Week 3 Bills Injury Recap- Vikings

Dissecting the latest injuries coming out of the Bills win over the Vikings.

Wow, all I can say is, wow! That was quite the performance by both QB Josh Allen and the entire Bills squad as they came in as one of the biggest underdogs in recent memory and blew the Vikings out of the water in their own stadium. While I did predict a loss and many others did, I am quite okay with the results. This win gives true meaning to the term “Any Given Sunday”. As the Bills walk away with a gigantic “W”, letting the NFL know they are not dead in the water, they also walk away with minimal injuries. Today’s post will identify injuries sustained in the game and what this means going forward.

The biggest injury to come out of Sunday’s win is DE Trent Murphy (ankle). The veteran end from Washington in some fan’s eyes has been a disappointment so far after missing the entire preseason with a groin injury with lackluster performances in the 1st two weeks. However, as he has rounded into game shape, his presence was felt in the most recent game with a sack, forced fumble, and two tackles. He continually provided pressure against Minnesota’s woeful O-line which prevented QB Kirk Cousins from showing why he earned that massive contract in the off season.

Murphy sustained a right ankle injury late in the 4th quarter with the game already in hand. During the play, he was in the backfield when one of the Vikings offensive lineman got knocked down and rolled into his ankle. The mechanism initially appeared to favor a high ankle sprain due to him falling down with his foot twisted out. However, it appears that the ankle was merely rolled up on, causing a what appears to be a minor sprain which during Monday’s presser was termed as “day-to-day”. This indicates that this is not severe, he should be available Sunday, and there is no long term damage. To note: this is his right ankle he injured; he tore his left ACL last season. Injuries to the contralateral side can and do occur after major injury such as an ACL, but I believe this is a garden variety sprain and he could be back next week.

Others dealing with injury are CB Taron Johnson (shoulder) and CB Ryan Lewis (cramps). Johnson injured his right shoulder during a tackle in the 3rd quarter, similar to the hit that ended his day in Baltimore. Upon getting up, it was observed that Johnson was wearing a shoulder harness which typically is indicated for shoulder instability. I believe this is the direct result from the Ravens game and reason why he re-injured his shoulder Sunday. I had originally considered the possibility that he injured his AC joint, resulting in a sprain, or suffering a partially dislocated shoulder or subluxation. Reviewing film again, Johnson moves his arm freely walking off the field in Week 1. In Week 3, Johnson was able to return to playing but the hard hits continued to take its toll.

I believe Johnson sprained his AC joint during the initial tackle in Week 1 and is still dealing with some instability. AC joints can and do heal up quicker but still take their required time to rest. That is the most favorable result based on the initial injury. If he suffered a torn labrum via subluxation, he could still play but he may realize that he is not effective, eventually leading him to surgery. However, it is really difficult to determine without further information at this time. I am obviously hoping for the former.

CB Ryan Lewis never had a specific injury identified by the team but I believe that he was dealing with cramping initially as was C Russell Bodine and WR Kelvin Benjamin earlier in the game. However, Lewis went down again late in the game for what appeared to be unknown reasons. During the play, he changed direction suddenly and took a hard step on his right foot and appeared to be favoring it as he jogged into where the play ended. He was standing up, motioning to the training staff before getting down on his hands and knees while he was tended to.  Whether this means anything is to be seen. He may show up on the injury report with some type of ailment such as a calf or ankle or it may have just been fatigue. This was his first NFL game action, he had already been dealing with cramps, and the intensity of his first game plus nerves may have tired him out quicker. They say the game moves even faster at that level; it would stand to reason it requires more thought which could lead to greater fatigue. I do not expect any long term issues.

Other than the above mentioned injuries, those coming off injury appeared to have no ill effects. WR Ray-Ray McCloud was able to make his NFL debut and field at least one punt return for some yardage. It was observed that he wells wearing bracing on the left knee to give medial/lateral support supporting the notion that he had a knee sprain. This was most likely due to requiring extra support to the previously injured knee in the preseason win over the Bears. I do not see this being an issue moving forward with him ditching the brace soon.

Others coming off injury include RB Taiwan Jones. Previously mentioned, he suffered the nasty gash to his forehead in the loss to the Chargers. It appears that his wound was healed up enough in order to play without issue. His wound will only continue to heal without any further issues.

