2020 Week 12 Bills Injury Preview- Chargers

What’s going on with John Brown? How serious is Cody Ford’s knee injury? Will Tommy Sweeney be alright?

Welcome back everyone! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and got a lot done on the bye week. The Bills benefited greatly from the bye, significantly reducing the number of names on the injury report. In turn, a shorter injury report alters decisions on who needs to play and who needs to rest. Below are the injuries and updates. 

OUT

WR John Brown (Right ankle)

Brown continues to be limited with a right ankle injury sustained in the Week 10 matchup against the Cardinals. This initially appeared to be a medial eversion ankle sprain. He did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday, was projected to not practice Thursday due to Thanksgiving and did not practice Friday. Ultimately he was ruled out before Friday’s practice. 

On Locked on Bills, I was more bullish on Brown playing coming off the bye due to him frequently taking rest days early in the week. I also referenced this Instagram post below that he is making progress with his ankle injury.

On top of that, he did have the week off which could have improved the ability to heal. If this is a medial eversion ankle sprain, Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake had a similar injury which caused him to miss 2 games but he came back to play effectively. Brown could have hypothetically come back following the week off and continue to build off his recent progress. 

I had noted in the postgame review from the Cardinals game that he could miss 1-2 games based on the injury and that he now appears to be trending towards that. I will admit that seeing the Instagram post did give me some false hope with the idea that he could suit up faster, but such is the power of social media.

However, if this ankle is worse than originally thought and it could be or it presents more like a high ankle, then he could be out longer. He could potentially be out next week against the 49ers and questionable against the Steelers. This has been a miserable season for John Brown but the hopes is that he can get right when it really counts.

Update: Brown has since been placed on IR.

G Cody Ford (right ankle/knee)

Ford continued to work back from his latest injury suffered against the Seahawks in Week 9. At the time, it appeared as though he suffered a low inversion ankle sprain when he was clipped from behind by Zack Moss on the scoring play by Tyler Kroft

However, it was reported Friday that Ford would be out for the season with a torn meniscus. It was confirmed that he suffered the injury in practice but it did not specify which side he injured. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network stated that he would be out 3-4 months with a full recovery. I agree with that timeline and outlook.

I have detailed out meniscus injuries in the past which you can read here. Looking at Ford’s previous knee injury from against the Chiefs, I have not found any correlation that shows that previous MCL injuries increase the risk for meniscal tears. A previous MCL injury could increase knee laxity but not associated with meniscal injuries. There is research to support knee laxity contributing to future meniscus tears when associated with previous ACL injuries, but that is more due to the rotational component of the knee that the ACL helps stabilize during movement.

Credit: Physio-pedia.com

This discussion is all based on the idea if he tore the meniscus in the right knee which has not been confirmed. If he suffered this on the left side, then this is a moot point. But I feel it is important to note the possibilities Looking back at his college injury history, there is nothing to suggest that he had previous meniscal issues either. This repair decision is a far better option than trimming or removing pieces of the meniscus because that would contribute to further knee degeneration and possibly a shorter career. If you want to remember what the effects of meniscectomies are, recall former Bills tight end Charles Clay.

Update: Ford has since been placed on IR.

ACTIVE

DE Mario Addison (knee/veteran rest)

Considering Addison is a veteran on the wrong side of 30, it’s not surprising that he shows up on the injury report with a vet rest day. He is also listed as a knee injury which hasn’t been a known issue since prior to Week 4 when he injured it in practice. 

He played in 67% of snaps which was tied with Jerry Hughes for the team lead for defensive end snaps. This may be more of a chronic issue though it’s not known which side he is dealing with. Unless more details are known, this will continue to be monitored with overall little concern. 

DE AJ Epenesa (Concussion)

Epenesa suffered his first documented concussion in Week 10, quickly getting ruled out midway through the game. He quickly entered the concussion protocol and working through the system until getting cleared following Wednesday’s practice. 

His recovery fits the timeline seen for a concussion and there is hope he avoids further injury for the remainder of the season. 

RB Taiwan Jones (Hamstring)

Jones appears ready to return following a hamstring strain suffered against the Patriots on a kickoff in the 3rd Quarter. He has missed two games plus the bye to recover which has fit the timelines we see for hamstring strains. 

He has had a multitude of injuries over his career and to see him deal with another one isn’t really all that concerning. I had thought that Brandon Beane wanted to get whatever was left in the tank and that may be the case. As he practiced in full, he will be expected to return and contribute on special teams. 

