Wild Card Weekend Bills Injury Preview- Texans

What is the status of Nsekhe, Roberts, Lawson, & Wallace?

Well, we’re finally here, the playoffs are upon us! We are moments away from the Bills playing in Houston on Wild Card Weekend for the first NFL game of 2020! The Bills are beat up but still in a better spot than the Texans. While I could detail out every injury for Houston & compare it to how the Bills could take advantage, I may be better off writing the sequel to War & Peace. But if you want to get some detailed analysis of the Texans injuries, check out my latest appearance on Locked On Bills with Joe Marino. I have nuggets on JJ Watt, Johnathan Joseph, Bradley Roby, & Will Fuller V. Make sure to check out the pod below!

Locked On Bills 

If you want to know why Houston DE JJ Watt is able to come back so quickly from his pectoral tendon tear, check out my latest article at Buffalo Rumblings!

JJ Watt’s Unexpected Return

As this blog is a Bills based site, the Bills injuries are below & my impressions of them.

QUESTIONABLE

DE Shaq Lawson (left hamstring strain)

Lawson continues to recover from his hamstring strain suffered late in the Patriots loss but appears on the right track. He has been limited the past week, but with controlled activities, he has looked great on film.

I’ve stated all season that the hamstrings are vital for running & blocking, important responsibilities for a defensive end. It’s not a muscle group that can be babied or managed with certain bracing or necessarily protected. Even with the best rehab & rest, injuries can still occur and Lawson may be a casualty of that. 

He missed the Jets game & would probably benefit from another week off, but considering each game now is single elimination, Lawson should not miss. I have a strong suspicion that he plays.

WR Andre Roberts (foot)

Little is still known about Roberts’s foot other than it cost him another game against the Jets. Matt Parrino of NYUp.com noted that he was taking punt & kick returns in practice, accelerating up the field without issue. Any foot injury would limit sudden acceleration as the toes & foot act as a lever to push off the ground to move forward. 

If he had something such as turf toe, a foot sprain, fracture; there would be difficulty getting up to speed & slowing down. As long as Roberts is able to play Saturday, then it won’t really matter what’s wrong as long as he can add another dimension to the team.

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle contusion)

Nsekhe continues to work back from his right ankle that cost him 5 games this season. He was rolled up on again Sunday & but appears to be working through the injury just fine. This appears to be more of a contusion which was supported by the fact that he’s practicing all week & only has a brace on, the same one that he appeared to be wearing on Sunday.

I feel strongly that Nsekhe will suit up Sunday & will be in a rotation with OT Cody Ford with Ford taking a bulk of the snaps. 

CB Levi Wallace (right medial ankle sprain)

Wallace is the big iffy for Saturday. At the end of the day, he is still dealing with an ankle sprain that requires rest. The part of the ankle he injured was the medial side which is the inside portion of the ankle. The deltoid ligament is the strong inside portion of the ankle that provides stability between the tibia, talus, calcaneus, & navicular. This is the reason why it is so difficult for the inside portion of the ankle to suffer a sprain. If the outside portion of the ankle had the same type of structure, I would imagine we would all run very differently. You can see the makeup of the deltoid ligament below.

Deltoid-Ligament-Structure-location
Credit: medicpassion.com

The next picture below is a great example of how the injury occurred with Wallace with regards to the motion & the area injured. To note, the ligament does not likely tear that severely for Wallace or a fracture sustained as dictated in the picture.

medial-ankle-sprain419
Credit: http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/

If this was a regular-season game, Wallace would surely miss Saturday. Considering it’s the playoffs, I imagine that he will try to suit up with a heavy tape job similar to the one seen below. His major limitations will be pivoting, attempting to stay with his assignments. He will be able to run straight & cut off the left ankle, but forcing Wallace to jump, cut to the right, and backpedal will limit his effectiveness. I expect that CB Kevin Johnson gets the start & majority of snaps with Wallace as a backup or used in certain packages. 

Probable Inactives:

TE Tommy Sweeney

DT Vincent Taylor

S Kurt Coleman

S Dean Marlowe

OG Ike Boettger

RB TJ Yeldon

OG Ryan Bates

The Bills are in a great position to win their first playoff game since 1995 & move to the divisional round against a likely rematch with the Ravens. I could see this Bills team make a run like the Jaguars did a few years ago; anything can happen in the playoffs. 

On top of that, the injuries listed today won’t be real factors outside of Wallace heading into next week. There is always the possibility of new injuries, but thankfully the injuries we do have are at positions of depth at OT & CB. 

Regardless of the outcome, you will be hearing from me next week. However, I highly anticipate that I will be coming to you with an injury review & preview heading into the divisional round. GO BILLS!