Even with the above mentioned injuries, the Bills continue to show strong depth which allows them to stay competitive in games. The Bills should be able to come in healthier against the Packers next week and set themselves up to steal another win from the NFC North.

Continue to follow 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 http://www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 3 Bills Injury Preview- Vikings

Assessing the latest injuries going into the Week 3 matchup against the Vikings.

The Bills travel to Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday and they could be without several key starters which will already hurt their poor chances for a victory. Today’s post will review the injuries going into the game, who could be expected to play, and how this affects the Bills overall.

Already ruled out is DE Shaq Lawson (hamstring). The 3rd year end suffered a hamstring strain in the 4th quarter of the season opener against the Ravens chasing down QB Joe Flacco. Since then, Lawson has not been able to practice, already missing one game. Unfortunately, strains such as hamstrings are common in early season games that reduce in frequency as the season progresses. It is possible Lawson returns to playing next week against the Packers based on expected healing time frames but no guarantee.

Those ruled questionable include RB Taiwan Jones (head), RB LeSean McCoy (ribs), WR Ray-Ray McCloud (knee), CB Phillip Gaines (elbow), and CB Taron Johnson (shoulder). Out of this group, I expect McCloud and Johnson to play based on their previous injuries and time frame to rehab. Recapping, McCloud injured his left knee in the preseason win over the Bears and Johnson injured his right shoulder during the season opener. McCloud’s knee appears to be a sprain and possibly the same goes for Johnson with his shoulder. Both have had an opportunity to recover and the fact that they both practiced in full Friday gives me hope that they will be available.

McCoy, Gaines, and Jones are less likely to play, though if this were later in the season, could be available to play. As mentioned last week, McCoy suffered a rib cartilage injury when C Ryan Groy fell on him towards the end of the play. While this injury is slow to heal due to a poor blood supply and covers a wider area than a broken rib would, he can still play in the face of it all. However, teams will be keying for him despite protective padding which could end his day early. I do not believe he should play in order to give his body the ability to rest, but he may try suiting up anyway. If he can’t go, RB Chris Ivory and RB Marcus Murphy will carry the load.

CB Phillip Gaines suffered a dislocated elbow during a tackle which required training staff to reduce the dislocation. He was reported to have heavy protective padding on the right elbow and was limited in practice this week. He could hypothetically play Sunday as the elbow joint is very stable when it comes to movement, but soft tissue in the area along with corresponding muscles may make playing difficult due to limited range of motion due to swelling/pain, reducing his effectiveness. He would essentially be a one armed cornerback. It would be best to let his elbow rest one more week before attempting to play due to the nature of the position.

Finally, RB Taiwan Jones suffered that gruesome cut to his forehead in the end zone during Sunday’s loss. Fortunately, he did not suffer a concussion but just the cut which required stitches. He could also play but even with a helmet, a hard hit could re-open that wound and cause further complications. While his loss on special teams will be felt, one week off will allow him to come back 100% next week.

Overall, expect Johnson and McCloud to play, expect Gaines and Jones to miss, and for McCoy to attempt to play though he may be overall ineffective. While this was one of the more injurious weeks for the Bills in recent seasons, they still have the appropriate depth right now to stay competitive. Once the starters go down for long periods of time as in previous seasons, then the Bills will truly be in trouble. As a realistic Bills fan, I am not expecting a win against the Vikings as they are considered a Super Bowl contender this year, I still expect a competitive game from the Bills as they attempt to find their identity for the 2018 season. If they play how they did in the 2nd half of the Chargers game, things may be okay. I do not expect the Bills to roll over like they did against the Ravens.

This wraps up the injury preview for Sunday’s game. Continue to check back for the latest injury 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 http://www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 2 Bills Injury Review- Chargers

Breaking down the latest injuries following the Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Different week, same result. Another loss to the Chargers sends the Buffalo Bills to 0-2 on the season and more questions remain. Fortunately, the Bills began to look like a real NFL team in the 2nd half, holding the Chargers to just 3 points while scoring 14. Regrettably, the hole they dug in the first half down 28-6 was just too much to overcome. In addition to the poor outcome, several players found their way to the injury report with varying degrees of injury. Today’s post will assess the injuries sustained in the game and what this means going forward.

