Bills Season Injury Review- Special Teams

Reviewing the injuries at the special teams unit & what the 2019 version may look like.

Training camp is here! After nearly 8 months of waiting, the Bills break for training camp on Thursday & we are one step closer to having meaningful Sunday’s again. Today’s article marks the finale of the positional reviews for the 2018 season. Special teams bringing up the rear and rounding out the remaining Bills players on the roster.

First up is LS Reid Ferguson. The now veteran snapper has made a nice home for himself in Buffalo, appearing in every game the last 2 seasons while not missing a snap and avoiding injury. While there are not many stats for long snappers, he did accumulate 3 total tackles, 2 solo, 1 assisted. He will be coming back this season as the most consistent special teams player and look to improve on their performance from last season.

P Matt Darr appeared in 5 games this past season, punting the ball 20 times for 809 yards. He also did not suffer any injuries but his time with the team was solely due to the injuries and inconsistencies at a normally stable punter position. Darr has since moved onto the New York Jets for the 2019 season.

P Colton Schmidt had two stints with the team, winning the job coming out of training camp before getting cut in favor of Bojorquez. However, Schmidt did get re-signed to the team for 3 games after Bojorquez went down with injury. He was able to make 16 punts for 676 yards during his brief time in Buffalo and avoid injury. He is currently a free agent but unlikely to return to Buffalo this coming season.

P Cory Carter missed all of last season with a torn ACL suffered in the Browns preseason game. This was the result of a Browns player running into Carter’s leg after he got the punt off, he was unable to land safely on his plant leg, the knee hyperextended and the ACL tore. Carter spent all of last season on IR but the team appeared to like him enough to bring him back to compete for the starting job this season. To note, he was the only Bills player to suffer an ACL tear last season.

Moving onto P Corey Bojorquez, he suffered a torn labrum during the Tennessee Titans game in which he attempted a botched fake field goal. While he was attempting to throw the ball, he was tackled and the force of his fully flexed arm led to a labral tear. He was able to play several more games before being shut down and sent to IR. Bojorquez appeared in 8 games, totaling 45 punts for 2028 yards & 1 block. He appears to be fully healthy coming into this season and should have a healthy competition with P Cory Carter for the starting job.

Next man up is RB Taiwan Jones. While he is listed as a running back, his mark was made on special teams. He appeared in 6 games, mostly returning punts until he suffered some sort of neck injury against the Houston Texans. I have reviewed film countless times and was unable to identify what the injury was. Whatever he was diagnosed with, he was sent to IR for the season but has since signed with Houston to bolster their special teams in 2019. To note, he did suffer a rather gruesome gash on his head as the result of a muffed punt against the Chargers where he took a direct hit from a helmeted player. Thankfully, he did not suffer a concussion and as far as we know, no lasting issues with the head wound.

Finally, K Stephen Hauschka rounds out the special teams unit. He appeared in all 16 games finishing 22/28 for a 78.4% FG percentage completion which is an all time low for the veteran kicker. He also made 25/26 extra point kicks for a 96.2% completion. However, to provide context, Hauschka was not the same kicker after he got blindsided by Jets DE Henry Anderson after a blocked FG on the last play in the 2nd half of the first meeting with the Jets. I had originally thought he suffered a hip pointer injury which could make kicking very difficult & painful which certainly affected his effectiveness the rest of the season. Looking back, there is reasonable questions on whether the Bills should have brought a different kicker in while Hauschka healed. But, as Hauschka is a veteran, he has learned how to take care of his body and with time and rest, this should not affect him going into this season. However, if he starts to slip, they team may want to move in a younger direction.

Overall, I expect Hauschka & Ferguson to be on the 2019 Bills roster with a fierce battle at the punter position taking place. Technically, Hauschka does have competition with UDFA K Chase McLaughlin, but it would take a horrendous preseason for McLaughlin to unseat the veteran. This should be a much improved unit with new ST coach Heath Farwell taking the reins and improving the overall special teams units in order to overcome the shortcomings that cost the Bills games last season.

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 8 Bills Injury Review- Patriots MNF

Read up on the latest injuries and news coming out of the Bills loss to the Patriots on MNF.

I want to be upset, but let’s face it, this loss was expected, even if it was on the national stage. The 25-6 loss to the Patriots leaves the Bills at 2-6 and with one of the worst records in the NFL. One of the bright spots of the night was former Bills great RB Thurman Thomas getting his #34 retired forever. It was an incredible ceremony for a truly special player. Unfortunately, along with the less than stellar record, the Bills suffered several key injuries which put the offense in even greater doubt heading into a Week 9 showdown with the Chicago Bears. Today’s post will review all the recent roster changes, injuries, and how these impact the Bills moving forward.

