2020 Week 3 Bills Injury Review- Rams

What are the latest updates on Brown, Edmunds, & Dawkins?

WHAT. A. GAME. 

I’m not sure there’s appropriate words in the English language that explain what happened Sunday. From a near meltdown to bad calls to final play heroics, this game had it all. Fortunately, the Bills ended Week 3 with a win to move to 3-0 as they prepare to face the Raiders at their new stadium. I could write an entire article on the emotions of the game. But you’re not here for that. Below, a recap of the injuries from Sunday. 

WR John Brown (calf)

Brown’s day ended early following halftime with a calf injury. Reviewing the film, there isn’t anything particular that stood out regarding his calf. He didn’t appear to be limited with any of his routes or come up limping even at the very end. 

I’m considering this injury as a wait and see, he could have hurt the calf, been fine and then halftime, everything tightened up. He could have hurt the calf and it just wasn’t on broadcast film and All-22, this could have also been a injury that isn’t spotted on film. He could also have had a previous strain that was not reported that worsened on Sunday. 

I also want to note that the foot soreness that could be plantar fasciitis could have contributed to this. Some of the interventions to address the plantar fasciitis include stretching out the calf/Achilles to reduce stress on the fascia. But I question if it did contribute because I would tend to believe they were stretching out the area already.

HC Sean McDermott wouldn’t go into specifics with the injury nor would he say which side the calf injury was on and if it was the same side as the foot soreness. I don’t have any insight as to which side is which at the present time. 

T Dion Dawkins (right shoulder)

Dawkins took a tumble prior to the 2 minute mark in the 4th quarter and was in obvious pain, requiring trainers to assess his shoulder. He tripped over CB Troy Hill, landing with his right arm extended to brace the fall. However, the heel of his wrist hit, followed by the elbow bending to break the fall and then hitting the shoulder on the ground. 

He did try to come back in immediately after an assessment by the trainers which may indicate that it isn’t serious. I am concerned about the labrum or AC joint, but this could have been simply a contusion. Considering he tried to come back in suggests that it may not be serious because some of the other injuries would have required further evaluation or time away from the field. 

S Micah Hyde (left ankle)

Hyde appeared to suffer a low ankle sprain early in the 4th quarter when he attempted to go in for a blitz and got blocked by the Rams tackle Andrew Whitworth. He attempted a spin move, turning to his left before going down in obvious pain but was able to walk to the sidelines under his own power. 

He had his ankle taped up and returned to play shortly afterward. He did suffer the same injury back in Week 1 against the Jets and it appears he re-injured it. Overall, this isn’t a concerning injury and he can play through it, but I am worried about further instances with him missing time during the games if he tweaks it. Hopefully he can continue to tape it up and avoid re-injury to the area to allow it to heal properly. 

LB Tremaine Edmunds (right shoulder)

Edmunds returned following a week off and clearly was not himself. He struggled to wrap up his tackle, he had difficulty engaging the blocks with his right arm, offensive players got by him on the right side and he just wasn’t himself. He exited the game on the final Rams TD when he hit directly on the shoulder by Rams RB Darrell Henderson. 

He did have a shoulder harness on the right shoulder which usually indicates some type of shoulder instability. I’ve seen these used more for labral tears, similar to what we saw with CB Taron Johnson in 2018.

However, I still do not think he suffered a torn labrum. The mechanism simply isn’t there from Week 1. Either he injured the shoulder another time we didn’t see or this is something else. Based on how he fell in week 1, this is worse than a contusion. This could be a Grade 2-3 AC joint sprain. There is much more instability in the area due to the damage and he would have difficulty engaging the right side due to weakness from the clavicle not providing support with arm movement. These can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks for a Grade 2 and 6-12 for a Grade 3.

I understand I keep flip flopping on the possible injury, but the idea is that my opinion changes based on new information. If this is an AC joint sprain, the hope is that he can avoid further contact to the area and provide stability in order to allow things to fully heal.

Rarely do these require surgery and can be managed, but he will be limited in the short term. I wouldn’t be surprised if Edmunds wants to continue playing and avoid the IR. The team obviously knows more than we do and is managing this as best they can.

The coaching staff is aware of the pain & restrictions he has with his shoulder in playing through it during Monday’s press conference. Hopefully Sunday’s hit did not set him back more in his recovery process.

Injury Roundup:

DE Mario Addison was noted to have cramping that caused him to miss several snaps, but he was able to return shortly after getting fluids. It was a warm day with strenuous physical activity, it’s no surprise that he was dealing with cramping. There’s no concern moving forward, just a reality of playing football.

DT Ed Oliver looked good Sunday and was noted to be wearing the right knee brace mentioned in the previous article. He did not appear to be limited with the use and the injury appeared to be a non-factor.

CB Tre’Davious White & WR Cole Beasley both looked effective despite their respective injuries they were dealing with last week. They may continue to manage these complaints into practice this week, but it does not appear concerning at the moment.

LB Matt Milano & CB Taron Johnson both looked like they didn’t miss a step with their respective soft tissue injuries. Both are still at a higher risk to re-injure, but the hopes that they continue to get the proper rehab and rest in order to reduce those risks are ideal.

G Jon Feliciano, WR Isaiah Hodgins, & WR Josh Norman are all eligible to return from the IR list this week. I could see Feliciano & Norman return to practice but only Norman possibly getting activated after a week or two ramp up. Feliciano could wait longer and they could stretch this out longer than returning immediately.

They all do have a 21 day window to practice without taking up a roster spot before they need to return to IR or go active. I don’t see any need for Hodgins unless Brown misses extended time. 

The big question marks moving forward will continue to be the health of Tremaine Edmunds & Dion Dawkins. We will see how this week’s practice goes, but these will be closely monitored. The Bills continue to avoid the season ending injuries, but this does not mean that they are immune. Hopefully these guys can return and continue to be effective.

Top Photo Credit: BillsWire

2020 Week 3 Bills Injury Preview- Rams

Make sure to scroll down to the players you’re interested in. It’s a long one.

Heading into Week 3, we got a long injury report here folks. But the Bills have been through this before. They have quality depth and the ability to call up practice squad players that have been in the system before rather than street free agents who don’t know the system. 

While there are a lot of players in today’s report, everyone is still adjusting to the regular season with hitting, conditioning, and getting back into game shape. This is where some preseason games are beneficial to prime their bodies rather than going from 0-100. Ideally we see this drop off as the season progresses. But until then, this week’s injuries are below. 

OUT

RB Zack Moss (toe)

Moss was ruled out of Sunday’s matchup due to a toe ailment suffered in Sunday’s win. This was likely the result of the catch & run midway through the 4th quarter. He eventually returned to the game later, albeit briefly before the game finished. 

Based on the designation of a toe, it sounds like it could be turf toe. There are other possibilities such as a fracture, but he was observed off to the side on the exercise bike and doing individual activities.

PTEducator.com

Turf toe is an injury where the big toe is suddenly hyperextended due to a fall or some other force such as a tackle when the foot is planted into the ground that pushes it past its normal range of motion. Like any other joint in the body, this too can be sprained. The risk for this can be increased with flexible shoes which reduce support around the area of the foot.

Any other toe injury can be conservatively managed and isn’t a problem even in day to day life. But the big toe is vital to walk a heel toe gait pattern; strike with the heel, push off on the toe. The toe is even more vital during running as sprinting is done up on the balls of the feet, placing further stress on the toe. 

The timeline for a turf toe injury can be 2-4 weeks or even more based on severity. Look back at Packers WR DaVante Adams last year for reference. Due to the demands of the big toe, especially with high end athletics, it can be easily re-injured if not managed properly. This is something that can linger for weeks and limit production. 