Top Photo Credit:

USAToday.com

Week 17 Bills Injury Review- Jets

How bad are Wallace & Nsekhe’s ankle injuries?

Good thing that the game didn’t count for anything as the Bills finished 10-6. That 13-6 loss to the Jets was a rough one to watch, bringing shades of the past decade back with backups & fresh players off the street merely competing because there was no one else healthy. On Sunday, that wasn’t the case as Sean McDermott did his best to rest as many starters as he could in order to prepare for the playoffs. Unfortunately, there were a number of injuries varying in severity that will put some player’s availability in question for Saturday. 

CB Levi Wallace (right ankle)

Wallace scared a lot of people when he went down while catching an interception early in the 1st quarter without being touched. He was able to secure the ball before requiring assistance from training staff to get off the field. As with any non-contact injury, the knee is quickly assessed for any ligamentous instability before further evaluation is necessary in other areas. 

It was determined that Wallace suffered an ankle sprain, specifically a medial eversion ankle sprain. I had originally thought that he suffered a mild high ankle sprain as the mechanisms are similar, but he suffered the medial ankle sprain due to the foot being more in a neutral to plantarflexed position pushing off on the toe rather than the dorsiflexed, everted position seen with a high ankle. It is hard to decipher on film & I’m only confident in the medial ankle due to the recent reports. 

Wallace was observed leaving the locker room in a walking boot which is pretty standard following injuries such as this. He is considered day-to-day which usually translates out to missing a week or two. Medial ankle sprains have an incredibly strong ligament known as the deltoid ligament that prevents movement inward which helped reduce the severity of the injury.

We will have to see how he performs in practice this week. If he can’t go, capable CB Kevin Johnson gets the start against his former team. 

S Siran Neal (right side stinger)

Neal suffered a stinger during a tackle during the 2nd quarter where he hit directly over the top of his shoulder on a routine tackle. He was visibly uncomfortable, shaking his right arm out & moving around, trying to shake things out. 

That direct hit caused the stinger due to the sudden shoulder depression pulling on the cervical nerves just enough that he felt it down the arm to need a few plays off. Like Tre’Davious White against them Steelers game, the actual hit wore off & he was able to return. As long as Neal doesn’t continue to suffer these, then this shouldn’t be an issue moving forward. 

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe made his triumphant return after missing 5 weeks with a severe ankle injury in the win over Miami. Nsekhe was slowly reintroduced into the game plan & was rather unremarkable during his play. 

In a stroke of bad luck, Nsekhe went down again in the 3rd quarter with a Jets defender falling on the back of his foot as he went down. Nsekhe was immediately down on the ground rolling around in obvious pain. Trainers quickly came out to assess the ankle & got him off the field for further assessment. 

It was difficult to see what Nsekhe exactly injures as the bodies were in the way, but it’s clear that his ankle was rolled upon. He may have avoided serious injury due to his shoe getting knocked off during the play, preventing his foot from being planted. Nsekhe was also observed wearing an ankle support to limit medial/lateral movement which redistributes the forces away from the ankle. 

The hope that is he suffered a contusion to the area & can work through this injury to be available for Saturday. Some detractors may be out there saying he should have not been playing after coming off an ankle injury. I fully support the coaching & medical staff to allow him to get out there in order to get live reps and allow him to play if he’s healthy. Nsekhe is a veteran, he knows his body & the risks he would take in return to play. It comes down to simply horrible luck & there isn’t much else to be said.

OT Cody Ford (right trapezius/neck)

Ford suffered his own injury later in the 3rd quarter where he appeared to injure his right trapezius or neck. There wasn’t much of a mechanism of injury but Ford came off grabbing at his right trapezius muscle. This muscle connects up to the back of the head, out to the shoulder, and down to the middle of the back. This assists with head extension & shrugging the shoulders.

Trapezius
Credit: Youtube.com

The only possible place that I see where he could have injured this area would be when he took on the Jets defender, lost his block and had his head turned inward to the left & hit the back of G Spencer Long

Ford kept motioning to the area & even pointed to the training staff where his pain was at. He may have overstretched the muscle getting his head forced to the left & hitting Long. He may have also suffered a minor stinger due to the head stopping suddenly. 

Either way, he was able to return and outside of some stiffness & soreness, this shouldn’t limit him for Saturday.

CB Taron Johnson (right ankle)

Johnson was the last injury of the day when he got bowled over by Jets running back Le’Veon Bell. Johnson attempted to square up with Bell & plant his feet, getting knocked backward & injuring the right ankle. The injury occurred when Johnson was trying to keep his foot planted & got pushed, over pronating his foot & placing stress through the medial ankle. 