First point I would like to address before the injuries is the sudden retirement of CB Vontae Davis. As everyone by now knows, Davis “retired” at halftime and left the stadium, leaving the Bills a man down and questioning his motives. He has since stated that he felt he could no longer play up to his standard and knew when it was time to be done. He has his reasons for doing that and well, it’s his decision. Personally, this is not something I would do nor do I believe it is the right decision to make in the middle of a game. However, he made his decision, he’s sticking to it, and I believe that the coaching staff, the team, and fans all want players who want to play for this team to be there 100%. I wish Vontae the best in his retirement and the Bills can move forward without him.

First injury up is CB Phillip Gaines who suffered a dislocated elbow late in the 1st quarter. He suffered the dislocation during a tackle and came up having difficulty moving his right arm. He was observed requiring support to the forearm area walking off to the medical tent to have further assessment. Upon video review, he dislocated his elbow when he attempted to tackle RB Melvin Gordon. Quick anatomy review, the elbow is made up of 3 bones: the ulna, radius, and humerus. The ulna is the bony portion of the elbow that articulates with the humerus and fits rather snugly in against the humerus acting as a hinge joint. The radius is a lesser bone of the elbow but provides forearm support and motion to the wrist during rotation.

As he began wrapping the ankles up, his elbow hit the ground while Gordon continued to run forward, creating a rotational force which caused the ulna to dislodge either posteriorly or medially from the humerus and appeared to stay dislocated. This was why the training staff needed to support the area with his inability to bend the elbow. At some point later, they were able to successfully reduce the elbow and wrap it for protection and swelling management. The picture below describes the types of elbow dislocations including the posterior and medial dislocations mentioned above.

Elbow dislocation.jpg
Credit: www.orthopaedicsone.com

While this does sound rather gruesome, it is probably one of the best joints to dislocate for quick recovery as once the joint is reduced, it can regain normal function due to the makeup of the joint being as stable as it is compared to a shoulder or ankle which has much more mobility. There is no word yet on whether there was other damage that occurred but Gaines return to the lineup seems relatively hopeful. These types of injuries require 1-3 weeks to rest and recover along with rehab to increase motion and maintain swelling. He may be ready/forced to play against the Vikings unless the Bills make roster moves to address the depth with the loss of CB Vontae Davis. It does help that CB Taron Johnson should be back next week in order to fill the gaps.

Next up is RB Taiwan Jones who suffered a very hard hit to his forehead on a play whistled dead in the end zone off of a muffed punt midway through the 3rd quarter. During the recovery, Jones lost his helmet and while attempting to keep the play alive, got struck by a Chargers defender, drawing what looked to be a gash on his head, dropping him to the ground. When he got up, there was visible blood on his head wrap and he appeared to be in pain. He was taken back to the locker room for a concussion evaluation which later reports indicated that he did not suffer a concussion. Reports also mentioned that he had a CT scan of the head to assess for skull fractures. Thankfully, it appears that he only suffered a rather large gash on his head which required stitches to close up. Depending on how the wound is healing, it may be possible that he can play next week but more likely he would miss no more than a week so that he may let the skin fully heal. Brutal injury, but positive outcome.

Finally, RB LeSean McCoy suffered what was initially reported left broken ribs late in the 3rd quarter due to C Ryan Groy falling on top of McCoy after he had been tackled. The veteran back appeared to leave the game and return only to leave again later and ruled questionable with a rib injury. Reports came out that he suffered broken cartilage in the ribs which can be more difficult to manage than a single broken rib. The chest is made up of ribs that act as a cage around the vital organs such as heart and lungs and provide structural support for the abdominal wall and upper extremities. Connecting these ribs together is cartilage, a firm but pliable tissue that allows the rib cage to move with breathing motions and adapt to movement. This is the same type of cartilage that makes up your ears and nose. In the picture below, the blue tissue is the rib cartilage that McCoy fractured on the left side near the lower portion that connect the false ribs to the sternum.