Recent personnel changes include P Corey Bojorquez (shoulder) and RB Taiwan Jones (neck) were sent to IR with their respective injuries. Bojorquez, if you recall, suffered a right shoulder injury in the failed field goal fake in the win over the Titans. I had suspected that he suffered a SLAP lesion which is short for superior labral tear from anterior to posterior. Basically, he tore his labrum which explains the shoulder brace that he had to wear the next several weeks. Expect him to get surgery to correct the tear and miss the rest of the season. This may have also been a way to stash a player they like on the roster for next season without releasing him. Jones continues to be a mystery, suffering a neck injury in the loss to the Texans, but as mentioned before, there was no mechanism of injury that I was able to observe during his time on the field which makes me wonder what he exactly did. It appears that this is a serious enough injury to warrant IR and I do not believe that he would be expected that he would be able to return. If new information is available, you will hear it here first.

As a result of the above mentioned going to IR, the Bills signed QB Matt Barkley, P Colton Schmidt, and WR Terrell Pryor. As you may recall, Schmidt was a member of the Bills from 2014-2017 until his release in 2018 prior to Week 1. As the result of Bojorquez’s injury, Schmidt comes back to a familiar special teams scheme. Barkley comes to the Bills as a free agent and will act as a backup in the event that QB Derek Anderson is not available. With Barkley’s signing, the team released CB Dontae Johnson who appeared in one game with no stats.

Finally, WR Terrell Pryor comes to the Bills via free agency after being released from the Jets with an injury settlement with a groin injury in Week 6. Over the past 2 seasons, Pryor has been injured with a deltoid ligament tear located in the medial ankle that eventually forced him to IR during his time in Washington. This injury led him to eventually sign with the Jets in the off-season. During off season workouts, Pryor broke his ankle which cost him most of training camp which eventually led to his limited role with the Jets and eventual release due to the previously mentioned groin strain. Pryor immediately upgrades the WR corps and adds a 3rd weapon for whoever is behind center come Sunday. While I do not believe his time in Buffalo will be long, he will hopefully add a new dimension to the offense in order to provide a spark. In the event that the Bills QB situation continues to be murky, he could provide another option behind center as he came into the league as a QB from Ohio State in 2011.

Reviewing injuries sustained in Monday’s loss include: LB Tremaine Edmunds (concussion), suffered a helmet to helmet hit on FB James Devlin with 10 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. He was able to finish out the half but had concussion like symptoms upon entering the locker room which led to his removal from the game. It may have been the Devlin hit or it could have been another routine play as he was heavily involved in the 1st half. Once he goes through the concussion protocol, he will be cleared but considering we are unable to identify the severity on film, only time will tell how he responds to recovery. In the event that Edmunds cannot start, LB Julian Stanford will get the start.

QB Derek Anderson (concussion) suffered his concussion with 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter on a sack from LB Kyle Van Noy with a clean tackle that forced Anderson’s head to appear to whiplash coming down which would have led to the concussion rather than a direct blow to the head. Similar to Edmunds, time will tell how he responds through the week. The above mentioned signing of QB Matt Barkley is insurance in the event that Anderson is not available Sunday. QB Nathan Peterman is slated to start in Anderson’s absence.

Finally, T Dion Dawkins suffered some time of ankle injury midway through the 3rd quarter according to the initial radio broadcast; however, reviewing film did not reveal any injury along with missed time and he was able to finish out the game. He did not show up on the injury report and this may be non-factor moving forward.

Overall, the Bills did have minimal injury coming out of Monday’s loss, however the uncertainty of the concussion’s of Edmunds and Anderson leaves the leaders of the defense and offense, respectively, in doubt. This team will have to scrape and claw for each and every win the rest of the season in order to just stay competitive. As a fan it is tough to see the front office staff punt this season away but their long term vision is much greater than one season and should lead to long term, sustained success.

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

Week 8 Bills Injury Preview- Patriots MNF

Brush up on the latest Bills injury news prior to the MNF game against the New England Patriots.

How things have changed! Two weeks ago, the Bills demonstrated a true rarity in today’s NFL: an injury report devoid of injury. Fast forward and they are beginning to show some cracks in their base heading into a huge matchup against the vaunted New England Patriots in a rare Monday night game in Western New York. Today’s post will dive into the injuries and how they impact Monday night.