He is obviously missing this week and potentially next week. Once he returns after the area has had a chance to heal, he can use a stiff sole to help reduce toe extension during push off and taping/bracing to support the area. He may lose some explosiveness after coming back, but if he gives it proper time to heal, then he may be fine. It will be important not to rush back because then he will lose that first step explosiveness and top end speed if he cant push off his toe effectively.

It’s important to note that he had a toe injury back in 2016 during his freshman year at Utah. It’s not certain that it was a turf toe injury, but he missed 2 games as a result. The injuries are not directly related as we don’t know specifics or even side l along with the time span in between. But if this is another bout of turf toe, he may be able to understand his body better and rehab more effectively. I expect TJ Yeldon to get a rare crack at the game day roster. Remember, he’s a 3 down back according to Brandon Beane.

TE Dawson Knox (concussion)

Knox is out with a concussion following Sunday’s win. He has since had 3 straight DNP’s at practice and right now appears to be at about Stage 3 due to participating on the exercise bike and drills. He will now have to go through football specific drills and a full practice without symptom reproduction before he can be cleared by the neurologist. 

It’s rare that a guy is able to return from a concussion in a week’s time and hopefully he can return for Week 4. There were a lot of people who sent video of hits he sustained to the head that game. I do appreciate every one of you for doing that, but it is nearly impossible to diagnose a concussion on video alone unless the individual has been knocked unconscious. Let’s hope he’s back for Week 4.

LB Del’Shawn Phillips (quadriceps)

Phillips continues to be out with a quad injury sustained in the season opener over the Jets. He has not practiced since then and video does not exist of the injury that he sustained on special teams. 

This is appearing to be more of a quadriceps strain and literature for quadriceps strains is more limited than hamstrings, but from what I found, timelines are similar to that of hamstrings. There’s a possibility that this could be a tendonitis as well, but that is something that can be played through more than a strain.

It’s important to note that WR Andre Roberts missed the first two games of the season last year with a quadriceps injury. This may be the same course of action that the Bills take with Phillips or this could be an injury that we don’t have all the facts on yet. We continue to wait and see. 

QUESTIONABLE

LB Matt Milano (hamstring)

Milano has been able to practice in a limited fashion all week after missing Week 2 with a hamstring strain. Hamstrings can take 13-18 days on average to return to play, but his injury may have been truly minor; a term that I’ve come across is “niggle”. I believe Milano had a niggle. 

Could he benefit from another week off? Sure. But if he’s feeling good and he can play, then I can live with that. He is questionable, but a hamstring is not an automatic out for 2-3 games. Some guys can come back the next week, others take much longer. We are seeing that with the setback with CB Josh Norman & this shows that each hamstring is unique. With how practice has been this week, he is still 50/50, but I’m leaning towards him playing Sunday. 

LB Tremaine Edmunds (right shoulder)

Edmunds has been tricky for me these past 2 weeks. I initially had him as a contusion, possible AC joint sprain. Then he missed the last game which leads me to believe he may have had more of a SC joint sprain or bruised rotator cuff. I’ve studied the film, watched his practice and without a physical examination, I am stumped.

This could be Occam’s razor and I’m overthinking this. The fact that he has had a red non-contact jersey for the last two weeks is concerning, but that may be more to prevent further injury. He may have benefitted from the week off and be ready for Sunday. 

From what I’ve seen, it’s very possible he plays. Especially with the benefit of his skill set against the Rams, it’s an important game to get up for. He’s also 50/50, leaning towards seeing him playing. 

CB Taron Johnson (groin)

Not much is known about Johnson. He has a long history of injuries dating back to his rookie year with the shoulder labral tear followed by a hamstring strain last year. Now he has the groin strain which isn’t great for a defensive back with all the cutting & pivoting he has to do as part of his position. 

He did not exit the game and was a full participant on Friday which is a good sign. However, groin strains, like many other soft tissue injuries can linger and cause problems later. We do have depth at the position, he will probably play, but considering Johnson’s penchant for injury, he may be best served to sit this one out. 

ACTIVE

WR Cole Beasley (hip/right thumb)

Beasley is active despite dealing with two separate injuries. The hip is not all that concerning, it could be more of generalized hip soreness or bruising due to the fact that he had several hard falls during his catches on Sunday. 

However, the injury I am more concerned with is his right thumb injury. He had it heavily taped in practice on Thursday and was in visible pain when catching the ball. 

He may have suffered a mild/moderate thumb sprain, also known as skier’s thumb. He could have fell on the thumb during one of his catches, forcing it into extension and abduction. He could also have gotten it tangled up with a defender, it wasn’t clear on film. He’ll be able to play & still be effective, but with how hard Josh Allen throws and the injury, I hope we don’t see a drop or two due to the pain and resulting weakness in the thumb region. This will be something to monitor on Sunday. 

DT Ed Oliver (right knee)

Oliver suffered his knee injury as the result of a leg block that fortunately was not flagged on Sunday. During replay, his knee gets struck by the Dolphins offensive player and then his shin strikes the player again once the leg kicks forward.

It initially appeared that he suffered a shin contusion which would have been more pain related. But since he struck the knee, it forced the knee into hyperextension. What’s beneficial is that the leg was swinging freely and not in a fixed position. There was some stretching of the knee capsule and overall pain, but structural damage to the area appears non-existent save for maybe bruising due to the hit itself. Fortunately, the knee does have several degrees of hyperextension available in the human body, giving the knee some pliability to reduce the risk of injury. 

He was spotted by The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia wearing a knee brace at practice. I asked Joe for clarification on the type of brace and he said that it appeared to be more hinge like. This would support that his knee was hyperextended and that he is wearing the brace for support. These braces don’t outright prevent injury, but the idea is that the side supports do lock out in full extension and if he were to get hit directly over the knee, the brace would take the forces of the hit and lessen the impact on the knee itself. In addition, the side supports limit medial/lateral movements so if they get hit from the side, the entire leg goes down rather than the valgus force that we see in ACL and MCL tears.

It will be interesting to see if he plays Sunday with the brace on or if this brace was simply used to help give him some confidence with the knee during practice. If you look closely, fellow DT Harrison Phillips wears one as well when he plays following his ACL tear last year. Overall, I don’t believe Oliver’s quality of play will be affected by the knee injury nor is he at a higher risk to suffer further injury due to Sunday’s hit.

CB Tre’Davious White (shoulder)

Virtually nothing is known about White’s shoulder ailment that had him limited at Wednesday’s practice. He is getting older, he’s a highly paid player who knows he’s valuable to the team, this may have been more of a maintenance day than anything. I could not find anything specific on film to support a shoulder injury and he was able to practice in full Thursday & Friday. I can’t even speculate what he could be dealing with because there is no mechanism of injury. Right now, this is a wait and see approach. 

He did deal with a neck injury last year that caused him to wear the red non-contact jersey for about 2 weeks last year but he did not miss any games or appear to have his play suffer as a result.

WR John Brown (foot, possible plantar fasciitis)

Brown popped back up on the injury report this week with what the team described as “foot soreness”. He was on the injury report last week briefly with the same issue. The fact that he is able to practice in full certain days and then has to be limited others indicates that this may be more of a chronic issue which I believe is plantar fasciitis.

The plantar fascia is a tough band of fascia that connects from the heel to the balls of the feet. This acts as a shock absorber and helps keep the structural integrity of the foot intact during walking and running. This effect is known as the windlass mechanism. This allows the foot to stay rigid as the foot goes into push off moving from stance to swing phase. If we did not have the plantar fascia to help keep the foot rigid, then the big toe would not have the leverage to push off as effectively and drive the entire foot forward.