Anterior-View-with-description_1.jpg
Credit: acuteinnovations.com

Unfortunately for McCoy, rib cartilage breaks are more difficult to manage as this tissue helps attach the ribs together and to the sternum or breastbone. So instead of one isolated rib, the pain can be all over the injured area, leading to greater deficits. As with most other tissues in the body, the cartilage will heal and pain will be reduced. Rib cartilage takes between 3-4 months to heal completely as it does not have a good blood supply which means it’s slower to heal. McCoy does not have this type of time frame to work with considering the NFL season. However, with proper bracing and pain management, he can play through this injury. However, all upcoming defenses are now aware of this and may try to target that area to knock him out of games quicker. He may benefit from a week off to get more rest so that he can play with greater effectiveness in future games.

Overall, the Bills did not suffer a lot of injuries, but the ones that did occur were rather moderate. All 3 players could come back to play next week if need be, but may benefit from at least 1 week’s rest in order to heal more effectively. As always, it comes down to whether the training staff, ownership, and the player have to agree that they are able to play.

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

Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- RB/FB

Season ending review of the Buffalo Bills backfield and implications for next season.

The Buffalo Bills had a variety of personnel in the backfield this year which leaves many questions regarding roster turnover for next year. Many factors go into these decisions based on production, salary, and injuries. Today’s post will address the RB/FB positions for the Buffalo Bills

This past season, there were 6 running back/fullback’s listed on the roster that saw playing time. Starting off, RB Marcus Murphy appeared in one game against the Miami Dolphins in relief for LeSean McCoy due to his sprained ankle. The most recent backfield addition thankfully suffered no injuries during his short stint with the team and showed the ability to play in the NFL. His future with the team remains murky at best as he is an unrestricted free agent and there is a dearth of talent at the position ahead of him.

Next up is RB Taiwan Jones. Jones actually never saw a carry in the RB position, instead was targeted 2 times resulting in 1 reception for 11 yards. Most of his game action occurred on special teams which unfortunately ended his season. The 7th year back broke his forearm during an onside kick return during the Week 9 loss to the Jets. Along with the fracture, Jones dealt with a knee injury early in the season that did not cause him to miss any time. Jones is also an unrestricted free agent and while his forearm is not concerning, his age and effectiveness may leave him without a team during the off season.

Travaris Cadet headlines the next RB in this post. Cadet as you may recall, suffered a traumatic left ankle fracture and dislocation during a routine play against the Patriots. Up to that point, Cadet was an effective change of pace back who allowed McCoy to stay fresh through games. Surgically, Cadet had his ankle relocated and then had a plate with screws inserted to stabilize the area. A typical rehab protocol allocates for 12+ weeks to return to walking, but may take much longer to return to full game speed. Cadet also suffered a concussion in December prior to the ankle which did not cause him to miss time. The 6th year journeyman is an unrestricted free agent and with a long recovery time factored in, his ability to recover fully will determine whether he has a roster spot next season.

Another back who saw no time in the backfield is RB Joe Banyard. The veteran back only saw time on special teams and while he does not have the carries that similar backs have at his age, he does not appear to be able to carry a workload for a NFL team. As he is a free agent right now, I do not see him on the roster for next year.

Patrick DiMarco was used sparingly in the offense this year at the fullback position. While he only saw 2 attempts for -2 yards, he saw some time in the receiving game and as a blocking fullback. DiMarco saw injuries to his ankle during the Kansas City game but did not miss any time. The 6th year fullback may find himself back on this roster next year as he was signed for 4 years for $8.4 million dollars.

The back who saw the most time in the backup role is Pro Bowl FB Mike Tolbert. The 10th year veteran carried the rock 66 attempts for 247 yards and one TD. He became the ire of the fan base due to his use during 3rd and long with short passes or runs that shut down offensive drives. Analyzing his injury complaints, he suffered a knee injury early in the season and sustained a moderate hamstring strain that sidelined him for 3 games. While he was able to return for the Colts game, he appeared to be limited until the regular season finale. Hamstring strains and tears not managed correctly can continue to limit players through the season. With the off-season to recover, he should not have any recurring issues, but his use in the offense and an unrestricted free agent determines whether he returns next season.

Finally, RB LeSean McCoy, the engine of the Bills offense continues to climb up the rushing ranks past the all time greats. Fortunately, McCoy only had a variety of minor injuries through the season which did not affect his production. The only significant injury McCoy sustained was a sprained ankle in the season finale against the Dolphins which did not limit his productiveness in the Wild Card loss against the Jaguars. Other issues McCoy dealt with included wrist, groin, and knee injuries in addition to illness that did not force him to miss any time.