Those already ruled out for Monday’s game are QB Josh Allen (elbow), DE Trent Murphy (knee), and RB Taiwan Jones (neck). Do not expect to see Allen before the bye and possibly until he is 100% which may be towards the very end of the season. Jones continues to be a mystery dealing with a neck injury that has prevented him from participating in any football activities since the Texans game. The only information I have found is that he suffered the neck injury during the Texans game which was finally revealed Thursday. As to what he is exactly dealing with remains unclear. I have reviewed film twice watching every special teams play and while Jones did get hit several times, he never required medical attention after the play, he was never slow to get up, and appeared in 71% of special teams plays which is near the top of the reps on special teams. If anyone out there sees something that I missed, I would look forward to that conversation.

Murphy is dealing with a right knee injury that he suffered late in the loss to the Colts which ended his day. I had speculated that he suffered a right MCL sprain and that still appears to be the case. There has not been any reports that he had to have any imaging or surgical procedures which indicate that this is indeed only a sprain. To note, his sprain is in the right knee; he tore the left ACL last year. As he has battled injury all season, the Bills should be cautious to rush him back. He would benefit from sitting out the next 3 games and using the bye to get back to 100% which would be a reasonable timeline for this type of injury. There would be concern if he came back too quickly that he could place undue stress on his left leg as a result or further injure his right leg leading to injured reserve. He should be able to come back healthy but time is not on his side.

Those limited in practice this week include RB LeSean McCoy (concussion), T Jordan Mills (knee), QB Derek Anderson (back/calf), & RB Chris Ivory (hamstring). We already know that Anderson will play Monday as he’s been named the starter and is limited due to shaking off the rust as he returns to form. Ivory suffered a left foot injury Sunday that does not appear to be an issue but suffered a hamstring strain on Wednesday that thankfully will not cause him to miss the game.

Mills has a knee injury that is new to Friday’s practice but does not appear to be a concern as he practiced in full on Saturday. Going forward, the big question is RB LeSean McCoy’s concussion suffered early in Sunday’s loss. He appears to be going through the concussion protocol very well, appearing to be in stage 4 or 5 of the 5 stage process, but still needs to be able to perform full contact and activity without reproduction of symptoms for 24 hours. While he was limited in practice, it is far from a guarantee that he will be cleared. Until the team says he’s clear, there is no way to speculate the severity of the original injury and whether he will be cleared.

As of Saturday, he has been ruled questionable with things trending towards that he’ll play Monday. If he is cleared, I believe that he will be able to perform close to his expected level though may need extra rest breaks due to fatigue. He may also not be as sharp cognitively but depending on the severity of the original concussion will determine his recovery to baseline.

While it is not opportune for key players to be injured during any portion of the season, this one appears to hurt worse going into a key primetime game against the Patriots. I am sure that ABC/ESPN executives did not envision QB Derek Anderson leading the charge against Tom Brady & the Patriots when they scheduled this game. However, this is what the Bills are working with and have shown depth at all positions to allow them to stay competitive. An interesting note: the two previous numbers that the Bills have retired, they have lost each game. 2001 saw the Bills retire Jim Kelly’s #12 with the team losing to the Seattle Seahawks 23-20. 2016 saw the Bills retire Bruce Smith’s #78 with an awful loss to the Jets 37-31. We can only hope when the Bills retire Thurman Thomas’ #34, they find a way to win on the big stage that is MNF.

While I am not anticipating a win, anything can and does happen in the NFL. These Bills have a fight in them despite some of the lopsided losses this season. This is a division game, the Patriots are our most hated rival, and we will not be embarrassed! I look forward to going to the game and enjoying the atmosphere that is New Era Field & Bills Mafia.

Continue to check back for the latest updates 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!!

Week 7 Bills Injury Review- Colts

Read up on the latest Bills injuries and how they impact the upcoming MNF game.

Bills fans, we’ve been though this before. That 3 week stretch last year, yes, this feels a lot like this. No I do not anticipate that we will go on a tear and win and make the playoffs by some miraculous play. But 5 out of the first 7 games were on the road and the team did much better at home last year. There is still much football to be played and winnable games later this season. However, these wins will be harder to come by as starters begin going down with injury. Today’s post will review these injuries sustained in the brutal loss to the Colts.