ChoosePT.com

The area of the irritation of the plantar fascia is at the base of the heel, where the fascia originates. Microtears occur due to overuse or excessive running which appears to be in the case of Brown. This appears to be more of a problem this year than other years because of the change in training camp with less ramp up time. If he wears shoes that are not supportive, this could cause the foot to excessively pronate which means the foot rolls inward when walking versus maintaining support during heel toe walking. The overpronation would pull on the plantar fascia during push off using the windlass mechanism and the excessive running could cause microtears, causing inflammation.

Functionally, he will not be greatly affected by this, but it is a painful condition to deal with. He likely wakes up in the morning and has difficulty bearing weight through his foot due to the tissue tightening up throughout the night, making those first few steps during the morning painful. He can rehab to stretch the calf, Achilles, overall improve the range of motion in the ankle and big toe mobility to take stress off the area. He can also get injections to help manage the pain, but this is not something the doctors like to do often because too many injections can increase the incidence for rupture of the affected tissue. These rates are fairly low, but injecting and numbing pain is not an effective solution to manage a condition. It can be an intervention that assists with taking care of a problem, but not the only solution. 

It’s possible that Brown battles with this off and on throughout the season, using rest days and rehab to address the matter. As a treating Physical Therapist, I have found plantar fasciitis to be a stubborn diagnosis, but this does not mean that Brown will not be able to overcome this. The team does have a lot of interventions with the possibility of cupping, laser therapy, acupuncture, injections, iontophoresis with medication, stretching, using night splints, strengthening, taping, footwear modifications, among others. There are far worse injuries that can be played through, but plantar fasciitis is still a troublesome injury. This sounds all doom and gloom, but he will be alright.

Final thoughts:

The team is banged up. This is why I believe some preseason games are good to get the live reps out of the way rather than going from practice and limited contact to full blown games. Even if the starters were playing for two series a game in the preseason, it helps them acclimate slowly to game speed versus full speed right away. The Bills have been through this before with the lengthy injury report. The tweet below shows how things looked last year prior to the Titans game and how things look going into Week 3. 

You’ll also notice that the team does a fairly good job of dealing with injuries in that they don’t become a chronic issue. The training staff likes to address the injury, give it time to heal if possible, and then return to play. We are not seeing the walking wounded out there like some other teams around the league. 

I did note last year that injured players may have been active, but their snap counts significantly reduced in that particular game to prevent further injury. Two instances I can think of were WR Isaiah McKenzie during Weeks 4 & 5 last year and G Cody Ford during Week 8. This team has a plan to get guys healthy and have them available if needed, but not to rely on the walking wounded to play a full game. 

It’s also important to note that CB Josh Norman was observed on the exercise bike this week as he prepares to hopefully get activated from IR following Sunday. He may still not be 100%, but he can begin practicing with the team as they have a 21 day window where he doesn’t count against the roster. If he’s ready, they can activate him, if he’s not, he can be shut down and go back to IR. He can also just stay on there longer and activate his window later, so it’s not certain that he will begin practicing next week.

The same can be said for G Jon Feliciano. Coach McDermott even came out and said that he didn’t want to put guys out there that weren’t ready. Feliciano had said he wanted to come back by Week 4, but I have maintained that he would benefit coming back closer to Week 7 or 8 where he could be more effective. This will be something to continue to monitor.

Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm

RB Zack Moss

TE Dawson Knox

LB Del’Shawn Phillips

OL Ike Boettger

DE AJ Epenesa

The team will get through this. Years past, injuries would have decimated a promising season, see the 2011 Bills. But the team has quality depth and lots of experience to withstand some of these bumps and bruises. I would grow more concerned if we get a rash of season-ending injuries like in 2011. This is still a talented roster despite the Rams coming to town. Hopefully next week, this report will be a little shorter.

Top Photo Credit: WKBW

CB Taron Johnson Injury Profile

#24 Taron Johnson
Position: CB
Height/Weight: 5’11”/192 lbs.
Age: 23
College: Weber State
Year joined Bills: 2018
Acquired: 4th round draft selection

College Injuries:

TBD

Pro Injuries:

2018:

Right shoulder injury, torn labrum, Week 1, missed 1 game, later sent to IR, missing 4 games requiring surgery

2019:

Groin strain, Preseason Week 1 vs Colts, missed 0 games

Right hamstring strain, Week 1, missed 4 games

Left hand 5th digit sprain, Week 14, missed 0 games

Right eversion ankle sprain, Week 16, missed 0 games

Lower body injury, playoff game, missed 2nd half of game

2020 Bills:

Groin strain, Week 2, missed 0 games.

General links:

2019 Bills Injury Review- Cornerbacks

Buffalo Rumblings Taron Johnson Shoulder Injury

2020 Bills Injury Preview- Cornerbacks

Bills 2020 Training Camp Injury Preview: Cornerback

Oft-injured, how will the position hold up in 2020?

This is Part 10 of the Buffalo Bills training camp preview revisiting injuries from 2019 & the impact it may have on their performance and availability in 2020. Part 10 consists of the cornerback room.

Not Returning

CB Kevin Johnson

16 games, 1 start, 5 passes defended, 1 sack, 32 combined tackles, 23 solo, 9 assisted, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hit

Johnson made the most of his prove-it deal, appearing in all 16 games, showing that he could stay healthy enough to stay on the field compared to his seasons with the Texans. During his time with the Bills, he only suffered a neck stinger against the first meeting with the Dolphins which limited him the following week in practice, but he did not miss anytime.

He also suffered a knee contusion against the Redskins which caused him to miss some practice the next week, but he once again returned and played the following week.
Johnson parlayed his healthy 2019 into a contract with the Browns for 2020. He should be a shining example of what the Bills facility & staff can provide for someone looking to revitalize their career if it has been marred by injury.

Returning Players

CB Taron Johnson

12 games, 7 started, 5 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack, 50 combined tackles, 39 solo, 11 assist, 2 TFL, 1 QB hit

Taron Johnson is a talented player. The Bills benefited greatly from scouting the small school cornerback and has received great production from him despite his injury woes.
However, his career may be limited secondary to his inability to stay healthy. He continues to deal with soft tissue injuries, his physical style of play leads to the risk to suffer structural injuries, and the fact that he can’t be relied upon consistently makes him a liability, even in such a talented secondary.

Below is Johnson’s known injuries:

    • Groin

Johnson suffered a groin injury in the first preseason game against the Colts. While it did not prevent him from playing in the next game against the Panthers, the injury foreshadowed further issues later on.

    • Right hamstring strain

He suffered a right hamstring strain early in the 3rd quarter of the season opener against the Jets. During an interview, he reportedly felt a pop, which is a usual presentation of a hamstring strain.

This injury was the result of running over the middle, keeping with Jets WR Jamison Crowder. He ended up missing 4 games total though he was looking good in practice prior to that.

He appeared ready to play in the Patriots game, but it was rainy that day and the team was starting to rack up injuries. He also appeared to be ready to play against the Titans, but also missed that one due to the bye week the following week.

It’s possible that he suffered a Grade 2 strain which does take longer, but it’s also possible that he suffered a setback during rehab which led to his prolonged absence. It’s also possible that the groin injury early in training camp led to his hamstring injury.

    • Left-hand 5th digit injury

Johnson suffered an injury to his 5th digit or pinky on his left hand during the Steelers game late in the game after attempting to complete a tackle. He was in distress as trainers tended to him as the training staff buddy taped the area.

It’s likely that he either suffered a dislocation or crushed it enough that it needed support. These injuries are unfortunately common and can be played through as evidence of his play during the remainder of the season.