McCoy has been incredibly resilient during this season & career but is approaching his age 30 season. As history has shown, many running backs begin to suffer decline in production around this time and McCoy is no exception. Those that have rushed for 1000 yard seasons after their age 30 season have seen a drop in production 1-2 years afterward. For those that rushed for over 1000 yards either did not accumulate the yards early in their careers or they were true outliers. I expect to see McCoy return to the starting RB role next season and continue to produce for the short window he has left.

While none of these small injuries are concerning for long term, that long term wear and tear adds up and he will eventually decline. With McCoy’s production both on the ground and in the receiving game, he is vital to the Bills successes. However, the Bills are aware of this and will hopefully address the backfield in the off season. As much as both McCoy and the Bills would like to remain productive, it is inevitable that he will decline in ability and relinquish his role.

Outside of McCoy and DiMarco, I expect this backfield to be turned over with fresh legs and develop the next running back for the Bills. As I am not an expert in roster management and salary cap issues, it’s possible that others from this article find their way back to the roster as depth players. The Bills do have RB Aaron Green on a futures contract but is not guarantee to make the team next season. Injury wise, everyone can come back healthy with proper rehab and time, but it will all depend on personnel needs.

I did not forget Kyle Williams contribution of his memorable rushing touchdown during the season finale. As this was atypical, I will not categorize him in with the RB’s, but give him the words and thoughts he deserves during his position review. Continue to check back with me for the latest updates on Bills injuries and season reviews. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 11 Injury Breakdown- Chargers

Detailing the injuries prior to the LA Chargers game.

The Bills continue to make moves that make the fan base question the process. Sean McDermott benched starting QB Tyrod Taylor in favor of rookie QB Nathan Peterman, this year’s 5th round draft pick. This is curious as the Bills are sitting in the last wild card spot, owning a 5-4 record, and create many questions about the reason behind the decision. However, unless you’ve been under a rock, Tyrod has been awful the past 2 games against the Jets and Saints, exposing the Bills as a possible playoff pretender and into a potential free fall. With the Chargers game coming up and the season potentially slipping away, I do applaud the Bills for attempting to make a change instead of running with a system that is shaky as best and awful at worst. Whatever the decision is, I will trust the process. I believe in year’s past, changes would have not been made and success would have continued to elude this team.

Despite the Bills making this big change behind center, today’s post will once again be focused on the injury report, which unsurprisingly, grows longer as the season progresses. Starting off, LB Lorenzo Alexander, DT Kyle Williams, G Richie Incognitio, and RB LeSean McCoy did not practice yesterday due to a veteran rest day. TE Charles Clay (knee) was limited in practice due to a knee issue which I am quite confident that is related to the original injury that kept him out prior to this game. He is possibly dealing with some mild swelling due to the recent surge in activity, but I do not believe that he re-injured the knee. From my vantage point, it did appear that he was wearing some prophylactic bracing under his pants during the game as expected to decrease the injury risk.

Others not practicing today includes OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), K Stephen Hauschka (right hip) and RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring). There is no surprise with Glenn as he has been dealing with his injuries all season. Tolbert is dealing with a hamstring injury which is unknown in severity. I did not see him leave the game or was limited with any of his runs. Hopefully this is not a long term issue as has been the issue with E.J. Gaines.

Hauschka did not practice secondary to a sore right hip which is the leg he kicks with. As Hauschka only deals with kickoffs and field goals, there is limited ability and time for him to injure his hip. Thankfully, kickers do not have to practice much so missing a day is not concerning. The Bills do not have any kickers on the practice squad, but training camp kicker Austin Rehkow is still a free agent and may be an option if Hauschka is unable to go Sunday.

Hughes did not practice yesterday and was limited today, but has been reclassified as a shin/calf injury which does open the door for a variety of other injuries including calf strain, foot flexor tendon injury, or a soleus strain. Considering that his position requires so much energy to push off around the edge, it is common to see a calf strain from time to time. If not managed correctly, this could develop into a tendonitis and could lead to further damage, but the training staff will not let it get to that. As Hughes is also a veteran, limiting him in practice may have been proactive to ensure proper rest and rehab.