TE Dawson Knox (Hamstring)

Knox was a surprise showing up on the injury report in his first game back from COVID. He played in 70% of the snaps but was generally ineffective. This hamstring injury was not noticed on film and the fact that he’s practicing in full after a week off tells me that it was minor in the first place. Hopefully Knox can put it together in the next few games to show he’s worth keeping around next season. 

CB Josh Norman (Illness)

Honestly not sure why Norman is on the injury report. He’s been cleared off the COVID reserve list and he’s practicing in full. Things like this will have me digging into the intricacies of the injury reporting in the offseason to understand designations like this. 

TE Lee Smith (Illness)

Smith was a DNP Friday due to illness which is why he was on the injury report but that doesn’t appear to be affecting his availability for Sunday. As he has been used sparingly this year, this may not matter but for posterity, I must mention. 

DE Jerry Hughes (Back)

Hughes showed up on the injury report with a back ailment that limited him Wednesday but was projected as full on Thursday and practiced in full on Friday. I’m not certain regarding the specifics as to what he was dealing with but until he has multiple DNP’s or is ruled out prematurely due to an injury, I have faith he will play and continue to produce.

Other Thoughts

QB Josh Allen (Left shoulder) 

Allen is finally off the injury report following 6 weeks of full participation from the original shoulder injury. I can say for a fact we have seen more severe injuries get minimal to no time on the injury report. Case in point: Jerry Hughes wrist/groin, Jon Feliciano left shoulder rotator cuff tear, Zay Jones/Taron Johnson torn labrum; those are just off the top of my head. 

Either Josh Allen had fully recovered from his shoulder ailment or it is finally at a point where it is no longer an issue. This is something I still continue to watch in his runs, throws, and what he wears on the shoulder. At this point in the season, if these guys can produce and win games, then that’s all the matters because everyone is hurt in the league. It’s a harsh reality, but it is what it is for those that play in the NFL.

TE Tommy Sweeney (Myocarditis)

Tommy Sweeney never had a chance in 2020. He started off on the PUP list due to a possible stress fracture, spending the entire season on there before getting exposed to and contracting COVID.

Once cleared, he continued to work out but may have been having some issues with his endurance which likely led to a consultation with a cardiologist. Regrettably, he was diagnosed with myocarditis, the first known NFL player afflicted with this condition as the result of COVID. 

Myocarditis is a condition in where the heart muscle itself becomes inflamed, this can also affect the electrical system of the heart as well. This can be the result of a virus, fungi, or bacteria among other things. The problem with inflammation of the heart muscle compared to skeletal muscle is that the heart muscle does not have the regenerative properties that regular muscle has. There is some research that shows some recovery can happen, but at a very slow rate. This is why heart attacks are so tough to come back from, the heart muscle is damaged and does not heal as effectively as skeletal muscle.

So is there damage to Sweeney’s heart? I’m not certain of that and I hope not. But he possibly had been having issues with working out after getting COVID which led to the consultation. The hope is that they caught it early enough and prevented any damage from occurring. Research shows that he will have to stop activities from 3-6 months to allow things to recover fully.

If he were to work through this or had a severe case, he could have suffered heart damage, irregular heart beats, or heart attack/strokes. It is a terrible situation for Sweeney but at least he can access some of the best medical care available to ensure that he can return for 2021. It is far too early to tell how this will affect him but any delay in training could impact him for next season. This will be something to continue to monitor. 

Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm

WR John Brown* has been placed on IR

TE Lee Smith

DT Harrison Phillips

RB T.J. Yeldon

G Cody Ford* has been placed on IR

There are currently 52 players on the active roster. Transactions may occur later today which can affect the number of inactives.

Looking at the other side, the Chargers are dealing with their own injuries including the potential return of running back Austin Eckler from a Week 4 hamstring injury. This could drastically change up their running game which has been a point of weakness for the Bills in defending the run. The Chargers will already be without Casey Heyward, Melvin Ingram, and Uchenna Nwosu which the Bills could exploit offensively. Despite their record, they are still a talented team and rookie quarterback Justin Herbert had shown he was worth the first round draft pick earlier this year. 