    • Right ankle eversion sprain

He wrapped up the regular season with a right ankle sprain courtesy of Jets RB Le’veon Bell. He squared up ready to tackle and Bell bowled him over with Johnson’s ankle getting caught in the turf and appeared to suffer an eversion sprain.
He left briefly and then returned to take over for Isaiah McKenzie who filled in briefly.

    • Wild Card lower-body injury

Johnson suffered some type of lower-body injury early in the Wild Card game against Houston which led to him sitting out the entire second half. There was no film, no mechanism of injury, nothing indicating that he was hurt.

He appeared to be ready to go on the sidelines but never re-entered. He did have the ankle sprain from the week before he could have re-injured, but those are typically not serious enough to miss the game as bracing or taping the area could help get through the game.

Details continue to be scarce and it’s unknown if this could affect him going into next season. Johnson is one player who’s 2020 will hinge on whether he stays with the Bills or has to consider finding another home if he cannot stay healthy.

CB Tre’Davious White

15 games, 15 starts, 6 INT, 17 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles 1 sack, 58 total tackles, 48 solo, 10 assisted, 4 TFL, 1 QB hit, no TD’s allowed

The argument remains with Bills fans, we missed out on drafting KC QB Patrick Mahomes! But if we don’t pass on him, we don’t have All-Pro CB Tre’Davious White or likely QB Josh Allen or Tremaine Edmunds with draft-day deals in 2017 & 2018.

White stepped up in 2019 & put together a memorable season that has his name among the NFL’s elite. He has become a player that if he is not on the field, the quality of the defense changes dramatically. Fortunately, he has been very healthy during his time with the Bills.

White’s injury history below:

    • Right quadriceps contusion

He suffered a quadriceps contusion during the preseason game against the Lions which scared most fans. He was observed on the sideline with an ice pack but moving well indicating that it was more precautionary to ensure that he recovers faster. This was not an injury that lingered through the season.

    • Neck

White spent some time on the injury report with a red non-contact jersey with a neck injury. He popped up on the injury report following the Bengals game and was limited in practice that week and next. He never missed games and it was never revealed what he was dealing with. My initial speculation was that it was a neck strain.

    • Right low ankle sprain

He suffered a low right ankle sprain against the first meeting with the Patriots in the 2nd quarter. He had to take several plays off to get it taped up and quickly returned. He appeared a little slower the rest of the game but it was an issue that did not linger and he had the bye week to rehab it properly.

    • Left shoulder/stinger

As with most injuries with White, anytime he is down on the field due to injury is a concern. Many held their breath when he made a tackle against the Steelers on Sunday night football leading with his right shoulder. He got up after finishing the tackle and began motioning to his left shoulder before going down to the turf.

He appeared to suffer a stinger due to his head getting snapped to the left, quickly compressing the nerve. White briefly left the game before returning to finish the game. He didn’t appear on the injury report later and it didn’t appear to be a lingering issue for the remainder of the season.

Overall, White was fairly healthy which is why he was able to achieve All-Pro status. The ankle and quadricep injuries are not concerning but there is some slight worry regarding the stinger and neck injury. There is a correlation between the neck injury early in the season and the possible stinger he suffered against the Steelers.

However, the details of the neck injury aren’t known which makes it difficult to identify whether there is a connection. Likely, there won’t be any known concerns unless something happens again. I am confident that he is alright, but there is always that worry to see similar injuries crop up around the same time.

CB Levi Wallace

16 games, 16 starts, 9 passes deflected, 76 total tackles, 66 solo, 10 assisted, 4 TFL

Playing at CB2, Wallace has played well despite coming in as a UDFA, stepping into the starting role. He will never be at the level that Tre White is at due to the immense difficulty in getting two All-Pro players on the field, even lesser at the same position. But he showed he can get the job done despite several injuries and at times inconsistent play.

Below is Wallace’s known injuries:

    • Right ankle sprain

Wallace suffered a right ankle injury during practice prior to the Giants game in Week 2. He was attempting to play Zay Jones before attempting to turn his hips and fell down over his right ankle. It appeared to be a low ankle sprain that required a wrap to help manage any swelling and pain, but it did not limit him against the Giants.

    • Left shoulder

During the ugly loss to the Eagles, Wallace got demolished by Boston Scott as he barreled into the end zone for a TD. Scott hit the right shoulder of Wallace and he went down hard. He never returned to the game but was never ruled out. He was questionable for the next game against the Redskins, but he ended up playing.

He later required shoulder surgery at the end of January according to reports, but it is not known which shoulder or what procedure he required. It’s highly likely that he required surgery on the left shoulder, but not confirmed.

Looking at social media, Wallace hasn’t been limited with any of his activities nor is it observable which shoulder had surgery. The hope is that it was a general cleanout or shaving down any areas causing pain. This is an injury that historically doesn’t carry over from season to season.

    • Right ankle sprain

Wallace once again suffered a right ankle injury while catching an interception against the Jets in the regular-season finale. He suffered a medial ankle sprain but ultimately missed the Wild Card loss against the Texans. He was practicing during the week in hopes he could play, but ultimately the injury was too much.

It’s also possible that the ankle injury from September led to the December injury, but it is unlikely due to the length of time between the injuries. Fortunately, these ankle injuries do not linger. They can recur at a fairly high rate, but low ankle sprains can be well managed if a re-injury occurs.

CB Cam Lewis

Spent 2019 on the practice squad

Lewis spent the entire season on the practice squad in 2019 as he adjusted to the pro game. He showed flashes of his abilities in the preseason but due to injury and roster depth, he was unable to crack the 53 man roster. For someone that spent the season on the practice squad, he still suffered an injury.

Lewis’ known injuries below:

    • Concussion

Lewis suffered a concussion on a routine play in the 2nd quarter against the Panthers in the preseason. He was initially unsteady but able to walk off under his own power. He was later seen leaving the sidelines in a neck immobilizer and board as a precaution for a neck injury.

He was later cleared from the concussion protocol, but still concerning when a player leaves the field in that manner. He was unable to play the rest of the preseason which may have led to his inability to make the 53-man roster. To read more on his concussion, check out the article at Buffalo Rumblings.

    • Week 16 unknown injury

Lewis wasn’t practicing with the team for several days just prior to the second Patriots matchup. There was not an injury designation as practice squad members don’t get recorded, but it was noted by The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia.

It’s not known what he was dealing with, but important to note when players may be dealing with an injury, even minor as it could foreshadow a bigger issue. The biggest concern is the concussion heading into 2020. The hope is that he does not suffer another one that takes him even longer to recover from.

New to the roster

CB Ike Brown

Brown comes to the Bills following a solid career at FIU. He presents as a fairly healthy player heading into training camp, only suffering a collarbone fracture his sophomore season. He will have an uphill battle to stick with the roster in any way, but training camp darlings exist every year. To read more on Brown, check out Banged Up Bills.

CB EJ Gaines

Gaines is a proverbial scratch-off lottery ticket. Buy cheap, possibly win big. His injury history is quite extensive & he has not played meaningful football in over 2 years besides a few games for Cleveland in 2018.

If he can stay healthy, he could be an excellent CB2, but if not, the Bills lose nothing. To make your own decision, check out the extensive injury analysis at Buffalo Rumblings.

CB Dane Jackson

The last Bills draft pick in 2020, Jackson comes to Buffalo incredibly healthy & looking to lock down a spot on at least special teams. He doesn’t carry much injury baggage with him besides a knee injury from high school. While he does have a lot of talented players in front of him, he can adjust to the NFL without the pressure of playing immediately. As players begin to age out or move on, there is hope Jackson can slide in and continue the recent excellent play from the secondary. Read up on Jackson at Buffalo Rumblings.