Johnson was able to walk off with a noticeable limp but was quickly able to begin running on it, even able to return at the very end to ensure that WR Isaiah McKenzie did not have to fill in at cornerback. This is similar to what Wallace dealt with earlier in the game but obviously less severe & less eversion noted at the ankle. This isn’t something that I expect will keep him out for the playoffs. 

Other observations 

Out of the inactives, the only known ones prior to the game were WR Andre Roberts & DE Shaq Lawson with their respective injuries. Having RB Devin Singletary, TE Dawson Knox, WR John Brown, WR Cole Beasley, & CB Tre’Davious White made the most sense being inactive due to how vital they are at their respective positions. 

McDermott & the medical staff did the best with what they could. There are injuries the public isn’t aware of despite my best efforts. There are also strategies in getting other players snaps in case the top players do go down. 

It wasn’t an ideal situation, but the other option was to play the starters & suffer injuries prior to the playoffs. The injuries suffered Sunday are absorbable especially at CB & OT as the team has managed without so far. 

There’s a lot going on this week prior to the game Saturday & it’ll be exciting to see how the Bills stack up against the Texans. This is a winnable game, especially with the defense that has performed all season when asked. If the Bills get beat, it will be because of talent & not because the Bills beat themselves or were too injured.

Top Photo Credit:

DemocratandChronicle.com

Week 17 Bills Injury Preview- Jets

Will this finally be the week that Nsekhe returns?

The big concern going into this game against the Jets is how long starters will play & what players will be inactive. This is especially worrisome due to the recent comments by Jets S Jamal Adams in which he stated they would be hunting along with Jets DC Gregg Williams. Along with that comment, Bills fans have to worry about cheap shots from DE Henry Anderson. If you recall, he blindsided K Stephen Hauschka last season which threw his game off for the rest of the season seen below. 

Thankfully, the Bills continue to manage their injuries well & are not forced to play players who are injured. Below are the injuries prior to the game & inactives.

OUT

WR Andre Roberts (foot)

Roberts was a surprise addition to the injury report following Saturday’s game. Reviewing the film, it’s not clear when he suffered his foot injury. There aren’t many plays that show when he could have possibly injured his foot, but a possible culprit is when he was blocking for QB Josh Allen on a designed run play early in the 3rd quarter, it appears he got kicked on the right ankle.

There was also another point in the 3rd quarter with 3:35 left in where he appeared to be limping slightly after the play. There didn’t appear to be a mechanism of injury prior to this play either which makes this difficult to identify the exact problem. Considering he hasn’t practiced this week & has already been ruled out, we can only hope that he will be ready for the playoffs. 

DE Shaq Lawson (left hamstring)

Lawson has not been able to practice this week due to a hamstring strain suffered in Saturday’s loss to the Patriots. This occurred after a tackle for loss in the backfield during the 2nd half of the game. The actual tackle itself did not appear to be an issue, but rather the celebration afterward. He began to get up & celebrate, grabbing the hamstring in the process.

He was able to continue playing for the rest of the game but the injury appeared to catch up with him later. Even after a slight strain, the muscle is still painful & sore, requiring frequent stretching & controlled movement to allow healing but not overwork the area in order to prevent further injury. As he has already been ruled out, this is the smart move to do considering how valuable he will be in the playoffs. It will be interesting to note how the coaching staff rotates the defensive ends as there are only 4 on the roster.

QUESTIONABLE

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

I feel like we have been having the same conversation for the past 6 weeks regarding his injury. But new information is available! He finally appears to have made the expected progress, participating in practice on Thursday & looking quite well on film. He is moving with the fluidity of someone who is close to returning & appears to be close to 100%. 

Considering how he is moving, I’m making the assumption that he could have returned sooner, but how OT Cody Ford was playing, he wasn’t needed immediately. At this point, it is unnecessary for Nsekhe to play in Week 17, but he has missed the last 5 games which means he would benefit from some live reps in order to prepare for the playoffs. 

CLEARED TO PLAY

C Mitch Morse (right low ankle sprain)

Morse scared many Bills fans late in the 4th quarter in which he had his ankle rolled up on, reportedly feeling several pops & having difficulty walking on it initially. Fortunately, he was able to practice in full this week & not appear to have any limitations despite what appears to be a low ankle sprain. 

Morse is yet another starter that may play several series but overall benefit from a well-deserved rest day or even being declared inactive in order to ensure his health.

OTHER INJURIES

DT Harrison Phillips (left ACL)

Phillips has been out since September, diligently working back from a torn ACL that ended his season prematurely in the win over Cincinnati. Occasionally, news is released of Phillps attending practice, performing his rehab, & still participating in team activities. While it wasn’t expected that Phillips would return until next season, it’s great to see the progress being done in rehab. In the first tweet, below is Phillips running on an underwater treadmill to reduce the stress that land-based running would cause. In the other tweet, you can see the progress that Phillips has made & is demonstrating the proper muscle control during his step-up routine with a weighted vest. 

