope I’m wrong, I want to be wrong, but I am considering all possibilities based on the information at hand.

While it is a shame that he probably won’t get his 1,000 yards, it’s best that he gets the rest he needs in order to perform in the playoffs. I’d expect him to miss Week 17 with a realistic shot at the first playoff game. He will need rest and rehab in order to get the knee well enough for the playoffs and then they can figure out how to address the area afterward. This will be a situation that changes quickly and hopefully 13 days off is enough time to get the knee healthy enough to play. 

T Dion Dawkins (Right elbow)

This wasn’t even noticed during the game until a Twitter follower pointed it out. Dawkins had a brace on his right elbow after the game in a post-game video when Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs were being interviewed. 

Looking back at the film, Dawkins doesn’t appear with a brace until later in the 3rd quarter. He appeared to get hit on the right elbow during a routine run play with 9:21 left in the 3rd. He finished the series and then the next series came out with a brace. This appears to be a general contusion to the area. It did not appear to greatly affect his play, but there may have been pain and swelling the training staff wanted to manage. 

I am not certain if he shows up on the injury report this week. If he does, this appears to be the culprit. If his play is limited next week, it would likely be due to more of the situation than injury. 

Other injury thoughts:

T Ty Nsekhe (groin)

I had thought that Nsekhe would have been ruled out for Monday’s game, but he was active despite barely practicing last week. He only played in 8 offensive snaps towards the end and 6 special teams snaps which is more in line with his overall play from this season. 

He is an older player that appears to understand his role and may have sat last week due to load management. 

WR John Brown (right high ankle sprain/COVID)

Brown was finally activated to the roster after spending time on IR since Week 10 with a high ankle sprain. He appeared on track to play Monday and the general consensus was that he would, but he was deemed a close contact with TJ Yeldon and placed on the COVID/Reserve list.

He must stay on the reserve list for at least 5 days since he last had contact with Yeldon. If he does not test positive during that time frame, then he can come off and play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. He is one player who needs the reps prior to the playoffs in order to get ready. 

Outside of Beasley’s injury, there is little concern for injuries going into Week 17. There always appears to be an injury or two that is a surprise on the report, but that will have to wait. Otherwise, the Bills are hot and healthy as they wait to find out their Wild Card opponent as hopefully the 2nd seed. The championship window is open, the Bills can pass through and hopefully hoist the Lombardi trophy in February.

Top Photo Credit: Buffalo News

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 10 Bills Injury Review- Cardinals

Is Brown and Jackson alright? What’s going on with Morse?

The football gods giveth, they also taketh. The Hail Mary pass from Kyler Murray to DeAndre Hopkins was truly something else. Those are the kind of plays that demonstrate why the Cardinals traded for him and gave him a big contract extension. I understand he isn’t making those plays week in and week out, but to know you’re never out of a game because a player like him can’t be discounted. Bills fans saw the exact same thing with Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs for the go-ahead touchdown just moments before. 

The loss sucks, but sometimes that’s just how things are. For every loss like the Cardinals, we can get a win as we did against the Rams. The Bills are still 7-3 heading into a much needed and deserved bye week with the ability to get a lot of key players back very soon and others to get healthy. I understand that after years of suffering through the drought, we want every win, we want the ability to leave no doubt in our minds who is the better football team in the NFL. I would also rather take this loss now and have a deep postseason run when compared to the Ravens 14-2 record last year and getting bounced in the divisional round of the playoffs. 

As we head into the bye week, there are several new injuries to monitor that may impact the injury report next week.

DE AJ Epenesa (Concussion)

Epenesa missed the second half of the game due to a concussion possibly sustained with 3:32 left in the 2nd quarter when he took down Kyler Murray from behind to set up 4th down. The play below shows how Epenesa attempted to knock the ball out of Murray’s hand as he took him down, regrettably slamming his head into the turf. He stood up quickly and appeared to be momentarily unsteady before walking off to the sideline motioning to his head. 

He was quickly taken to the locker room for further evaluation of a head injury where he was later ruled out with a concussion. He will enter concussion protocol as does every other NFL player, but time will tell how long it will take him to return. According to what I could find from his injury analysis this summer, this is Epenesa’s first publicly documented concussion. 