Biased view but I believe the Bills have what it takes to win simply due to overall talent and health. The opportunity to stack wins before playing the Steelers will only help in case COVID hits again or an untimely injury occurs, potentially costing the team a win. A reminder: this is the last regular season game at 1:00 pm on Sunday as the team either plays in prime time or on Saturday the remainder of the season. Simply a result of a successful football team. We’re in the final stretch of the season and I’m looking forward to a potentially deep playoff run to start off 2021.

Top Photo Credit: Bills Wire USA Today

2020 Week 7 Bills Injury Review- Jets

Are the Bills finally getting healthy?

A win is a win when at the end of the year no matter how easy or ugly the game may have been. An 18-10 score completes the season sweep of the New York Jets and first sweep since 2015. Behind a strong performance of 6 field goals from K Tyler Bass, the Bills found ways to move the ball down the field and score points despite the offense sputtering. The defense came up strong in the second half, only allowing 4 total yards to the Jets offense, finishing with a game-sealing interception. 

To top it all off, there were no publicly reported injuries. In light of the good news, there are still several topics to discuss below as upcoming decisions based on injuries will take place. Check it out below.

QB Josh Allen (left shoulder)

Allen continues to deal with a left shoulder injury sustained in the Raiders game. Against the Titans and Chiefs, he has struggled for accuracy and has not looked himself while wearing a shoulder brace to protect the area. 

He came out sporting a new brace to protect the shoulder but it appears that this is less restrictive than his previous one. I was able to observe that under the shoulder brace, he did have kinesiotape which likely helped support the shoulder but allowed him change the brace without sacrificing stability. It’s also noted that he ditched the brace last week in the 4th quarter against the Chiefs in order to improve his throwing mechanics. 

I will expect to continue to see him wear the brace to protect the shoulder until the end of the season. 

CB Tre’Davious White (back)

White suited up on Sunday after being ruled questionable following Friday’s practice. White played in 100% of defensive snaps. The fact that he plays but is limited during the week indicates that this back issue he has is the pain centered with the goal of reducing activity through the week to be ready on Sundays. This is something to continue to monitor and I expect that this issue will not go away as the season progresses. 

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral) 

Milano played in 33% of snaps indicating that he was likely on a pitch count. I had thought he would miss two games and that appeared to be the case. He was also in on obvious passing downs which supports the notion that he is healthy enough to play but not quite there with regards to tackling fully. His playing time should ramp up for the Patriots game as he will be needed much more against a far better opponent. 

He was noted to be wearing a shoulder harness that limits shoulder abduction and external rotation with those movements placing stress on the healing tendon/muscle. He will likely not be 100% until after the bye, but healthy enough that his presence is greatly needed over the next 3 weeks in order to keep piling up the wins. 

G Jon Feliciano (pectoral tear)

Feliciano continues to wait to return to play following his pectoral tear back in August. I had originally thought that he would return around midseason in Week 8. While not confirmed, his 21-day practice window is closing on Wednesday with the team to make a decision on whether to activate him. It’s likely that he will be activated, but the team intends to use the full window before they make the decision. 

LB Tyrel Dodson (right hamstring)

Dodson was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring strain which indicates that the injury is possibly a Grade 2 strain which will take 4-8 weeks to fully heal. I would speculate that he is closer to the 4-week variety. It’s hard to say how long he’ll be out, but it’s likely that he will be out the next month as he rehabs. 

CB Cam Lewis (left wrist)

Lewis was active Sunday following being deemed week-to-week with a wrist injury sustained in the Chiefs game. It still isn’t clear what he is dealing with, possibly a fracture due to the club, but it’s serious enough to not play against the Jets. It appears that he was available only in the event of an emergency. With the potential return of CB Levi Wallace from IR potentially this week, this could be a one for one swap if the team goes this route. 

S Jaquan Johnson (back)

Johnson popped up on the injury report Friday with a back injury but played on Sunday, appearing in 57% of special teams indicating that this wasn’t a concerning issue. He doesn’t have any known back injuries, but something to note as he has become an important special teams contributor. 

TE Dawson Knox (calf/COVID)

Knox was ruled out prior to Sunday’s contest but was placed on the COVID/Reserve list Saturday after testing positive, also forcing TE Lee Smith, TE Tommy Sweeney, and PS TE Nate Becker onto the list due to being close contacts. While it’s highly unfortunate that Knox contracted COVID, this may benefit Knox in the long run as he can rest for the next week which may allow him to return fully healthy once cleared. According to protocols, if he was asymptomatic, he can return after 10 days from the initial positive test and have two following negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

If he was symptomatic, he would have to wait 10 days from when the symptoms first appeared and at least 72 hours from when he last experienced symptoms. So it’s possible that Knox could return by next week to play, but we won’t know that unless we know that he was symptomatic. This is a waiting game at the moment. Hopefully, Smith, Sweeney, and Becker test negative and can return to their respective roles quickly. To read more about the COVID testing, check this article out.