Others limited in practice are WR Jordan Matthews (knee) and G John Miller (ankle). Miller is an interesting addition as he has not been active for several games with the recent improved play from G Vlad Ducasse. It is unknown what Miller is dealing with and the fact that he has not been active doesn’t warrant any concern.

Matthews is a new addition to the report after dealing with a thumb fracture earlier this season. There has not been any reports that he sustained any damage or had to leave early but there is concern for a re-aggravation of the knee tendonitis that he was dealing with when in Eagles training camp this season. Tendonitis is an issue that can continue to rear it’s ugly head even after clearing up the original symptoms. Tendonitis is an overuse injury due to repeated microtrauma to the area. If you would like to read more on the issue, please check out my previous article.

When dealing with tendonitis, this is something that a time frame can’t be definitively placed on. He could deal with this the rest of the season or could clear up with proper rehab and rest. This is something that can be played through, but pain may limit the ability to play at full strength.

Finally, WR Zay Jones and CB E.J. Gaines were full participants at practice which is an excellent sign. I originally thought that Jones sustained a high ankle sprain based on the mechanism of his injury during the Jets game, however, it appears he avoided this diagnosis. I did note that I believed that he may have sustained a regular ankle sprain as part of the differential diagnosis. Either way, Zay continues to progress back sooner than expected and this will be an extra weapon for Peterman come Sunday. As a disclaimer, I am only as good as the video available and the reports that surface.

As for Gaines, the fact that he is at full practice on a Thursday indicates that he will be starting Sunday. After seeing what the Saints did to the Bills defense this past Sunday, he is a welcome addition. As of right now, he is at a very high risk for re-injury due to his recent injuries and style of play, but if he is healthy, there is no reason that he is unable to contribute to the secondary.

As stated multiple times this season, the Bills continue to avoid the major injury bug. The Bills have four players on IR: TE Keith Towbridge, S Colt Anderson, RB Taiwan Jones, and WR Jerry Butler. This isn’t a group of players that strike fear into any team. They are still in better shape than other teams and while the team is not performing as expected, the depth that has been there since the beginning of training camp will be key down the stretch if they continue to be in the hunt for that long elusive playoff spot.

As a fan, I’m disappointed in how the team has played the past two games despite the hot start. I will still trust the process and know that McDermott is making decisions to better the current situation. I know complaining won’t change the current situation but will continue to have opinions because we are all entitled to that. If the Bills lose to the Chargers Sunday, then the season may be over. If they win, we’ll see what happens. The Drought has to end sometime, with how this season has been going, why not roll the dice?

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

Week 9 Recap- Jets & Zay’s Knee

Analysis of Zay Jones’ knee injury, Taiwan’s forearm, and a recap following the Jets game.

Whether you are a Bills fan or not, reading this, Thursday night was not a good game. Period. The offense never got moving until it was too late, the defense made Josh McCown look fantastic, and the Bills let one slip through their fingers. They’re now 5-3, 1 game back in the AFC East and currently holding the 1st wild card spot. Despite what the Bills fan base says after this loss, the sky is not falling. Every divisional game every year is a grind it out close game due to rivalry and pride. At the end of the day, the Bills came up short and now we will see how they respond. Last time they started 5-2, they lost 7 straight games. I don’t think this team is capable of a losing streak of that magnitude, but many men before me have been wrong.
Getting down to the injury side of things, it was one of the more rougher nights for the Bills this season. Several key players were returning from injury on a short week and several more key players sustained injury. First up is RB LeSean McCoy. McCoy injured his groin on the first offensive series of the game and had to leave briefly. McCoy was able to return shortly afterward but anyone could tell that he wasn’t the same. He lacked explosiveness, inability to cut hard, and unable to move the ball, rushing for only 25 yards. McCoy is the engine to our offense and if he goes down, then losses to the Jets are what happen. I don’t believe this will be a lingering issue as he was able to play the entire game and he has 10 days to rest. To add, he was able to run and perform some cutting, but lost the explosiveness he is known for. I would categorize this as a Grade 1 groin strain which should heal with proper management.
Next injury is WR Zay Jones. Jones suffered a right knee injury after being tripped late in the 2nd quarter. While trying to regain his footing and preventing falling down, Jones stepped awkwardly and hyperextended his knee, falling to the ground immediately. Upon initial observation, one may think ACL. The mechanism for injury was there but Jones avoided that. It appears as though he sustained a hyperextended knee, similar to what Bryce Harper sustained during this past MLB season. It is unknown whether he sustained a bone bruise similar to Harper but further evaluation is required.