There is potential he could move through the protocol quickly, but no guarantees either. Fortunately, he has the bye to work through things to get right for the Chargers game.

CB Dane Jackson (right knee)

Jackson went down with a right knee injury tackling Christian Kirk in the 3rd quarter. He completed the tackle and rolled over, holding his right knee. It’s still not clear what he did to the knee even on the film below. I had initially thought he suffered a hamstring strain as he extended his leg out to grab Kirk, but I’m not certain that is the case. 

It’s very possible he hit the knee on the ground as both he and Kirk were falling. There is also the possibility that Jackson got a cleat to his knee, though slowing down the film, I personally couldn’t see anything. Jackson was observed later on the exercise bike appearing to keep the knee loose to prevent any potential swelling which also dissuades me from considering a hamstring. 

Jackson did return in the final moments of the game as DeAndre Hopkins caught the game-winner. Either Jackson gutted it out because the coaching staff knew he was the best option over Daryl Worley or the injury wasn’t as significant as originally thought. I am going to go with the latter in this case. 

I am also not certain that Jackson will show up on the injury report next week for two reasons. While he is continued to be used as a regular call up or COVID replacement call up, he is not officially on the active roster. Practice squad players are not placed on the regular injury report released through the week. Sometimes they are acknowledged as former Bills offensive lineman Evan Boehm was earlier this season, but I do not believe the team has any obligation to publicly release these details. 

If Jackson gets signed to the open roster spot available due to Del’Shawn Phillips going to IR, then Jackson could be on the injury report. I also don’t believe that the injury is serious enough without more information to determine that he will be on the report.

WR John Brown (right ankle)

Brown suffered yet another lower-body injury, this time on a 24-yard catch midway through the 4th quarter. The play was ultimately negated due to a Brian Winters holding penalty, but Brown made a great catch before coming down hard on his right ankle. Per Sean McDermott, Brown tweaked his ankle.

In the video below, you can clearly see that Brown lands on the right foot, the ankle bows inward before the rest of Brown’s momentum drags him down to the turf, lifting his heel up off the ground before being officially downed.

I had initially thought of an MCL sprain due to how he fell and the valgus angle with the knee pointing inward as he fell, but his medial ankle took the brunt of the injury it appeared. From the video alone, it looks to be a medial eversion ankle sprain, similar to what Tre’Davious White suffered last week. I would say this one was more severe when comparing the two, but Brown may have escaped a worse fate.

When the ankle bows out like that, there isn’t a lot of room for the ankle to move outward, potentially leading to a fracture of the lateral malleolus. However, Brown was able to walk around later under his own power on the sidelines indicating that not to be the case and the fact that the team said he tweaked the ankle. Right now, it seems as though he suffered a medial eversion ankle sprain and may need some time to rehab. 

Thankfully he has the bye next week to allow him at least a full week off to allow for healing. There’s potential that he shows up on the injury report with the ankle injury, but we will have to wait and see. At worst, there is the possibility that he misses 1-2 games which include the Chargers and 49ers games which appear winnable without him. However, there is also a very good chance he suits up against the Chargers and plays if the injury is mild. Next week will tell us much more.

Other injury thoughts:

DT Justin Zimmer (right elbow)

I bring Zimmer up because I noted that he had a hinged brace on his right elbow that I had not noted before Sunday’s game. Looking back at game footage, he has had a brace on the area going back to Week 7 against the Jets. The reason it wasn’t noticeable then was due to the fact that he would wear a sleeve over the area or had a long sleeve shirt on, downplaying the brace.

Prior to the hinged braced, he was wearing a compression sleeve on the area in the Chiefs game. If he had suffered an injury, it’s not publicly known and he still appears to be playing well. I have seen a lot of linemen wearing various bracing on their arms and legs to likely manage general complaints and provide some stability to the area as they play. 

C Mitch Morse (concussion)

Morse did not play despite being active for Sunday’s contest. It was termed as coach’s decision by Sean McDermott. Jon Feliciano played the entire game at center in his place. There are some possible theories that I have behind why Morse ultimately did not play that I will address below.