The team should be getting a lot of players healthy this week with the possibility of another name or two popping up on the injury report. Despite not having Knox for the foreseeable future along with potentially G Cody Ford, the additions of Feliciano and Wallace should help immensely in order to allow the Bills to take control of the AFC East next Sunday against the Patriots. 

Top Photo Credit: Buffalo News

2020 Week 7 Bills Injury Preview- Jets

The injury list is long, pick your poison.

The Bills 4-0 start seems like ages ago following two straight losses to the two best teams that the AFC had to offer last season. Sitting at 4-2, the Bills are still in a prime position to win the division and host a playoff game for the first time in a quarter-century. Despite being in the driver’s seat, it doesn’t feel like they can field a healthy team in order to keep the march going strong. 

In the time writing these weekly injury reports, this is one of the more taxing ones that have been completed. There are simply a lot of injuries. There have been other weeks within a season that have had a lot of designations, but the list thins out or guys get healthy. We are now feeling the effects of injuries piling on top of injuries with multiple guys already ruled out prior to Sunday’s matchup against the Jets. Fortunately, the depth that the Bills have is still sufficient in the short term to get through this week. Below is the extensive list of injuries.

OUT

G Cody Ford (right knee)

Ford is ruled out for Sunday after sustaining what appears to be an MCL sprain to his right knee as the result of getting rolled upon in the 4th quarter. He was able to walk off under his own power before requiring the cart to head to the locker room. I had thought he would benefit from a short term IR stay but the team has not elected to go that route quite yet. Considering he was playing through a groin, possible left shoulder/elbow, and now knee, he could use the break. Regardless of the IR decision, Ford will be out Sunday.

WR John Brown (left knee)

Brown was ruled out for Sunday due to a left knee injury sustained in the Chiefs game. This occurred in the first series as Brown was trying to catch a cross route when he fell onto the left knee. He was hobbled by it the rest of the game and was largely ineffective.

Based on the latest injury alone, he probably could play through it, but considering all the injuries he’s been dealing with including the previous knee injury along with calf and foot issues, he could use a week off and that’s what appears to be happening following a week of DNP’s. The week off should do him some good in order to get ready next week for the Patriots. 

TE Dawson Knox (calf)

Knox will miss his second straight game with a calf injury originally sustained in the Titans loss. The severity is unknown but considering he will now miss two games, this says that it isn’t minor. The literature does show that these can take some time to heal, on average, 17.4 days which means he’s not quite there yet. At this point, he will need full practices 2 out of the 3 days in order for me to be convinced he plays. The more time Knox misses, his 3rd game total due to a concussion, the less he can be relied upon as a weapon for Josh Allen.

Update: Knox has since been placed on the COVID/Reserve list along with Lee Smith, Nate Becker, and Tommy Sweeney.

CB Josh Norman (left hamstring)

Norman reportedly tweaked the same hamstring from training camp, which according to records, was the left side. He has since been ruled out and we do not know the severity of the hamstring which will make a timeline tough to establish. 

Due to the previous hamstring strain, he was at greater risk of re-injure the area with the literature showing a 33% recurrence rate. Hopefully, the injury was minor and he comes back in time for the Patriots game. If he can’t go, CB Levi Wallace will come off IR, giving the team some options.

LB Tyrel Dodson (right hamstring)

Had Dodson not been injured, we possibly would see Milano sit another week due to the lack of need. However, since Dodson injured his right hamstring on a punt return, Milano may be pressed into service Sunday. Dodson has already been ruled out and may miss the Patriots game as well. Hopefully, Dodson is not out too long to give this team depth and versatility in the second half.

Update: Dodson has since been placed on IR.

QUESTIONABLE

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral)

Milano continues to battle back from a left pectoral strain suffered against the Raiders in Week 4. He appeared to be on track against the Chiefs to play but the research didn’t support a return that quickly with him ultimately missing another week.

He is far more likely to play in the Jets game considering the lack of depth available at the linebacker position. With any injury, he would benefit from additional time off but he is probably healthy enough to play and be effective. I expect him to play with the shoulder harness and give the defense a needed shot to get right for the coming weeks. 