Prior to the game, QB Josh Allen (elbow) and RB Taiwan Jones (neck) were ruled out. Allen’s issues are well documented and Jones is a mystery. The injury report this week will shed some additional light on Jones’ complaints. According to reports, Jones is week to week, but that doesn’t tell us much more than its something more serious than neck spasms. We already know that Allen has been ruled out for Monday’s game.

Those injured during Sunday’s tough loss to the Colts include RB LeSean McCoy (Head/ankle), RB Chris Ivory (left foot), and DE Trent Murphy (right knee). McCoy managed to injure both his head and what appeared to be his medial right ankle during a tackle out of bounds on the 2nd play of the game. Assessing the ankle, he appeared to tweak his deltoid ligament on the inside portion of the ankle. This is known as a medial eversion sprain and this is a very difficult ligament to injure due to the biomechanics of the ankle with greater mobility on the outside portion of the ankle compared to inside. It has also since been reported that McCoy also suffered a concussion on the same play and was ruled out for the day. It can take anywhere from 7-10 days for a player to return to play but players have returned quicker, but have also taken longer. They must pass through 5 stages successfully prior to returning to playing and be symptom free following full contact. (Do check out the previous link as it details the NFL concussion protocol and what it entails.) As it stands right now, McCoy may miss the MNF game but if he gets cleared, then there’s no question about his ability to be ready. Only practice and his progression through the protocol will determine whether he will be available for Monday night. As for his ankle, he could get that taped up for support if there is pain present and this does not appear to be potentially a long term issue. This is also an injury that should heal up fairly quickly. Considering that he will be doing little to no athletic activity until the end stages of the concussion protocol, it will only give his ankle more opportunity to heal.

RB Chris Ivory injured his left foot while being brought down early in the 3rd quarter after a run up the middle. He was observed grasping at his midfoot after the play but was eventually able to return. He had stated that the injury was minor and that it was no big deal. It appeared that he may have suffered a midfoot sprain due to the foot being pointed down or in plantar flexion and the foot twisted up underneath. This injury may be worse than it appeared and he truly is alright or this may be something that lands him on the injury report. We will have to wait and see whether it will but considering that he was able to return to play and described it as minor leads me to believe that this will not affect him going into Monday night. It is possible that this could be something he has to deal with as the season progresses, but video does not make me think otherwise and he is reporting that he feels good. If he is unable to go, RB Marcus Murphy would get the start.

DE Trent Murphy injured his right knee late in the 4th quarter with the game already out of hand. 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 blow did have the makings of a potential ACL tear mechanism; fortunately, we know this not to be the case as it would have been reported by now. Based on video, it appears as though he suffered a Grade 1-2 MCL sprain, similar to what DT Kyle Williams suffered in the preseason against the Browns. As mentioned in previous articles, the MCL is the ligament that runs on the inside portion of the knee and is commonly injured when a blow to the outside of the knee occurs or when a player is pivoting and the foot gets caught in the turf and the knee is overcome by the forces of changing direction. Recovery time takes between 2-6 weeks to return fully without compensation in ideal cases but as in football, players do attempt to come back sooner.

Murphy is week to week according to HC Sean McDermott and this is expected based on the suspected severity. He will most likely miss the Monday night game and may miss the next several games, using the bye in Week 11 to return to full health. As this is the opposite side of his ACL tear from last year, the team will be more cautious to let him back out on the field before he is fully healthy. He also requires more agility out of his position than Kyle Williams which would explain why he will most likely require a longer healing time compared to others with the same injury. There is also a possibility that he may have suffered a minor meniscus tear as the mechanism of injury is similar to that of the MCL, but initial evaluation by medical personnel and Murphy’s reaction on the field indicates that this is more MCL related. The mechanism fits MCL, he had difficulty bending the knee with assistance, and from the video angle, there did not appear to be a rotational component unlike TE Charles Clay’s knee injury from last year. However, I cannot rule out meniscus tear until the team releases further information. Regardless of outcome, I expect Murphy to miss the next 2-3 games, favoring the over due to his previous injury history.

This may be the Bills toughest stretch in regards to injuries as several major names are on the mend at this point. Thankfully, the depth is still strong at most positions and season ending injuries have been at a minimum compared to others in the league. The good news is that all the players should be able to return rather quickly to give the Bills the best chance to win. While I am not expecting a Bills win come Monday night, I expect the Bills to show up for national TV, I expect them to give QB Tom Brady and Co. a dogfight, and I expect it to be a competitive game. Considering all the pomp and circumstance of former Bills great RB Thurman Thomas jersey retirement ceremony, Bills Mafia will be out in full force providing home field advantage.