CB Josh Norman

The former All-Pro from Carolina spent several up and down years with Washington, chasing the money before leaving, viewed as not living up to the contract. Much has been said about Washington not being the right fit for his skills which could have led to his decline in production.

However, Norman is older and has had his share of injuries, including several documented concussions. He plays a very physical position and has paid the price for it. Like Gaines, he is someone that if he doesn’t work out, the Bills are not tied to him significantly. His contract is more substantial but that is justified considering his accolades. He could certainly have a bounce-back year from a production standpoint and could be a value contract in 2020. To read more on Norman’s injury history, read Buffalo Rumblings.

2020 Outlook

If you’re still reading, this position as a whole suffered quite a few injuries. There has been stellar play from White followed by inconsistent play from CB2, but McDermott & Frazier always make it work.

White, Johnson, Wallace, & Norman all should make the team. Jackson has an excellent shot as well as being a draft pick, but not guaranteed. Gaines should make the roster but is totally dependent on his health. His play could affect his future, but he has to prove he can be available first before talent is considered.

Brown & Lewis both have a shot, more likely on the practice squad as both are still eligible. Regardless of who makes the roster besides White, the depth at the position is secured & the coaching staff has several contingency plans if the talent is lacking or injury occurs. Despite the injuries, this should still be a productive position for the Bills in 2020.

Wild Card Bills Injury Review- Texans

It was still a fun season despite the loss.

This wasn’t an article I wanted to write. I wasn’t in a rush to write this either. It’s not that I didn’t want to write about the injuries, but I didn’t want to write about the end of the season, at least not with that ending. That game was full of emotions, the excitement of that first drive ending in a touchdown, the Houston comeback, the game-tying field goal & inevitable loss. It just sucked to see such a great season the Bills have an end like this. But it ended and that’s the reality of the situation. 

However, there were still injuries that occurred & I have a duty to explain what exactly happened. 

CB Taron Johnson (lower-body injury) 

Johnson exited the game midway through the 2nd quarter with 7:30 left with what appeared at the time no apparent reason. He was observed down on his right knee after the play with trainers assessing him before walking off under his own power. 

Reviewing the game film, it was not apparent that he suffered an injury until the All-22 film came out. Upon reviewing the film, Johnson stuck with his man, TE Darren Fells until he got to the sideline. Fells cut back, as did Johnson rather vigorously and he appeared to take an awkward step on his right, which forced him to slow up as the play ended. Nothing appeared wrong until Johnson was down in the middle of the field before he went off.

My best guess due to having only one camera angle and a birds-eye view is that he suffered some type of strain. Possibly a groin, hamstring, or calf. To note, he wasn’t limping off at all from what I could tell, but something wasn’t right. If you recall, Johnson did suffer a hamstring strain back in the 1st game which ultimately cost him 4 games. Temperatures were in the 70’s at kickoff & the dome was closed, leading to a warm environment, raising the possibility for a strain due to dehydration. I do not believe the hamstring he suffered back in September caused the issues on Saturday.

Regardless of what it was, we probably won’t know until OTA’s start or if an article comes out later detailing the specifics. This isn’t anything that should be a problem heading into next year either.

WR Duke Williams (left low ankle sprain)

Shortly after Johnson suffered his injury, Williams had one of his own catching a diving pass from QB Josh Allen before going out of bounds with about 2:30 left in the 2nd quarter. It was a bang-bang play & required several replays to determine the injury. At first, it appeared that Williams hyperextended his left knee as his foot got caught in the turf, diving out. 

However, on further review, it clearly shows that his left ankle twists in quickly, causing the all too common inversion low ankle sprain. Williams took several plays off to get his ankle evaluated and taped before returning, at times favoring the ankle with a decreased ability to push off. 

Williams avoided a worse knee injury due to the ankle taking the brunt of the forces going out, snapping underneath instead of applying further pressure on the knee into extension. He will likely be feeling this ankle for a few weeks & possibly the knee but like most sprains, this won’t be an issue moving forward & had the Bills won, probably wouldn’t have kept him out next week.

Other Observations 

CB Levi Wallace & WR Robert Foster

There were several surprise inactives prior to the game, namely CB Levi Wallace & WR Robert Foster. Wallace was a surprise to me only because he was practicing, although on a limited basis with a heavily taped ankle, during the week. I had thought that even an injured Wallace would be able to play in some packages, but my guess is that the team felt he would be better suited to play next week had they made it. 

Foster was a surprise only because of how valuable he has become as a gunner on special teams & was continually a deep threat, despite not connecting on anything all season. Considering the lack of production from Foster, it made sense to make Williams active, but thankfully the special team’s play wasn’t harmed by the loss of Foster. 

DE JJ Watt

Houston’s DE JJ Watt made some noise as I had expected him too, appearing in 61% of the defensive plays along with 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, & 2 QB hits. I believe he played far more than the original plan dictated, but this is why he suited up, to make a difference & he did. Far from his best performance, but those skills he has, even with one arm, still made him incredibly dangerous on Saturday & the Bills paid for it. 

QB Josh Allen

During the Bills locker cleaning out Sunday, there was a video that came out of Allen walking across the fieldhouse in flip flops & an ankle brace on his right ankle. It was not known when he injured his ankle during the game as he appeared in every offensive play Saturday. This likely was one of those small injuries that would be impossible to find on film & won’t be anything that should linger.

I had briefly thought that this was the result of the injury he suffered in the loss to the Ravens last month. However, this occurred to the left ankle in that game & he was able to play through it. Merely an observation & just another one of the battle scars that Allen accumulated throughout the season in the march towards the playoffs.

Final Thoughts

Like I said above, this wasn’t an article that I wanted to write. But it had to be done. This ends the 2019 Buffalo Bills season & I’m pretty happy with the overall results. 10 wins, a playoff berth not given by sheer luck, tons of growth by the entire team & a bright future. I’m looking forward to 2020 with the idea that this Bills team can make a run. I’m a Bills fan, an eternal optimist, is there any other way to be?

Looking at the offseason, there will be some changes. I plan on taking some time off from weekly Banged Up Bills articles, only focusing on updates such as the inevitable surgeries, free agent signings, & any other news I deem worthy to report. Things will gear up again once the draft hits & the 90 man roster begins to take shape prior to training camp. I’m going to continue to work hard to update the appearance of the site, video reviews, injury breakdowns, & find new ways to deliver the content that is clearly wanted. 

However, you can still follow on Twitter for the latest news, podcasts & work I will be doing with the draft. Find my work over at Cover 1 detailing injuries regarding the 2020 draft prospects. Make sure to go check that out & all the other amazing content that’s available. Thanks, Bills Mafia, it was a fun season!

Top Photo Credit:

RochesterFirst.com

Week 17 Bills Injury Review- Jets

How bad are Wallace & Nsekhe’s ankle injuries?

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

CB Levi Wallace (right ankle)

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

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

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

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

S Siran Neal (right side stinger)

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

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

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

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

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

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

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

OT Cody Ford (right trapezius/neck)

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

Trapezius
Credit: Youtube.com

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

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

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

CB Taron Johnson (right ankle)

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

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

Other observations 

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

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

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

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

Top Photo Credit:

DemocratandChronicle.com

Week 16 Bills Injury Preview- Patriots

Is Buffalo treasure Tre’Davious White healthy & ready to go Saturday?

This is odd, isn’t it? Playing meaningful December football, no longer being “in the hunt”, potentially winning the AFC East. It’s wild stuff! To top it off, the Bills continue to stay healthy as they head to Foxborough for a huge game with seeding implications. Win out & the Patriots lose out, the Bills win the East, potentially obtaining the 3rd seed and a home playoff game. Otherwise, the Bills get the 5th seed. Healthwise, the Bills have the advantage over the Patriots & appear to have the talent in order to win. We can only hope that the Patriots will continue their substandard play over recent weeks & allow the Bills to get their 11th win.