Even though he is unable to play this year, Phillips still understands his job & purpose on the team which further validates the culture that has been instilled at One Bills Drive. I expect to see more clips in the near future & see him inch closer & closer towards returning to football activities.

Probable Inactives:

TE Lee Smith

RB Frank Gore

S Micah Hyde

S Jordan Poyer

DE Shaq Lawson

WR Andre Roberts

G Quinton Spain

This would be a game that the Bills would be foolish to not play all their reserve players for much needed live snaps. It is probably the best bet to allow some of the veteran players a true rest day, have all the starters play several series & then act as backups in order to get through the game. It would be great to get to 11 wins, but not at the cost of a key contributor going down. 

The Jets are still a talented team, this is the NFL after all. But this is the best-case scenario in where the backups can get extensive playing time & get some film for next season when the roster churns over. Plus, I don’t think in any circumstance that Terry or Kim Pegula are forcing the coach to play certain players as in the still hotly debated topic of QB Doug Flutie or Rob Johnson. This will be a good game to allow the Bills to play & not worry about the outcome. There are bigger fish to fry next week with either traveling to Kansas City or Houston, both being true tests.

Top Photo Credit:

SBNation.com

Week 16 Bills Injury Review- Patriots

Will Morse play Week 17?

Tom Brady has to retire soon right? He’s now 32-3 against the Bills despite many, many close losses by the Bills over that timeframe. I want to be mad, but Tom Brady has to retire soon right? I can’t even be that mad because the Bills already locked up a playoff spot which gave this game little to no meaning with an AFC East title possible, but unlikely. Plus, there have been 7 instances since 1970 where a team sweeps a division rival in the regular season & loses in the playoffs. 

Why not make it 8 if we get them in the divisional round or AFC Championships? Anyway, the Bills came out of the Patriots loss again with minimal injuries. Check them out below.

DE Shaq Lawson (left hamstring)

Lawson suffered what appears to be a minor hamstring strain at the beginning of the 4th quarter on a tackle for loss in the backfield. He came up ready to celebrate and immediately grabbed at his left hamstring, limping slightly around the field. However, he continued to play & maintain his regular rotation on the line, not immediately appearing limited.

The tackle itself didn’t appear concerning, which is why I didn’t feel that he suffered any injury upon the initial replay. On later drives, I was able to see that he occasionally motioned to the left side, but not really favoring the side too much. Sad to say, his celebration may have caused the strain.

The team has been incredibly conservative with hamstrings, but considering that he continued to play through the injury, it may not be a concern. I believe that the injury is hurting him more after playing in where the muscle has tightened up due to the injury from inflammation rather than during the game in where he was able to stay loose. The Bills only have 4 defensive ends on the roster & I expect that he continues to play unless he is dealing with a moderate strain. I believe he may be limited somewhat in practice this week but this will be a non-issue by Sunday.

C Mitch Morse (right ankle)

Morse suffered a right ankle injury as the result of Patriots DE John Simon falling on the back of his ankle, forcing it to twist out with a few minutes left in the 4th quarter. He came up hobbling, appearing to try to shake out the ankle before completing one more play in where Josh Allen converted the 4th & 1. Morse was evaluated by trainers on the field & required some assistance to walk off. He did not return & his absence was noticeable as the Bills drove down the field to attempt to tie the game. 

His injury appears to be a routine low ankle sprain which really isn’t all that concerning. I am sure he is hurting but it was later reported that if the Bills had another drive, he probably would have been able to come back according to The Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn. 

 

Considering the Bills do have some depth on the line, I could see a scenario where Morse is active but does not play. This isn’t implying that he won’t be healthy enough, but I believe he would be an emergency option in case G Jon Feliciano or even G Spencer Long go down if they play in his place. 

WR Andre Roberts (unspecified)

I wait until the Monday afternoon press conferences for reports such as these. More often than not, there are these injuries that aren’t apparent during the game & then they appear on the injury report. Reviewing the game film, Roberts was involved in 13 offensive snaps & 8 special teams plays. From my viewpoint, he stayed pretty clean during the game. There were a few instances where he got hit or bumped from behind, ankles got clipped on a return, but no glaring instance where he came up limping, appeared limited, or took a shot. 

It’s interesting that they note that the injury is unspecified. I wonder if it’s gamesmanship on the Bills part here. Even though they are playing a meaningless game against the Jets, they still need to safeguard the players for the playoffs & limit information coming out. To delay even a few days what Roberts could be dealing with could be a competitive advantage. They will eventually have to reveal it on the injury report, but my guess is he’s dealing with some type of strain or contusion, leaning more towards strain in the lower body.