Due to several other injuries and open roster spots, Morse may not have had the ability to be a healthy scratch. However, they could have scratched Morse and had Cody Ford active and not play. They have had injured players active before and not play.

The Bills may have also wanted Jon Feliciano to get more reps at the center position as he acclimates back to game action. McDermott did state that they are going week-to-week with offensive lineup combinations and wanted to get another look at them. But Feliciano is better suited at the guard position from what we’ve seen.

His risk to sustain another concussion following this most recent one is higher, but I have not found an exact number that says a person is at X% more likely to suffer another concussion within X days/weeks from the last one after full recovery. He’s at greater risk to suffer another concussion, just like he was prior to the latest head injury. I also see this study and say it has some value, but the research is nearly 20 years old, I do question how accurate it is now.

There has been speculation that Morse needed extra rest and to use the bye along with not playing in order to make sure he’s healthy. Looking at the NFL return to play concussion protocol, from my interpretations, once you pass through the NFL concussion protocol, you are cleared for play. There isn’t any gray area when it comes to this decision. Either you are cleared or not. Extra rest would not necessarily reduce his risk even further.

There are concerns for second-impact syndrome and post-concussive symptoms. I can say with some confidence that neither are in play here. If he was to have the second-impact syndrome, that would imply that he was not fully healthy as he tried to return. That would go against how the protocol’s purpose. The same thing goes for the post-concussive syndrome. If he was still having symptoms, he doesn’t pass through the protocol. Even if he suffered another concussion in warmups, they would have reported it, similar to when Quinton Spain had his foot soreness as a surprise inactive.

The only reason I can consider is that Morse is a veteran player, I am sure he is dealing with the effects of a physical season and it’s possible that McDermott wanted to give him the day off to preserve him for the playoff push. Not allowing Morse to play also eliminates a chance to sustain another concussion or injury in general. However, if a player is healthy enough to play, he was per the concussion protocol, then he should have played. I don’t believe Morse was benched either.

Bottom line, he was deemed healthy per the concussion protocol, he should have played based on that logic. If McDermott wanted to give him the game off, then he probably should have made him a healthy scratch, they have done that in other games for other players when it did not matter. If they wanted to avoid Morse suffering a further injury, then you inactivate him. Extra rest from a head injury could make sense, but not when applying it to the NFL concussion protocol.

Overall, the Bills head into a much-deserved bye week with the ability for most of the team to address some of their injuries as they prepare for the final stretch. There are a lot of injuries to fix along with a lot of game strategies including the anemic run game. Hopefully, there is more news that comes out regarding these injuries and more over the next week and the injury report will be something to watch with regards to how many players are on it and who is on it. I hope the Bills enjoy their week off as they prepare for the final stretch of the season.

Top Photo Credit: DraftKings Nation

2020 UDFA: Buffalo Bills S Josh Thomas injury analysis

Newly signed S Josh Thomas arrives to the Bills with minimal injury issues, can he make the team?

Bills S Josh Thomas comes from familiar territory in North Carolina for both GM Brandon Beane & HC Sean McDermott. Playing for Appalachian State comes with the underdog mentality, having knocked off Michigan all the way back in 2007 as an FCS team at the time. Since moving up to FBS in the Sun Belt Conference, Appalachian State has always had the ability to shock a Power 5 conference team. During that rise to the next level, Thomas has been a part of the rise of that team and a key contributor to a program that has won 5 bowl games in one 5 year class, a feat only matched by 4 other NCAA schools in history. 

On top of that, Thomas has minimal injury concerns listed below. 

2015

Appeared in 13 games in a mostly reserve role, acclimating to the college game, but appeared to avoid injury. 

2016

Appeared in 12 games, increasing his playing time and not appearing to suffer any injuries. There were 13 games played that season, but I cannot find any record of why he did not play against Tennessee in the season opener. 

2017

Thomas began to round into shape, starting 3 games at free safety and playing in 4 overall before suffering a season-ending fibula fracture as the result of a player falling on his leg against Wake Forest. The article does not specify which side was fractured and does not state whether he had surgery. It does state that he had a cast on which is expected, but details are scarce. 

As a result, he received a medical hardship waiver preserving his eligibility, missing the remaining 9 games.