OUT

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe has already been ruled out for his 5th straight game due to his ankle injury against the Dolphins. I don’t really have anything to add besides that 4 weeks was an appropriate timeline but on the accelerated side of the healing timelines. These injuries can take 4-6 weeks, sometimes longer & he could be close but maybe closer to returning next week or for the playoffs. Until he practices in some fashion, only time will tell. By no means does there appear to be complications or lingering issues at this time.

QUESTIONABLE

DT Corey Liuget (knee)

Little continues to be released with Liuget’s knee injury. We still don’t know what side or the exact nature of the injury. He did have a quadriceps tendon tear that cost him half of last year. It’s possible he could be having some pain associated with that such as arthritis as he does have a lot of miles on him, but until more is made available, we are guessing. All the work that went into rehab & the severity of the actual injury supports that after a month of actual football could be causing some issues that need time & rest. The fact that he is limited is promising, but I need to see a full practice before I can be confident he will play. Until then, I expect DT Vincent Taylor will get another start. 

For more reading on Liuget’s injury, check out this piece from the Buffalo News Jason Wolf. It’s very comprehensive & accurately details the original injury, physical therapy techniques, struggles, and overall rehab. Worth the click.

CLEARED TO PLAY

CB Tre’Davious White (left shoulder)

White appeared to suffer a minor stinger on a hard tackle late in the 1st quarter Sunday night. He missed one play & was able to return, continuing his stellar play. The fact he didn’t end up on the injury report is promising as it may have truly been a minor issue & should not impact him at all Saturday. 

CB Taron Johnson (left 5th digit)

Johnson suffered a left finger injury late in the 4th quarter but was part of a key stop & prevented moving the chains for the Steelers. Video is poor & doesn’t show exactly what Johnson did, but it was observed he was getting his fingers buddy taped. He either stubbed it, suffered some type of crush injury, or possible dislocation. Either way, an injury as minor as this wouldn’t affect Johnson’s ability to do his job. Certainly, something to monitor. 

Something else that’s interesting that I’d like to note. The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia noted that practice squad member CB Cam Lewis wasn’t practicing the past 2 days. Typically practice squad members get really no press unless they are involved in a transaction or are called up. There aren’t details noted about Lewis’ injury, but for that attention to detail from Buscaglia & others that I routinely follow & retweet really set the Bills coverage apart from other fan bases. Bills Mafia, we’re blessed!

Probable Inactives:

OG Ike Boettger

OT Ty Nsekhe

DT Corey Liuget

TE Tommy Sweeney

RB TJ Yeldon

S Dean Marlowe

WR Duke Williams

Saturday will be a fun game, win or lose, but I’m feeling a win. This fan base knows the team can hang with anyone in the league & playing the Patriots again will only reinforce this. I think we’re starting to see the end of the dynasty that is New England & observing the rise of prolonged sustained success in Buffalo. This is a fun time to be a fan, such a different mindset than the past 20 years. It’s a beautiful feeling. GO BILLS!

Top Photo Credit:

ESPN.com

 

 

Week 15 Bills Injury Review- Steelers

How is Tre’Davious White’s injury?

The Buffalo Bills have secured a playoff berth! Following a 17-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football, the Bills have secured no worse than a 5th seed in the AFC. What Sean McDermott & Brandon Beane has accomplished in 3 seasons is nothing short of amazing. This is proof that with the right mindset & knowledge, a team can improve & not relegated to forever known as a loser. There is still a lot of football left to be played, but the Bills are in an excellent position to make a deep run with their continued health a major reason for their success.

CB Tre’Davious White (left shoulder/stinger)

White scared all of BillsMafia late in the 1st quarter when he laid a hard hit on Johnny Holton as soon as he caught the ball. White led hard with his right shoulder on a textbook tackle, taking the ball carrier down before getting up, briefly running to the sidelines, motioning to his left shoulder before rolling down to the ground.

He was assessed on the field before making his way into the medical tent before returning to play. Based on the video, it appeared that he suffered a left-sided stinger. Despite leading with the right arm, his head was snapped violently to the left, potentially compressing on one of the lower cervical nerve roots coming out of the neck. This would have sent weakness, numbness, & pain with a potential electrical shock feeling going down the arm as the nerve essentially gets shocked from the impact. 

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White went into the medical tent and sat out 1 play before returning to continue his stellar play. He also did not appear to have any ill effects from the hit for the rest of the game. During Monday’s press conference, it was noted that nothing was significant about White’s injury. Unless he is limited or continues to have issues, then I may consider this a dead issue as he came back & lit it up. Stinger’s can linger but considering that he returned so quickly, he may avoid problems. Only if he has future stingers will there be concerns.

OT Jon Feliciano (leg cramps)

Feliciano suffered leg cramps early in the 4th quarter despite the weather hovering around freezing. Typically, cramping is seen in hotter weather due to excessive sweating, rapidly losing water. However, coming off the flu in which the body can become dehydrated faster due to vomiting or diarrhea, this is the likely cause. I am sure the team was force-feeding him fluids, but the body can only hold so much & the sweat he was producing became too much for him, causing dehydration.

After getting some fluids & time on the bench, he was able to return & finish out the game. Hopefully, he is on the mend & recovers enough for Saturday in order to play in Foxborough. 

CB Taron Johnson (left hand)

Johnson suffered a left-hand injury as the result of attempting to bring down Nick Vannett right before the 2-minute warning, receiving help from S Jordan Poyer. He sat up, looking at his left hand before getting tended to by trainers. After a commercial, he was observed in some distress as the medical staff began buddy-taping the 4th & 5th digits together for support. It isn’t clear what he did to the hand as the angle wasn’t the best; he either stubbed it trying to bring Vannett down or got hit crushed together between Vannett & Poyer. 

Either way, these aren’t the types of injuries that would hold a player out. The Bills still have something to play for against New England & missing this game is not an option for most players. A hand injury should not stop Johnson & I expect he continues to play.

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle) & DT Corey Liuget (knee)

Nsekhe missed his 4th straight game with his low ankle sprain suffered in the win over the Dolphins. Liuget missed his first game with a knee injury following the loss to the Ravens. Both are progressing, according to Monday’s press conference. We don’t know much about Liuget’s injury, other than it’s termed as a knee.

As for Nsekhe, he needs to return to practice in a limited fashion before I can say when he will return. I continue to speculate that he will be back in time for the Patriots game, but that window is rapidly shrinking unless he practices on Wednesday. Until there is an update for either player, it will be a wait-and-see approach.

TE Tyler Kroft

Kroft stepped up in quite possibly the biggest moment of the season & possibly his career, securing the game-winning TD to put the Bills up 17-10 in the 4th quarter. Thankfully he didn’t suffer any further injuries following his broken foot & sprained ankle, but I bring him up for a reason.

During Monday’s press conference, Brian Daboll noted that the route he ran for the TD was the same one that he broke his foot on during OTA’s. Kroft has been invisible nearly all season & to come back, score the go-ahead TD on the exact route that cost him half the season is simply ironic. But this shows that football is a team sport & that everyone has their part.

The Bills have done it, they made the playoffs & can begin thinking about their opponents, whoever it may be. This doesn’t mean that they will rest all their starters or phone it in as teams that have done that typically don’t fare well later on. I do expect to see important players continue to play the next two games but are pulled similar to a preseason game in order to prevent injury. 