I suspect this because he’s unspecified, his moneymaker is his legs & on special teams, and the injury isn’t obvious. My immediate guess is a calf or hamstring strain. To note, Roberts did deal with a quadriceps injury that kept him out of the 1st two games this season, but it’s unlikely that these are related. 

It’s simply too soon to tell whether he will suit up Sunday or if he will be a person that gets some much-needed rest. 

Other Notes:

DT Corey Liguet played after being ruled questionable for the 2nd straight week with a knee injury. I still don’t have specifics & likely won’t for some time. He did not appear to be limited, playing in 29% of the snaps, which has been on par for him the past few games. His knee continues to be something to note, but until more information is available, then speculation is all we have.

I do not recall a time when the Bills had a meaningless game to play. This is fantastic to note that there are games still to play but the Bills do not have to rely on the outcomes of games to secure their fate. I expect that the team treats this as a pre-season game in that the starters will get some playing time, but will quickly be pulled where able. I know that the team only suits up 46 for game day, but any backups should be playing considerable time to give the starters a rest & prevent injury. 

I did want to note a retweet that I received from a follower, Ned Hunt, the other day stating that the Bills have used the least amount of personnel this season, indicating their health. It’s great to see that they can keep their core players healthy & not have to continuously bring in new guys who have to learn a new system.

One more regular-season game to play. The Bills just have to get through this game against the Jets & then begin preparing for a likely matchup against the Texans. Here’s to hoping that the Bills escape yet another game with minimal to no injury before the playoffs. 

Top Photo Credit:

Yardbarker.com

Bills Season Injury Review- Defensive End

Review the Bills injuries at defensive end from 2018 & how this will affect depth in 2019.

The defense is on the board!! Today’s post marks the start for injury positional reviews on the defensive side of the ball. The Bills defense has demonstrated elite talent that has carried the team at times through the past 2 seasons. However, when injuries occurred, the replacements and gaping holes as a result were glaring. Today’s post will review the defensive end position and what this means going forward into 2019.

First up is DE Nate Orchard. The veteran end came to Buffalo off waivers from Cleveland, spending roughly a month with the team. During his time in Buffalo, he appeared in 3 games registering 4 total tackles, 3 solo, 1 assist and was cut on 10/2. He then was picked up by Kansas City for a month before finding a home in Seattle for 2019. He did not suffer any injuries during his time and is not likely to return unless he is some type of camp casualty and the Bills need emergency depth.

DE Mike Love appears next in today’s review, appearing in 3 games without any stats. He was signed from the practice squad late in the season to assess what the team has for depth going forward. Due to his limited playing time, he did not suffer any injuries but should come back next season as he is a cheap option for depth and could continue to develop behind veterans at the position.

DE Eddie Yarbrough rounds out depth at the end position during today’s article. The 3rd year player out of Wyoming continues to demonstrate solid play worthy of a roster spot, evident with the Bills resigning Yarbrough to a 1 year extension as a ERFA. The youthful end appears in 15 games accumulating 29 total tackles, 21 solo, 8 assisted with 4 tackles for loss. In addition, Yarbrough managed to avoid injury which was key as several veterans mentioned later were not as lucky, leading to Yarbrough getting valuable playing time. He should be back next season and barring a sudden influx of talented defensive ends, should make the 53 man roster.

DE Shaq Lawson begins the run on injured ends in this article. The former 1st round draft pick has begun to show flashes of brilliance of why he was drafted 19th overall in 2016, but has not been able to consistently string together a season in which he can demonstrate he is the best defender out on the field. During the 2018 season, Lawson appeared in 14 games with 6 starts, accumulating 1 forced fumble, 4 sacks, 30 total tackles, 18 solo, 12 assisted, and 5 tackles for loss. While these are acceptable numbers from a rotational defensive end, more should be expected from a once highly drafted player.

Lawson suffered minor injuries this season, missing 2 games due to a pulled hamstring early in the season trying to chase down Ravens QB Joe Flacco. After the hamstring, Lawson was questionable with an elbow injury sustained in practice prior to the Jacksonville game but the specifics of the injury were not disclosed and he did not miss any time. Going into next season, Lawson will be healthy but have to fight incredibly hard to justify sticking around past next season. He will make the 53 man roster, but he needs to stay healthy and shine like a first round pick should if he wants several more years in Buffalo.