2018

Thomas was able to come back to full health and regain his starting job rather quickly, appearing in all 13 games starting at free safety. He was named a captain of the team and All-Sun Belt Second team. He did not appear to have any struggles coming off the previous seasons’ injury and was able to resume his high level of play.

2019

Appeared in all 14 games as a team captain and first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection. Following his injury in 2017, he made 27 consecutive starts and did not appear to suffer any further injuries. 

Bills Injury Impact

Thomas is yet another UDFA that shows promise but will be limited only by his talent and the overall depth at the position. The fibula fracture is so much in the rearview mirror, it is simply history and not a concern moving forward. 

Like any player currently on the Bills roster, Thomas has a chance to play in the NFL. He may be a numbers casualty but he may also be a developmental player if he continues to improve his game and maintain his health. 

Buffalo Bills Injury Update- Colts

Providing the latest updates following the latest Bills injury report including thoughts on players likely to play.

As the injury report changes so frequently as the injuries grow, it is fitting that an update is warranted. The Bills-Colts game tomorrow should ideally end up as a Bills win but should also feature minimal to no injuries as the field will be slippery, leading to decreased footing which in turn reduces major injury. Today’s post will offer any insight regarding updates on the injury report and thoughts on the effectiveness of each player.

Starting off, those listed as out are: G John Miller (ankle). He has not appeared in a game since the beginning of October when he played every snap against the Falcons. Since then, he has been a scratch with the emergence of G Vlad Ducasse. I suspect he suffered a high ankle sprain in practice which has limited his participation.

Those questionable are: OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), OT Seantrel Henderson (back), CB Leonard Johnson (knee), QB Tyrod Taylor (knee), and DT Kyle Williams (groin). Between Glenn and Henderson, one of these men will play. As Henderson did not practice the past 2 days due to a back injury and Glenn has been out for the past month with his chronic foot/ankle issue, my money is on Glenn. It is not known what Henderson is dealing with; my initial thoughts are pulled muscles in his back that he aggravated in practice. It would be in poor judgment to scratch both Henderson and Glenn and with five weeks off to rehab, Glenn should be ready to go.

On the defensive side of the ball, Johnson and Williams are dealing with knee and groin injuries respectively, though could possibly play. I believe Johnson has a great shot to play due to taking a helmet to the knee during the Patriots game. Outside of pain, there should not be any major limitations to play. Williams is dealing with a groin injury that he appeared to play through. I can’t see Williams sitting this one out unless he really doesn’t feel right. He is the epitome of the blue collar attitude that is Buffalo.

Taylor on the other hand will depend on totally how he feels warming up. He suffered a patellar tendon contusion which is a bruise to the ligament/tendon connecting the kneecap to the lower leg. The biggest limitations will be pain. He has been able to participate in a limited fashion the past two days and is truly a game time decision. I could see McDermott giving him the start knowing that QB Nathan Peterman will be ready to go. My concern is that he takes another hard hit to the knee which may end his day prematurely.

Others to be mindful of is WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), RB Travaris Cadet (concussion) and CB Tre’Davious White (concussion). Benjamin has not played since suffered a partially torn meniscus in the Chargers game on November 19th. This is a tight but realistic timeline for him to come back. As I mentioned before, he may be limited on a snap count or in certain packages, but should be able to perform especially after seeing him move in practice. If he is able to perform his routes with minimal to no pain, then he may as well play. Worst case scenario is that he re-injures the knee and they shut him down for the season.

Both Cadet and White suffered concussions in Sunday’s game but have since cleared the concussion protocol which indicates they had no recurrence of symptoms and cleared all 5 stages of the protocol. While there is always the risk to sustain another concussion after sustaining the first one, having these two play will certainly make the Bills overall better.

The Bills should win this one, moving their record to 7-6. December is make or break for these Bills; I pray they shock and surprise with the end of season results, but we will continue to take it week-to-week.

Continue to check back for the latest articles and injury updates. For game day reactions and updates, follow me on Twitter at @kyletrimble88. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Buffalo Bills Injury Updates- Patriots

Updating the Bills injury report following many changes & clearing up the confusion.