To see the Bills grab an AFC East crown would be incredible & put the Patriots into unfamiliar territory as a Wild Card team, where they haven’t been seeded that low since 1998 when they finished 9-7 as a 6th seed. As Bills fans, we’ve seen crazier things happen that have both favored us & harmed us. By now, why think anything different? The impossible is possible!

Top Photo Credit:

Democratandchronicle.com

Week 7 Bills Injury Review- Dolphins

Breaking down the severity of Williams, Coleman, & Johnson’s injuries.

I love the Buffalo Bills, I really do. But that was one hard game to watch on Sunday. The Bills, coming off a 4-1 start & a bye week, hosted the 0-5 Miami Dolphins at New Era Field. While the final score of 31-21 was not as close the game really was, the Bills nearly gave Miami a win which would have dealt a blow to their playoff chances. Fortunately, the Bills moved to 5-1 with fewer injuries than they had following the Titans win. 

Prior to the game, it was announced that both LB Corey Thompson (ankle sx) & Matt Milano (hamstring) were ruled out indicating that the Bills would be short at the position Sunday. While Milano’s presence was missed, it was still the right move to not rush him back as there is still much more football to be played.

Others coming back from injury included WR John Brown (groin), TE Tyler Kroft (ankle), RB Devin Singletary (hamstring), & CB Taron Johnson (hamstring) were all able to return and did not appear to demonstrate any restrictions, though their production in play greatly varied. Moving to the Dolphins game, reviewing the injuries below:

 

CB Kurt Coleman (hamstring)

Going in chronological order, Coleman suffered a hamstring strain late in the 2nd quarter with 2:15 left on a punt return. It was difficult to see on the broadcast, but this occurred as he ran down the field as a gunner before coming up lame before the ball was even caught. 

Like all the other hamstring injuries this season, expect the Bills to be conservative in slowly bringing Coleman back into the special teams fold. Look for a minimum of 2 games before he is able to return. Observing the hamstring injuries so far this season, most have come on full out sprinting with some change of direction or deceleration incorporated into the injury. This doesn’t mean that the Bills are doing anything wrong in preventing these injuries, it just shows that going all out on every play, even the best, most conditioned athletes can get hurt. 

 

WR Duke Williams (right shoulder)

Williams suffered a right shoulder injury on a 23-yard completion late in the 3rd quarter. After hauling in the catch, Williams fell hard onto his right shoulder before rolling out of bounds in obvious pain. Miraculously, he was able to return late in the 4th quarter in a red zone package on the WR Cole Beasley touchdown. Later, it was reported that he went in for x-rays following the game.

Looking at the actual injury itself, it appears as though Williams suffered either a contusion or AC joint sprain, also known as a separated shoulder. The mechanism of injury for this is falling directly onto a shoulder without the ability to brace against the fall. Considering that he fell more on the top of the shoulder, I believe he may have sustained an AC joint sprain. This is the area that the acromion connects with the collarbone. This allows the collarbone to connect to the scapula and create a framework for the shoulder muscles to connect in order to move freely during arm motion and overhead movement.

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Credit: http://www.dovemed.com

There is a slight chance he could have suffered a glenoid labrum tear, but that is relatively unlikely considering the shoulder was slammed into the ground versus falling on an outstretched arm. If he sustained this, then I expect to see bracing on the area which will be a dead giveaway. There was also a chance he could have sustained some type of clavicle fracture due to the hit, but if he had sustained that, he would not have been cleared to return & a public report would have been made.

The fact that he was able to return to the game even in a limited fashion indicates that this may be more of the AC sprain/contusion variety. He may be limited in practice this week as he recovers, but his availability in practice will further dictate the specifics of the injury. Looking back at past research from other articles, the average time for a player to miss is 9.8 days according to data obtained from the NFL injury surveillance system. The fact that he doesn’t have to throw a football may accelerate his return. It’s very possible he plays next week. If he does miss any time, it should be minimal one game as a precaution.

 

LB Maurice Alexander (left hip)

Alexander, filling in for the injured Matt Milano, suffered a left hip injury while tackling Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki going out of bounds. The tackle itself was clean; the injury occurred when Alexander’s left hip fell on Gesicki’s foot while going down. He attempted to walk back to the field but quickly went down for medical attention, motioning to his left hip/back region.

Thankfully, he was able to return as the Bills were only carrying four linebackers Sunday. This injury may have been a hip pointer which is a deep bruise to the iliac crest. This is the portion of the hip where the core muscles attach and give that distinctive flair out seen in the hips. Considering the muscles attach there; twisting, side-bending, & engaging the core muscles further aggravate the injury with pain being the major limitation.

This may be an injury that Alexander doesn’t miss anytime with or even show up on the injury report. If he does miss anytime, I wouldn’t expect any more than one game. But noting these minor injuries here explain why the player went down & the possibilities of the injury.

 

CB Kevin Johnson (stinger)

Johnson suffered what has now been termed a stinger following evaluation for a head injury Sunday. These injuries are subtle on film and may not be apparent, but Johnson’s last play during the game came with 3:27 left in the 4th quarter. Johnson managed to tackle Dolphins WR DeVante Parker with assistance from Bills LB Tremaine Edmunds. 

While we are not certain that this play caused the stinger injury, it’s likely due to the fact that his head bent awkwardly & was rolled over as he hit the turf. He initially appeared dazed for a moment following the play & did not return. 

A stinger occurs as the result of the neck getting forcefully sideways and down, putting pressure on the cervical nerve roots coming from the spinal cord. These can be pinched by the vertebrae stacked above & below the nerve or can be the result of a disc protruding out & pushing on the nerve root. The nerve roots can also be overstretched due to traction from the neck getting hit in the opposite direction. A direct blow is yet another way for this to occur.  The pain associated with this is what gives it the name burner or stinger. The nerve root that is compressed sends a pain signal down that nerve & gives the unwelcome sensation. 

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Credit: http://www.aafp.org

This pain would only be produced in the affected nerve roots which means if someone sustains a stinger, they could feel it down in the specific parts of the arm/hand based on which nerve has impinged. This could be felt in places such as the 4th and 5th digits on the hand with resulting grip weakness or difficulty lifting the arm up overhead, indicating the specific nerve root affected. The effects of the stinger may linger for several days or the symptoms could resolve quickly.

Most of the time, these injuries are minor & don’t cause further issues. Return to sport would be indicated when the player is pain-free, full strength and range of motion have returned, and no flare-up of symptoms occurs. If this becomes recurring or linger, then further examination is warranted. This could involve getting an MRI or nerve conduction studies to further identify the specifics of the injury. It could lead to surgical consults if there was a need for cervical fusion due to instability or if the injury was high enough in the cervical region, potentially career-ending as in the case of former Bills C Eric Wood

I do not believe this to be the case. I merely lay out the possibility of the severity of the injury & what this means regarding stingers. It is still too early to determine if he misses any games or will be limited in practice.

Fortunately, the Bills walked away from Sunday with far fewer injuries than in previous contests. The injury report will be far smaller than in past weeks & indicates that the Bills are getting healthy as a critical stretch in their season approaches. While the quality of the opponent’s vary, they still all pose a threat to the Bills playoff chances. This team is built for depth but there is a clear difference between starter & replacement level players, evident over the past few games. This week’s practice will hopefully show progress for Thompson, Milano, and Johnson as the Bills prepare to host the Eagles next Sunday. 

Top Image Credit:

http://www.predictem.com

Week 7 Bills Injury Preview- Dolphins

Will Kroft, Johnson, & Singletary finally make their home debuts?