DE Jerry Hughes continues to be a monster coming off the end and is one of the few moves along with RB LeSean McCoy that made former Bills GM Doug Whaley look halfway competent. Hughes came over in a player for player trade from the Colts for LB Kelvin Sheppard in 2013 and hasn’t looked back. The dominant end started all 16 games, accumulating 3 forced fumbles, 7 sacks, 37 total tackles, 30 solo, 7 assists, 13 tackles for loss. He showed up this season and was clearly the best defensive end for the Bills this season. In addition to his dominant play, he was able to remain healthy, only suffering a right knee injury that may have been a minor knee sprain or contusion during the Jets game but did not miss anytime. Even though he is going into the last season of his contract, he is clearly a lock for the 53 man roster. He still demonstrates an ability to play at a high level and should garner another contract before his time in Buffalo is through.

Finally, DE Trent Murphy rounds out the defensive end position. The beleaguered end from Washington just could not stay healthy this year. Even though Murphy only missed 3 games this season, he was never quite healthy. He appeared in 13 games with 10 starts racking up 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 24 total tackles, 14 solo, 10 assisted, 5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks. Despite the average stats for a player making the money that he is, he constantly dealt with injury which led to his down year. Early in training camp, Murphy suffered a groin strain that appeared to be minor, appearing to come back too quickly, and re-aggravating the issue. As a result, he missed the rest of the preseason and never quite got the reps he needed to improve his football skills after missing all of the 2017 season with an ACL tear.

Once returning to the field during the regular season, Murphy had a breakout game against the Vikings with a sack, two tackles, and a forced fumble. Due to needing as many game reps to get back into shape forced him to play into the 4th quarter which led to a right ankle injury that was the result of getting rolled up on. He did not miss any time but was limited afterward. Murphy then sustained another ankle injury, though it wasn’t clear which ankle he injured during the loss to the Texans. Video review shows him taking an awkward step with what appeared to be his left foot. He did miss some time but was able to return.

Unfortunately, the next week wasn’t any kinder to Murphy as he sustained another late 4th quarter injury, this time injuring his right knee. He was in the process of engaging an offensive player during a block when another player got thrown into his knee with his knee bent and foot on the ground. The mechanism suggested an MCL sprain and as a result, missed 3 games but also had the benefit of the bye week to recover. But Murphy wasn’t done with injuries; he sustained some type of chest injury in the win over the Lions late in the season that did not force him to miss anytime. Once again, Murphy did not miss many games, but he was clearly not at 100% throughout the entire season.

There have been some calls for the Bills to release him after an underwhelming performance in 2018. However, I believe that Murphy will bounce back with a strong season in 2019. He will have the benefit of not having to recover from a season ending injury such as the ACL in 2017. While all the injuries were minor, cumulatively, they took their toll. He will have the ability to heal up completely and focus on football and injury prevention rather than rehab. There has also been multiple instances in which a player has a down year following an ACL tear followed up by an improved year as the player returns to baseline 2 years after original injury. While we hope that Murphy can regain some of his 9 sack season during his last season in Washington, any improvement over last year will be gladly taken. Expect him to make the 53 man roster with a significant bounce back year in 2019. I am high on Murphy taking the next step forward as an important cog in the defense.

Overall, expect Hughes, Lawson, and Murphy return as the top end players at defensive end. Yarbrough will continue to be a depth piece and Love has a chance to make the roster with a strong training camp, but could more likely be on the practice squad. DE Eli Harold also has a strong chance to make the roster after time with San Francisco and Detroit, but is far from guaranteed. To read more on Harold, his injury profile can be found here. I also expect the Bills to address defensive end in the draft at some point which could reshape this position based on what round a defensive end is picked.

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

Week 12 Bills Injury Preview- Jaguars

Read on the latest injuries coming off the bye as the Bills get ready to face the Jaguars.

I hope you all enjoyed your week free of Bills football along with Thanksgiving! As a devoted Bills fan, make sure you are recharged and ready to hunker down to take on the last 6 games of this season. This season has been a dramatic step back from last season’s successes and while it is tough to see that the Bills lose more than they win, they are still building towards something greater than the 2018 season. Regardless of outcomes, I do I enjoy watching the Bills every Sunday and today’s post will review the injuries going into the Jaguars game.

Those coming off injury from the Jets game include LB Matt Milano (concussion) & CB Taron Johnson (shoulder). Milano has cleared the concussion protocol and practiced in full which is an excellent sign and should continue his stellar 2nd season as an integral part of the defense. As for Johnson, unfortunately suffered another injury to his right shoulder in where he continues to sublux/dislocate his shoulder during direct blows to the area. He was observed to not wearing his shoulder harness during the Jets game which reduces the shoulder movement in order to limit dislocation which may have resulted in the most recent re-injury. The direct hits to the shoulder continue to dislodge the humerus from the socket, causing pain, weakness, and limited strength. This in turn has caused him to miss short stretches of the season. This is something that he will continue to play through until he feels he cannot anymore or until the end of the season, whichever comes first. He was limited in practice this week and will continue to play at less than 100% until he gets surgery to correct the problem. To note, we have full confirmation of his shoulder injury based on GM Brandon Beane’s appearance on One Bills Live this afternoon, outlined in this tweet here. I expect that Johnson will still suit up come Sunday.