The Buffalo Bills are making their injury report confusing with their upcoming match up against the Patriots Sunday. Is Sean McDermott and brass take a page from Bill Belichick’s book, making the injury report vague and convoluted to attempt to gain and edge over game planning for certain players? I believe this to be the case. It is also possible that the Bills are dinged up and this week’s injury report reflects that? Quite possibly too. Last game against the Chiefs saw no major injuries occur which bodes well for starting personnel to play.

Today’s post will update my last article as there has been so many changes since Sunday. Starting off with those ruled out are WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), G John Miller, RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring). No change here; Benjamin is able to perform some light drills as mentioned in the video last article, but he still has a ways before he’s realistically going to be able to return. Earliest is next week against the Colts, but I expect possibly against the Dolphins or 2nd Patriots game.

Glenn continues to deal with his issues and should only be brought back if the team is still in playoff contention. Tolbert’s injury appears to be more severe than I originally thought as this will be his 3rd game he misses. He may be able to return next week, but time will tell. I still believe it is a Grade 1 hamstring that just requires a longer rehab than most.

Questionable’s include: TE Charles Clay (knee), FB Patrick DiMarco (ankle), OT Seantrel Henderson (illness), WR Jordan Matthews (knee), OT Connor McDermott (chest), TE Nick O’Leary (back), and DE Eddie Yarbrough (chest). The interesting ones of this group are DiMarco and McDermott. After reviewing All 22 footage, there did not appear to be any instance where DiMarco had to leave due to injury. He was listed as a full participant Wednesday, did not practice Thursday, and was limited Friday. He could be an ankle sprain that is minor that the team does not want to aggravate. While I am not privy to when the Bills have padded practices, he may have been sat out to avoid full contact practices. As for McDermott, he has not appeared in a game this season so his injury remains irrelevant besides losing a depth player.

Henderson is questionable with illness; to note OT Dion Dawkins had an illness earlier, it is flu season, and that group is together a lot more than the full team practices. Others to note are Clay and Matthews with knee injuries. I believe these two will continue to be mainstays on the injury report for the rest of the season but should not affect their level of play. They have high impact positions and need continued maintenance rehab to ensure they do not suffer a decline in health or production.

O’Leary and Yarbrough remain questionable with their respective injuries, but video review showed that while they did have to leave late in the game, there wasn’t any specific play or instance where there was an observable injury. Out of the questionable players, I expect everyone to play with the exception of McDermott and possibly Henderson. There are always surprises on game day, but my goal in my articles is to better educate my fellow Bills fans.

Finally, RB LeSean McCoy made an appearance on the injury report briefly this week. He was not on the report Wednesday, was a full participant Thursday, did not practice Friday, yet is not listed on the injury report as a game time decision. Going back through the All 22 footage, McCoy was able to play the entire game and showed no limitations with his ability to move. He may have general knee soreness, but it is unknown. It is hard to diagnose an injury or limitations without seeing what happened. As mentioned above, I expect McCoy to play and not miss a step, only making the Patriots defense miss theirs.

I expect New Era to be rocking allowing the Buffalo D to step up and provide pressure all day. The Bills are 4-1 at home, hopefully they will go 5-1 under the right circumstances. I expect a close game and ideally a Bills win!

Continue to check back for the latest articles and updates. Follow me at @kyletrimble88 on Twitter for the latest updates on injuries and game day reactions. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!

Week 13 Injury Breakdown- Patriots

Detailing the latest Buffalo injury report including why video showing Kelvin Benjamin practicing is not what it appears to be and what it means.

The Buffalo Bills won a vitally important game towards remaining in playoff contention against the Kansas City Chiefs 16-10. However, most of the focus was spent on Monday’s report that WR Kelvin Benjamin is out with a torn meniscus and according to HC Sean McDermott, he is “day-to-day.” If you read my previous article, and you should, you will learn that meniscus injuries are not day-to-day, but at best week-to-week. Personally, I believe the Bills are downplaying the injury by trying to keep the fan base engaged and hopeful. Benjamin has not been a factor in the offense during the games he has been active. Yes, the Bills do lose a potential play maker, but his loss is less worrisome than when TE Charles Clay or CB E.J. Gaines went down with their respective injuries. The Bills sure do know how to sell hope; it’s their best asset after 17 years of subpar football.