Jones was remarkably able to return and play the rest of the game, hauling in several more passes before being injured again in the 4th quarter. There are several reasons why Jones was able to avoid the dreaded ACL tear. First, the knee acts as a hinge, similar to what is seen in a door. The knee bends and extends fully but with various forces, can go past their normal limits. In Jones case, his knee extended further than typically what is available. This injury happened due to the fact that he planted his right foot, attempting to stay upright while falling forward, leading to the joint to give.
Jones avoided a worse injury due to the fact that he was falling forward as he was planting his leg. His ankle joint was able to absorb some of the force, with the foot initially going into plantarflexion or pointed downward to stabilize as his knee was bending back. Thankfully, his foot did come up off the turf into dorsiflexion or bending up as he fell forward. Had his foot been stuck more in the turf or been hit directly through the knee, the injury would have been worse. Finally, it helps that he was not able to pivot to change directions laterally, leading to preservation of the ACL. In injuries such as this, there is concern for the PCL which prevents the knee from going backwards like that, but as he was able to return, it does not appear that he tore the PCL. There is concern for a PCL sprain or bone bruise upon further examination, but with the extended break, it may be inconsequential. As there is no updated information at this time noting severity, it is unknown whether he will miss any time. Chances are he won’t, but too early to tell. Either way, Zay Jones caught a very lucky break Thursday.
I’m overall surprised that he was able to return to the game and continue to run effectively after the injury. I believe that our medical staff would not put a player back out there that could risk further injury especially at a high level position. I did observe him wearing a compression sleeve but no bulky bracing which will assist for any swelling but provide minimal support.
Finally, Taiwan Jones got injured while trying to recover an onside kick late in the 4th quarter. Upon getting up to a seated position, the medical staff was supporting Jones’ left elbow indicating possible elbow injury or shoulder. Replays show that his arm got caught up in the pile and a helmet crashing into his forearm during the onside recovery. Unfortunately, reports indicated that Taiwan Jones fractured his forearm and will be done for the season.
A fracture is quite simple in terms of injury severity. A bone is broken at some point in the structure leading to instability and significant pain. Jones did not sustain a fracture which protruded through the skin which allows for the management to be more conservative. He will possibly require surgery depending on the severity and complexity of the fracture. He could hypothetically come back if they pushed recovery, but it is a bigger bone compared to what Jordan Matthews and Ramon Humber sustained and would require extra stability. Had this been McCoy or Taylor, it may be considered to push for a return. While Jones is an important part of the team, he is not what drives the offense. Placing him on IR will allow the Bills to bring in a new player to gain experience to provide depth and try out for next year.
As the Bills have an extended break between games, this allows these injuries to have a greater chance to get healthy with the exception of Taiwan Jones. As I’ve said before, no NFL team is immune from injury. The Bills are doing incredibly well with avoiding serious injury. However, despite that luck, the Bills still have to win those games that are winnable to turn things around for long term success. Going into the Saints game, while their offense continues to be high powered, their defense is suspect and will be playing at New Era Stadium which will provide a favorable atmosphere for the Bills to go 5-0 at home.

It has been reported that TE Charles Clay and CB E.J. Gaines should be returning from injury. It is surprising that Clay is able to return quicker than originally thought, but is a welcome addition. Gaines returning will provide an immediate upgrade to our secondary that without him, may be exploited by Drew Brees and the Saints.

Continue to check back for updates and new articles regarding Bills injuries and other topics of interest. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!

Week 5 Injury Breakdown- Bengals

Assessing the latest injuries prior to the showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals and how it affects depth.

The injury list continues to grow for the Buffalo Bills heading into the Week 5 match up against the Cincinnati Bengals. While the only notable players that are sure to be out are LB Ramon Humber and WR Jordan Matthews, there are still many others that are dealing with injuries. Most of these injuries appear to be players getting banged up due to the rigors of the NFL season.