Others practicing in full include RB Chris Ivory (shoulder) and QB Josh Allen (elbow). Ivory was dealing with a left AC joint sprain that caused him to miss the Jets game after suffering the injury during the loss to the Bears. He should have no limitations on Sunday and relieves RB LeSean McCoy as a change of pace back. Allen has been a big talking point when it comes to injury this season, missing 4 games due to the sprained right UCL suffered in the loss to the Texans. He has progressed as expected; Allen himself has reported that his elbow continues to feel better and news reports are showing him making all his passes without obvious compensation. Interestingly, he is still wearing a brace on his right elbow which does concern me, but he may play with the bracing on the elbow as he may be comfortable with the throwing motion with it on. I would prefer to see him play without it, but the medical staff knows best and will ensure that he will minimize re-injury. The only benefit to the brace would be to provide protection in case of a direct blow to the area. While he could re-injure it throwing, the chances are significantly reduced as he has given himself an appropriate time to heal to where he is able to play at a high level. He may not be 100% healed but enough that the medical staff feels he can perform without causing further injury. 

Others limited in practice include: C Russell Bodine (shoulder), QB Derek Anderson (concussion), and DE Trent Murphy (knee). I am not sure what Bodine did to his shoulder as he did not appear to require medical attention during the Jets game but this could be an injury sustained in a previous game with re-aggravation or could be a new injury. Until we have more information, I cannot even speculate what he is dealing with.

Anderson continues to battle back from the concussion sustained late in the 4th quarter of the Patriots loss on MNF. He has been slowly working his way back into shape with his limited designation, but is clearly not ready yet. Based on being limited, he appears to be in Stage 3-4 of the concussion protocol, allowing him to go through sport specific activities and perform aerobic activities. Unfortunately, he has since been ruled out for Sunday’s game, dealing with concussion symptoms for nearly a month now. While this is atypical from what we usually see during a concussion recovery, this would be considered normal for concussion management outside of the NFL as not all concussions are mild with a quick turnaround time. Hopefully he continues to improve and help Josh Allen develop.

Murphy continues to battle back from injury after injury. The latest injury is a right MCL sprain suffered halfway through the 4th quarter in the loss to the Colts. He has since missed 3 games and is slow to return but the vibe is that he will be ready come Sunday to help contain the rushing attack. The veteran DE has had 4 weeks to fully recover which is within the expected recovery times for an MCL injury. With his recent injury history, the Bills training staff were not in a position to rush him back and cause further complaints.

Those not practicing are TE Charles Clay (hamstring) and DE Shaq Lawson   (elbow). Clay pulled his hamstring running a route early in the Bears game and was unable to return. He since missed the Jets game and right now could potentially miss the Jaguars game. Lawson suffered an elbow injury during practice early in the week which makes it nearly impossible to diagnose. Reports indicate that he tweaked his elbow and is considered day-to-day. Until we get further information, I will not speculate as to what he is dealing with at the moment. 

Overall, while the list does look long, with QB Derek Anderson ruled out, TE Charles Clay is doubtful, and those questionable include: C Russell Bodine, CB Taron Johnson, DE Shaq Lawson, and DE Trent Murphy. Clay will not play and even if he somehow suits up, he will not be effective. Those questionable that I expect to play are Murphy and Johnson. We do not know whether Bodine or Lawson are ready to play based on the fact that we do not know the extent of their injuries. If they do indeed sit out, this fits with the roughly 50% of questionable’s not playing this year. I do have a feeling Lawson will be available.

With injuries beginning to take their toll, this is also the time of year where we begin to see players go on IR quickly if they have an injury that will take longer to heal than the remainder of the season so that the team can roster healthy players or guys they want to take a longer look at in game action. Do not be surprised if we see players such as QB Derek Anderson and CB Taron Johnson go on IR in the near future so they can fully address their medical complaints in order to be healthy next season.

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

Week 5 Bills Injury Preview- Titans

Dissecting the latest injuries prior to the AFC matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

The Bills roll into Orchard Park with a 1-3 record and much to play for when they host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. While it is quickly becoming a reality that this team will not look like last year’s surprise playoff team; the fan base is still hoping that there are some positives that can be squeezed out of this season.

According to Friday’s injury report, no one has been ruled out prior to Sunday’s game. Three players have been ruled questionable including: S Rafael Bush (shoulder), S Micah Hyde (groin), and TE Charles Clay (ankle).