Thankfully, the Bills did not lose anyone additional following the win. Those listed on the injury report not practicing today are as follows: OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), G John Miller (ankle), RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring), TE Nick O’Leary (back) and DE Eddie Yarbrough (chest). Those limited in practice are: TE Charles Clay (knee), WR Jordan Matthews (knee). Those full participants are: FB Patrick Dimarco (ankle).

For those not in the Buffalo area, the NBC news affiliate WGRZ had an article on tonight’s news with video of WR Kelvin Benjamin performing ladder drills on the sideline. This tells us two things. First, this indicates that he has not had surgery to the right knee. Second, this states that the meniscus tear is smaller in nature and improves the outlook for return to play. Depending on the location of the meniscus tear which I can safely assume is in the red-red or at worst, red-white area. This is areas with the greatest blood supply, allowing for a better chance at recovery for return to play.

When interviewed by WGRZ, Benjamin states that he is feeling better and will definitely play later this season. I believe this still to be the case if he heals up and if the Bills are still in contention for a wild card spot. Benjamin can walk and run right now with a meniscus tear including performing ladder drills. If he attempts to pivot, sprint, jump, or try to extend his knee to land, his knee may lock up or catch, causing immediate pain and could worsen the meniscus tear, leading to a more complex rehab process. This is not a pain issue, but a functional issue that can worsen if not managed correctly. He could come back at the earliest for the Colts or Dolphins game if things progress really well.

Cordy Glenn may be able to come back soon as he has missed the past three games indicating that this may be a re-aggravation of whatever he has going on. However, reports state that he may also be shut down for the season. This clearly shows that he is not healthy. As the team is tight lipped on what is occurring it is hard to speculate what a viable return to play protocol can be for him. I will continue to monitor and determine if there is any change in his status or information regarding his injury.

Miller continues to be a non-factor and it appears he injured his ankle in a practice which has limited his availability. Tolbert continues to nurse a hamstring pull sustained in the Saints game, but with the change of pace play of RB Tarvaris Cadet, he has become more expendable and does not appear to rushing back to play. The Bills also have FB Patrick Dimarco which allows Tolbert to return to full health, but could potentially leave him jobless in the off-season.

O’Leary is a new addition to the injury report with a back injury. Upon video review, O’Leary was able to catch a pass halfway through the 4th quarter and then did not appear to be any other chance at injury. He may be dealing with general back soreness or recovering from a hit that precluded him from practice as a precaution. I do not expect him to miss any time for next week.

Yarbrough is also added to the injury report with a chest injury. He left at the end of the 3rd quarter and did not return. Upon video review, there was no instances where he was down on the ground or saw that he suffered any injury to his chest. Speculating on why he did not practice, he may have pulled his pectoral muscle which assists with pushing and horizontal adduction or pulling his arm in towards midline. He may have also suffered a contusion to the area; he did pressure QB Alex Smith several times and laid a solid hit on him late in the 3rd. I do not anticipate that he will miss any time.

Clay does not appear to be 100% recovered from his knee injury sustained in the Cincinnati game, but his game has not been affected as a result. He may be dealing with the chronic knee issue that he dealt with all last season, but considering that Clay’s type of injury usually takes longer to be 100%, it is most likely the most recent one. His play suggests that limited participation in practice is related to getting him the reps he needs but limit the chance of re-injury.

Matthews appears to be on the med after injuring his knee a few weeks ago but does not appear limited in running his routes or coming up lame in any of his plays. He was able to play in 62% of the offensive snaps and appears on the better side of the injury he is currently dealing with.

Finally, FB Patrick DiMarco is listed with an ankle injury but was a full participant. Looking at video and snap counts, he played in 25% of the snaps plus saw time on special teams. There wasn’t anything on video that suggested any injury and may just be dealing with a tweaked ankle which requires observation without limitation in practice.