CB Cam Lewis (left wrist)

Lewis continues to practice with a club on his left hand following Sunday’s injury attempting to tackle Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It’s not clear what he did to the wrist but it’s significant enough that he has to wear a club on his left hand and that he was ruled week-to-week. The one upside to his injury is that he can go out to perform all the duties of the cornerback position with the exception of catching interceptions. Considering the lack of depth, Lewis may be forced to be active but available only in case of an emergency. 

CB Tre’Davious White (back)

White appeared on the injury report again with his back injury that has been bothering him since the lead up to the Titans game. Outside of it being a pain-related issue, we still don’t have details as to what is flaring things up. 

While he is not playing quite at the level he was last year, he is still playing at an above-average level which makes him still one of the best options on the team even not fully healthy. I expect he plays or at worst, is active but only in case of emergency. It’s unfortunate that the team has to resort to suiting up injured players, but such is the case with the Bills this week. 

ACTIVE

QB Josh Allen (left shoulder)

Allen continues to practice in full with the left shoulder injury sustained in the Raiders game. I have thought his throwing mechanics have changed due to the injury which could explain some of the misses over the last two weeks. I expect him to come off the report soon but to linger on the report as long as he has is important to note later on. I still suspect he tore his labrum or injured his rotator cuff, but I will be looking to see if he continues to wear a brace on Sunday for stability. 

S Jaquan Johnson (back)

Johnson popped up on the injury report Friday with a back designation but practiced in full. There is absolutely no idea what he could be dealing with unless we get more information. Due to the issues in the secondary, any nick or bruise draws concerning responses from the fan base.

Other Injuries:

G Jon Feliciano (pectoral tear)

Feliciano has been discussed in the game plan this week for the first time since before his injury occurred. His 21-day window to practice without counting towards the active roster is rapidly closing and the team will have to make a decision by October 28th.

By the time you’re reading this, Feliciano will likely have been activated from IR. I do not expect him to take all the snaps in his first game back but he should see a decent amount to get live game reps to prepare for the second half of the season. A corresponding move to bring Feliciano back will either mean someone is cut or someone is placed on IR, hopefully, Cody Ford.

TE Tommy Sweeney (foot)

Sweeney is mentioned because he is now eligible to return from PUP following a six-week stay. The team has five weeks to activate him to practice and from there, they have a 21-day window to activate him to the roster. I had thought that he suffered a stress fracture and is still working back from the injury. Considering the struggles that Dawson Knox has had, Sweeney could be a nice addition in the coming weeks. I will be interested to see what the plan is moving forward.

Update: Sweeney has since been placed on COVID/Reserve list.

G Quinton Spain (foot soreness/released)

Spain was a surprise release following two games where he was declared inactive due to foot soreness. While he was a good player last year and had recently signed a contract extension, it simply did not appear to work out due to the team wanting to develop Cody Ford at the guard position. Details aren’t exact with regards to the reasoning of the release, but I would expect it was because he wasn’t happy with his playing time.

While it is not a great look to release a former starter, it is better to cut loose a player who does not want to be there rather than let any potentially negative attitudes fester in the locker room. Best of luck to Spain in his NFL journey as he looks to find a new home.

As a result of this move, the Bills elevated DT Justin Zimmer to the active roster and signed LB Ahmad Gooden to the practice squad.

Inactives:

TE Dawson Knox* COVID

CB Josh Norman

G Cody Ford

LB Tyrel Dodson* IR

QB Jake Fromm

WR John Brown

RB TJ Yeldon

Call ups:

CB Dane Jackson

CB Lafayette Pitts

The only upside is that the Bills are playing the Jets this week. Had we been forced to play another team such as the Patriots or Seahawks, this game could have been rough. Along with having a lesser team in the Jets, they are also dealing with their own injuries seen below. 

Those are some key players that are injured that could make an already depleted team even more susceptible to a loss. But according to Tom Pelissero, QB Sam Darnold is expected to play.

While there are questions about whether the Bills are the real deal following two losses, these are the kind of games where a winning team must come in and do their job, beating a lesser opponent. Ideally, the Bills take care of business and move onto the Patriots in addition to getting healthier as the team enters November and the second half of the season.

Top Photo Credit: BillsWire USA Today

2020 Week 1 Bills Injury Preview- Jets

How are the Bills looking heading into the season opener?