Reviewing video, Hyde’s injury was fairly straight forward, pulling his left groin midway through the 1st quarter attempting go upfield and get involved with the play, coming up lame. He was on the injury report the prior week with a toe injury but this is not something that would have caused compensation patterns leading to the injury. He simply performed a football move and it caught him. While he is questionable, he has not practiced all week which historically is not favorable when predicting whether he will play Sunday. He will realistically need at least one more week before he can even consider playing in a game. Expect him to miss this Sunday.

S Rafael Bush injured his shoulder on the last play of the 1st quarter tackling RB Aaron Jones out of bounds. He injured his left shoulder when he got spun around off Jones, falling directly onto his shoulder without having the ability to brace for the fall. He was able to play the rest of the game but was not really directly involved in many plays regarding physical contact after that. His injury was not immediately apparent until reported on the injury report Tuesday. I believe he suffered an AC joint sprain or possible contusion to the general area. Other possibility of a SC joint sprain, though less likely. Typical mechanisms of injury are similar to what was described above; a direct blow to his shoulder. Considering that he was able to play the rest of the game, but take the entire week of practice off suggests that it is a mild sprain/contusion that may take a week to heal.

From my previous article from the Tampa Bay game last year, edited for relevancy:

“On average, the Grade 1 shoulder sprain that Bush possibly could have sustained typically takes 9.8 days to fully recover from according to Dr. David Geier. He will be at day 7 by kickoff Sunday, which may affect his ability.”

It’s possible that he could play, but not practicing all week may have allowed him to heal in order to play, but more realistically, he is not quite ready for contact. Like Hyde, he was unable to practice which almost certainly seals his fate.

TE Charles Clay suffered an ankle injury that on film did not appear serious. He had a Packers defender falling to the ground and fell into Clay’s ankle while he was trying to get out of the way. He was able get the ankle taped up, continue playing and finish the game. It appeared that he got his ankle rolled up on or tweaked as a result. While he was limited Wednesday, did not practice Thursday, he was able to practice in full Friday which is a strong indicator that he will play. In addition to the ankle, he is also dealing with previous shoulder and hip issues from the previous game. He is also a veteran and requires more maintenance which is why he is unable to practice during the week yet play Sunday’s. I would expect him to suit up to be QB Josh Allen’s safety valve.

Other injuries on the report include RB Marcus Murphy (rib), and DE Shaq Lawson (hamstring). Murphy appears to have a generalized rib injury that cost him last week but it appears healed enough to perform this week. Hopefully it is a contusion that continues to heal rather than a broken rib. Lawson missed two games with his hamstring strain and while he did play the entire game, he may have developed soreness as a result, requiring conservative maintenance on it so as to not further irritate the healing tissues. While it is possible to re-injure the area, giving it rest through the week gives him the best shot to play at 100% Sunday.

Others dealing with injury but did not make the injury report: RB LeSean McCoy (ribs/hand), CB Taron Johnson (shoulder), and CB Phillip Gaines (elbow). McCoy has been dealing with cracked rib cartilage that is physically impossible to be healed yet which still limits him despite what he says otherwise. However, reports indicated that he injured his left hand with it visibly wrapped up after the game. Film review was inconclusive whether he suffered any particular injury. To note, he was able to demonstrate effective ball safety, gripping the ball in each hand respectively without compensation during his limited playing time.

CB Taron Johnson has been a bright spot in the defense 4 games into his rookie year. However, he continues to deal with a shoulder injury that appears to be a torn labrum in his right shoulder. This is evident with the use of visible bracing on the right side, he continually injures the area on hard hits but is quicker to return in the game, and the original mechanism of injury. He can continue to play on the shoulder but eventually he may require surgery for long term correction. Until then, he has altered his tackling style, he is wearing bracing, and I’m certain he is doing rehab to strengthen the surrounding muscles around the joint in order to get through the season.

Finally, CB Phillip Gaines is coming off a right dislocated elbow that forced him to miss one game. However, he was inactive despite practicing in full the week of the Packers game which indicated that he may have been held out due to personnel needs rather than injury. Regardless of reason, the extra time off allowed him to heal even more and he may not require any bracing given the time frame.

Overall, anticipate Hyde and most likely Bush to miss the Titans game with Clay playing with several nagging injuries. These thoughts are further solidified with the signing of S Dean Marlowe and releasing TE Khari Lee. This indicates that at least one safety is certain to miss and the thinning of the TE depth chart indicates Clay is playing. The others mentioned above are expected to play but have injuries that do not require treatment by training staff but could still limit their effectiveness. This game should allow the Bills to get their first home win of the season and move to 2-3 to maintain some level of respectability in the AFC.

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