The Bills are back into the swing of things following a well deserved & well-timed bye week. The team has been preparing all week getting ready for a tire fire that is the Miami Dolphins franchise, looking to move to 5-1. While most fans are overlooking this game as a win, nothing is guaranteed in the NFL & this is no exception. Regardless of the opponent, the Bills are getting healthier for the next 11 games. The injury concerns are as follows:

QUESTIONABLE:

LB Matt Milano (left hamstring)

Milano resumed practice Monday performing ladder drills off to the side while everyone else ran through regular drills. Considering that Milano plays such a vital role in the defense & has to react to what he’s seeing in front of him, forcing him to keep up with the play. He will have to backpedal, change directions suddenly, and sprint. These activities will require a full recovery before attempting to return to play.

Milano was limited in practice Wednesday but was running and performing drills, indicating that he may be further along than originally anticipated. He was running a straight line, albeit, not full speed. He was performing tackling drills without much compensation. He is moving well considering he had a hamstring injury, but doesn’t appear to be fully healthy. He has been ruled questionable & I don’t expect him to play. 

LB Corey Thompson (ankle surgery)

As it’s well known now, Thompson has been working back from ankle surgery that has kept him out the past 2 games.

The video showed that Thompson returned to practice in a limited fashion Wednesday indicating that he is approaching his return. He may be nearly healthy & just working to get back into game shape. It is still unknown what ankle he had the surgery on but the video appears to show some greater bulk on the right ankle which may indicate bracing for extra support. He has since been ruled questionable, but I believe he has a shot to play in a special teams role to work back into game shape. He could also be available as an emergency backup in the likely event that Milano doesn’t play. 

CB Taron Johnson (right hamstring)

Johnson has been an enigma this season, coming back from a torn labrum last season that ended his season prematurely. He appeared incredibly healthy & ready to take the next step until he suffered a right hamstring strain during the Jets game. He has since missed the past 4 games that makes me believe he suffered some type of setback prior to the Patriots game. 

It’s a shame that his body does not appear to withstand the rigors of the NFL game. This doesn’t mean he won’t even be able to play again, but he may need to reinvent himself in order to last longer than 1 season in the league. 

This week’s practice was promising that he was practicing in full, but no other updates other than his availability was noted. Interestingly though, he has been ruled questionable. The only possibility is that he wants to test it out to ensure that he is truly ready. He’s been out long enough that he should be fully healthy & regain his starting role in the secondary.

WILL PLAY:

WR Robert Foster (turf toe/groin)

Foster continues to battle through a recent groin injury & what is now a possible lingering turf toe injury. While the groin injury is more pronounced, the toe is still likely causing issues regarding running efficiency. 

However, things are looking promising for Foster as he was able to practice in full this week indicating that while he may not be 100%, he is closer to playing this week as indicated by the practice designation. Players are deemed to practice in full if they take all the normal reps at that position. They are limited if they miss reps by design or due to injury. If they did not take reps, but practiced on the side, then they are did not participate.  Thankfully, Foster will be able to play Sunday. 

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

We still don’t know the specifics dealing with Nsekhe, coming off a minor Week 3 ankle injury followed by a Week 4 injury that appears to have been either a contusion or high ankle sprain. According to still pictures from Monday’s practice, this may be more of a contusion as he did not appear to have any bracing on the right ankle. Other shots showed that he was able to go through blocking drills without any significant issues. 

Wednesday’s practice noted that he did not practice due to requiring a veteran rest day, but the video showed him performing warm-ups and side-stepping drills. Fortunately, Nsekhe was able to practice in full Thursday despite the cold & rainy weather which indicates that this supports the contusion theory. Friday’s injury report states that he will play Sunday.

There is a concern that Nsekhe is unable to hold up through an entire game, much less than an entire season. He is 33 years old in a physically demanding position with nearly a decade of professional football to his resume. Whether he can withstand full games anymore is only something that Nsekhe & the training staff know. If OT Cody Ford continues through his development, there is hope that Nsekhe can sink back into a reserve role. Until then, he will rotate with Ford unless the team says otherwise.

TE Tyler Kroft (left ankle/right foot)

Kroft is finally looking good after an incredibly trying season thus far. The video below shows that the right foot appears to be completely healed up & the left foot/ankle accepting dynamic weight bearing activities during the cone drill. He doesn’t appear to miss a step, he doesn’t appear to favor one side or slow down when pushing off. I’m very optimistic about him finally making his season debut. He was able to practice in full this week which is about as good of a sign as one can get.

RB Devin Singletary (left hamstring)

Without question, Singletary will play Sunday! He looks excellent on video, there haven’t been any changes in how he looks from the last video available & barring a meteor hitting Buffalo, he should play, even if the weather isn’t ideal. At some point, an athlete has to play. The conditions will only be so ideal or so much rest will help. He may get injured, but any guy can be injured on any given play. Singletary continues to look good in practice this week & there should be no reason why he can’t play Sunday. 

OT Cody Ford & DE Trent Murphy (concussions)

Both Ford & Murphy are working back from concussions sustained in the Titans game and appear to be making some progress. Reports from Monday’s practice indicated that both were working through the protocol performing light aerobic exercise which indicates that appear to be in Stage 2 of the concussion protocol.

However, this week’s practices indicated that both were able to practice in full signifying that were in Stage 5, requiring that they needed to be cleared by an independent neurologist. Monday’s practice may have been just the nature of the activities they were performing rather than the actual stage of recovery. They have both appeared to have been cleared by the neurologist which indicates they will play Sunday. 

WR John Brown (groin)

Brown was a surprise addition to the injury report Wednesday with a groin injury & was limited in practice. His snap counts from the past 5 games can be seen below & did not greatly differ from game to game. 

Reviewing game footage from the Titans game didn’t reveal any specific instances of injury which leads me to believe that he suffered the injury during Wednesday’s practice. Thursday’s practice was more promising in that he moved well on film, but did not show his full abilities. However, he has since been ruled in to play but it will be interesting to see if his snap count is affected by the groin & addition of Foster. 

C Mitch Morse (right ankle)

Morse sat out the rest of the Titans game as what appeared to be a precaution to avoid worsening any injuries. He appeared to be dealing with a contusion suffered midway through the 2nd quarter. While there is pain, there isn’t much that is functionally wrong. He should not have any issues come Sunday & continue to demonstrate why he’s one of the highest paid centers in the NFL. This week’s practice supported how he is recovering with no bracing or difficulties observed according to reports. He at most may have had his ankle wrapped in prewrap & tape, but this would not be concerning for his ability to play Sunday.

QB Josh Allen (hand)

Allen appeared on the injury report this week with a hand injury but was able to practice in full. To specify, he injured his left hand when he threw his interception against the Titans in where he hit his hand against Harold Landry III’s shoulder pads.

This may a contusion that he is still having some pain with, this may also be a minor sprain of the metacarpophalengeal joint due to the direct hit on the shoulder pads. He may have some bracing to the area at worst, but unlikely as it would restrict his ability to grip the football if he were to run or have to protect the ball. 

However, as pointed out by a follower on Twitter, the injury report indicated the right hand was injured. This is a new development & previously unknown what caused this. As he practiced in full, this may not be an issue, but certainly, something to monitor. 

My predictions for inactive’s are:

LB Matt Milano

OG Ike Boettger

OG Ryan Bates

S Jaquan Johnson

S Dean Marlowe

WR Isaiah McKenzie

TE Tommy Sweeney

This is a very winnable game to get to 5-1. This Bills team is not what we are used to seeing, getting full of themselves, beating them at their own game when cupcakes like this come up on the schedule. This is a team that is built to play, a team that knows their role each and every Sunday. This team may not be the most talented, but they are certainly one of the hardest working. The bye week really made a difference in health & allowed the Bills to get back in the right frame of mind for the next 11+ games.