Going into Sunday’s game against the Patriots at home allows for the Bills to have a shot at winning, but everyone must be healthy, the team must play above it’s abilities, and some luck will be required. The Patriots are beatable, this is the NFL, its any given Sunday! Despite all that is wrong with this season, the Bills are still relatively healthy compared to other teams in the league. The difference is when the Bills starters go down, the backups are not high quality as you would find on other teams such as the Patriots, Steelers, or Packers. Hopefully this will change in the coming years, but the Bills are not there yet.

Continue to check back for regular updates and future articles. Follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88 for real time updates and my thoughts as news breaks. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 12 Injury Breakdown- Chiefs

Assessing the latest Buffalo Bills injuries prior to their Week 12 match up against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Another day down, another injury report released! November has not been a great month for the Buffalo Bills. Three straight losses have brought the Bills back down to earth and exposed flaws once thought hidden by the defense. Sunday’s upcoming game against the Chiefs doesn’t make anything easier especially with their recent signing of CB Darrelle Revis. However, the Bills continue to avoid major injury and key players have better injury outlooks than initially thought.

First up on the injury report with did not practice is WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), OT Dion Dawkins (illness), OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), and G John Miller (ankle). Out of these players, Dawkins is not of concern as he may have the flu. He may be limited but could still play if needed. Glenn continues to deal with his chronic issue and there is no timeline of whether he will be able to play. Miller continues to be hampered with an ankle injury, but as he has not been activated for most of this season; he continues to be a non-factor.

Benjamin is considered “day-to-day” according to McDermott in today’s press conference. As expected, McDermott gives little information other than what is required. Due to the impact during the injury, he may have a bone bruise or a mild sprain. An MRI would demonstrate no significant damage but would still show Grade 1 sprains which are relatively inconsequential. Based on the hit he sustained Sunday, I am still fairly confident that he will be at best questionable for Sunday and learning towards missing the next game.

Those limited in practice were TE Charles Clay (knee), K Stephen Hauschka (right hip), WR Jordan Matthews (knee), WR Deonte Thompson (ankle), and RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring). Clay is still dealing with his original knee injury from October and if he wasn’t pressed to help the offense, probably would have benefited from the extra time to recover as I originally stated. I suspect he is still dealing with some swelling and pain due to the high demands of the position. His play supported the decision to return but he may still not be at 100%. He did have an impact being out on the field Sunday and was a vital cog despite the low offensive output.

Hauschka is still dealing with his right hip injury which is described as soreness. It appeared he was able to perform all his kicking duties without compensation and this should not change Sunday’s outlook. It is unknown what Matthews is dealing with in his knee, but as he missed last game and was limited after today’s practice, this is a positive sign. It was mentioned in the past he has dealt with tendonitis which is still a possibility, but may have also been a mild knee sprain. Having Matthews back in the lineup if Benjamin is unable to suit up with gives QB Tyrod Taylor another weapon he is more comfortable with.

Thompson is limited with an ankle that was rolled up on attempting to catch a pass and was able to limp off. I anticipate that he will play Sunday with a heavily taped ankle and some good painkillers. Tolbert continues to be hampered by a hamstring injury sustained in the Saints game. However, with the performance of RB Tarvaris Cadet backing up RB LeSean McCoy, this may allow Tolbert to rest another week to ensure a full recovery.

Finally, those dealing with injury but able to practice in full include WR Andre Holmes (ankle) and S Micah Hyde (knee). This is promising as there was concern that Hyde would be limited following injury his knee during a tackle late in the game. Practicing in full indicates that these injuries are not worrisome and should not affect performance for Sunday.

One interesting note, typically Wednesday’s are reserved for veteran rest days and there were none listed. It may be possible that the veteran’s didn’t require a rest day or that McDermott wants to push these guys extra to shore up the weaknesses seen over the past several weeks. Either way, none of the injuries are severe, none are key losses which includes Benjamin as Tyrod has not built up the consistency that he has with his other receivers.

If this team has a playoff push in them, they have to win this next game in the always hostile Arrowhead Stadium and continue to stay relatively healthy. This roster is not snake bitten and if some of the flaws can be reduced, this team can play at a higher level than what we have seen. As Bills fans know, we continue to remain eternally optimistic and frequently let down. Things will change though; probably not this season, but this mediocrity has to end at some point.

Continue to check back for breaking news and game day updates/assessments by following me at @kyletrimble88 on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!