Today’s article will review most everyone that has appeared on the injury list this week and attempt to determine the true severity of each player’s injury. Staring off with players who have not been limited in practice with injuries are as follows: RB LeSean McCoy (wrist), RB Mike Tolbert (thumb), and DT Jerel Worthy (thumb). It was observed that Mike Tolbert injured his hand at the end of the 3rd quarter which led to a fumble that Buffalo recovered. It is unknown how Jerel Worthy injured his thumb, but it was injured enough to appear on the injury report. Both players most likely sustained sprained thumbs which will affect play, but with proper management which may consist of taping for stability or even a wrist brace to reduce risk for further re-injury.

McCoy continues to appear weekly on the injury report due to a nagging wrist injury sustained in the season opener. While he continues to be a full participant, it does worry me that he continues to re-injure this wrist. He has been observed leaving each game briefly due to wrist pain after running the ball. He appears to jam it while cradling the ball, leading to pain and possible weakness. He could tape the wrist or wear a brace, but this limits the ability to cradle the football and effectively block. I expect him to miss some time during the game due to wrist re-injury, but the upcoming bye week may allow him to get the rest he requires to prevent worsening of the injury.

Those limited in practice were WR Kaelin Clay (back), DT Marcell Dareus (ankle), CB E.J. Gaines (groin), OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), CB Shareece Wright (back), DE Eddie Yarbrough (thigh), DT Kyle Williams (thumb), S Micah Hyde (knee), and DE Shaq Lawson (groin). Glenn continues to deal with his chronic foot/ankle injuries and Dareus is still recovering from his sprained ankle, which is consistent with this type of injury. Lawson injured his groin last week in practice and missed the Atlanta game.

Kyle Williams thumb injury may be similar to Jerel Worthy’s injury in that it may have been sprained due to the hand fighting that a defensive lineman performs during each play, getting the thumb hyperextended or caught. Williams is tough as nails and won’t let something like this slow him down. Shareece Wright and Kaelin Clay’s back injuries are injuries that not much information is available. This may be something that occurred during practice or something that is nagging. Considering that the spine is made up of bones, ligaments, and tendon attachments, it is quite possible they pulled a muscle, over rotated, or extended; causing pain and difficulty during tackling, running, and changing direction.

Eddie Yarbrough and Taiwan Jones also have little information regarding the nature of their injuries. These may be just contusions and limit the ability to go full speed, but do not concern me about underlying issues. Yarbrough continues to be a diamond in the rough, playing exceptionally well and Jones handles kickoff duties, which affect more game play rather than another body on the sidelines.

Finally, E.J. Gaines and Micah Hyde are questionable along with Cordy Glenn and Shareece Wright. As mentioned last article, Gaines’ groin severity is unknown at this moment, the team may take the approach that they did with Lawson last week and see how he feels going into the game, shutting him down if things don’t feel right. Micah Hyde is dealing with a knee injury that was not noted until Thursday afternoon. It was initially reported that he was dealing with general soreness which has since been narrowed down to a knee issue. This may be as simple as a sprain which he needs to rehab correctly or it may be something worse that the team wants to see how it responds before taking further action. Without video, it is impossible to speculate what specific injury may be ailing him. Losing Hyde going into the Bengals game will be a huge loss in the secondary considering the offensive weapons the Bengals have and several injuries already in the Buffalo secondary.

If this game were to be a non-conference opponent, I expect more players to be out include the above mentioned Glenn, Hyde, Wright, and Gaines. As the Bills would benefit from winning every game, it is more important to win the conference games if it comes down to tiebreakers at the end for playoff seeding. Excluding Gaines, I expect all the players listed above to play. Some of these players may see a limited snap count such as Dareus did last week. It remains to be seen if his snap count is limited secondary to discipline or whether they want to ensure that the ankle heals correctly. I am in favor of limiting snap counts in order to get the best players on the field.

I believe this game is winnable with the way the defense is playing, simple as that. How things play out with the questionable players, along with Ramon Humber’s and Jordan Matthews’ replacements will dictate the quality of play. McDermott and Beane have constantly been addressing depth and finding the type of players that fit their schemes, which in turn should reduce the drop off in quality of play dealing with replacement players.

Continue to check back for injury updates after the game and break down roster depth, injuries heading into the bye, and any injury highlights from around the league. Thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!