Continue to check back on the latest news and updates coming out of One Bills Drive. Continue to 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!!

Week 7 Bills Injury Preview- Colts

Read up on the latest Bills injury news heading into Week 7 against the Colts!

Things are finally starting to calm down after an eventful start to the week. Between the regrettable loss to the Texans, initial speculation about QB Josh Allen’s elbow injury, followed by the hysterical fallout of the details following the injury, it’s been a week. Today’s post will review the Bills injuries going into the Colts game.

Those already ruled out at QB Josh Allen (right elbow) & RB Taiwan Jones (neck). We know all the nitty gritty details of the Allen injury along with reports are indicating he is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. I believe the team should use the bye week to its advantage and shelve him for 4 games with rest for 5 total weeks. Time will tell how he responds but the extra time can and will help him heal to prevent further issues or complications of the injury. As mentioned in my previous article, it can take 6-10 weeks for a ligament injury such as this to heal properly.

RB Taiwan Jones (neck) is however, a mystery. Jones presented on the injury report with a neck injury and did not practice all week. Reviewing film from the last game, he did not appear to suffer any jarring hits or injuries to his head/neck that would have led to an early exit from the game. He was also able to play in most of the special teams snaps, having one of the highest percentages on the team. We also know that he did not suffer a concussion, fracture, or any injury publicly reported. So at this point, things get tricky. There is no video to even consider a diagnosis, no reports to identify what is specifically going on with the complaint; only “DNP” & “neck”.

The next section is entirely speculation and does not infer or imply that this is what is he is dealing with. Just trying to identify possibilities so as to give a timeline for a return. Reviewing injury reports since Jones came in the league did not reveal any previous neck injuries which could identify chronic conditions. There also has not been any reported concussions during his time with Oakland & Buffalo. This leads me to believe this neck injury is more acute in nature. We also know that not all injuries are always reported which means he may have been dealing with a neck injury that finally became painful enough to sideline him. This could have been something a hit could have aggravated a minor injury, another possibility that something could have occurred in practice we are not aware of, or something totally unrelated. We did see last year that C Eric Wood suffered a now career ending neck injury that was largely unknown until a season ending physical. This is not to imply that Jones is dealing with an injury or situation as dire as Wood’s, but I am stating that we never quite know the whole story. Jones may be having localized neck pain limiting his ability to move his neck; he may be having pain along with numbness going down his arm classified as radiculopathy; he may be having cervicogenic headaches related to neck pain; just a small sample of issues that could be possible, though far from exhaustive. This neck pain could also be related to the horrific shot he took against the Chargers resulting in his gnarly head wound. He may only miss a week and return without limitations, or this may leave him sidelines for several weeks if symptoms persist. Without more information, I cannot confidently state what he may be dealing with. This will be something that we will have to wait for more information to come out or if the front office begins making roster moves as a result.

Others that dealt with injury from Sunday include DE Trent Murphy (ankle) and OG Vladimir Ducasse (left knee). Both are cleared to play and their injuries were relatively minor. Based on film, I can’t even quite specifically identify the exact injuries they sustained. Murphy took what appeared to be an awkward step which slowed him on that particular play and as a result, missed several plays after but was able to return. Ducasse was hit from behind and had another lineman fall onto him but was able to jog off though with a mild limp. He may have just fell on his knee directly, plus adding in ~300 lbs from another body could certainly cause some type of discomfort. We know the defensive line is on a rotation, it’s possible that Ducasse may be on rotational play if he continues to experience issues.

Others to watch out for is CB Taron Johnson (shoulder) and P Corey Bojorquez (shoulder). Both have some type of right shoulder instability evident with bracing. This could continue to limit their effectiveness, though much more apparent in Johnson’s case due to his position. Both have not been on the injury report recently and hopefully can continue to play until the end of the season when they can address the issue with possible surgery.

This wraps up another Bills injury preview with the Bills continuing to stay healthy. On the opposite end of the spectrum lies the Colts, who have been beset by injury which helps explain their 1-5 start. Here is a link to an overview of their injury report; they are still missing key contributors at this time. Despite QB Derek Anderson making his first start for the Bills, I expect the Bills defense to contain the Colts offense, forcing turnovers, and pulling out a win to move to 3-4.

Continue to follow 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!

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!!