FOOTBALL IS BACK!!

The Bills face the New York Jets on Sunday in a much-needed distraction from what 2020 has become. As expected due to the truncated offseason, both teams are entering the game with several injuries. Fortunately, the Bills appear to be the healthier of the two teams. Today’s post will focus on the Bills injuries as they always do. If time was to be spent on the Jets, we would be getting into making this a chapter book. For easy reference, see the Jets injury report below.

As for the Bills, there are several injuries on the defensive side of the ball that could challenge the depth that the front office has worked so hard to build up. Below is each player’s status & injury.

OUT


CB Josh Norman (left hamstring strain)

He has officially been ruled out of Sunday’s matchup against the Jets despite injuring his hamstring more than 3 weeks ago. This is regrettable as he appeared to be on track up until this week.

This tells us several things about the injury.

  • It was possibly more severe than originally thought. This strain could be a Grade 2 which can take 4-8 weeks on average to recover.

  • He may have suffered a Grade 1 but re-injured it on Monday, the last practice that he participated in. He had looked well in video running through drills, but still had the leg wrapped.

  • This also potentially resets the timeline of when he will return. 1-3 weeks is a typical timeline for Grade 1 strains, but if it’s a Grade 2, he may only be half better by now. Or if it was a Grade 1 with reinjury, he may have to restart his rehab which could mean that he misses 2-3 weeks.

Defensive backs make up 23% of hamstring strains when compared to other positions and 12% of all training camp injuries are hamstrings. Norman was just outside the 2-week window where re-injury is at its highest but that window is still open for up to 4 weeks from the onset of the injury. Next week will show where he may be in terms of recovery and availability.

These are frequent injuries seen in training camp & occur even without abnormal preseasons. He may not be 100%, but considering he has a specialized role on special teams, he could be effective in limited action. It will be important to note how effective running & cutting can be, especially when cutting to the left, pivoting off the right knee. could be continuing to deal with issues especially cutting, could limit his return ability. Jones has dealt with numerous injuries before, this will be yet another injury he plays through.

QUESTIONABLE

DT Vernon Butler (hamstring)

Not much more can be said about hamstrings that haven’t been mentioned already for Butler. He practiced in full which indicates that he is likely to play Sunday. He has the added benefit of being in a rotation on the defensive line which will limit fatigue & overuse throughout the game.

He won’t have to work up to top-end speed like Wallace & Norman do but he will have the responsibilities of trying to drive through and around his blocker which will force the hip into extension. This is a primary function of the hamstring which could cause problems if he does too much. He will likely play but there is concern that he re-injures it.

ACTIVE

CB Levi Wallace (hamstring)

Fortunately for the CB2 position, Wallace is active & will get the start Sunday. He suffered his hamstring strain shortly after Josh Norman went down with an injury.

The only difference between Wallace & Norman was the designations upon injury. Wallace was listed day-to-day whereas Norman was week-to-week. Hamstrings continue to be a common injury early in training camps & early-season games. Hopefully, Wallace does not suffer a re-injury due to fatigue & puts this injury behind him.

RB Taiwan Jones (right knee)

Jones has been dealing with the injury since August 26th as camp was wrapping up. Reports indicated that he stepped awkwardly and went down, requiring trainers to tend to him. Without video, it’s hard to get a true gauge on the injury. But based on the wording, he could be possibly dealing with an MCL sprain or meniscus tear. I’m leaning towards the MCL due to the shorter timeframe that he has been limited.

Remaining injuries on IR:

G Jon Feliciano (left pectoral tear)

He continues to work back from his injury, recently ditching the sling early last week indicating that he is on track with rehab. Based on his timeline, he has one month to get in NFL shape & strength which is a really tall order. If the Bills get off to a great start, then this can allow Feliciano to take the time he truly needs to return & not rush back, risking the possibility of re-injury.

TE Tommy Sweeney (left foot fracture)

Sweeney is on the PUP list with the foot fracture & is not able to come back until Week 6 at the earliest. As midseason gets closer, we will have an idea of a Week 7 return is realistic or if he will need more time to fully get back into shape.

INACTIVE LIST

This is incredibly tricky due to the fluid nature of the practice squad list. However, there still has to be several inactives.

CB Josh Norman
G Ike Boettger
QB Jake Fromm
RB TJ Yeldon
TE Reggie Gilliam
WR Isaiah McKenzie

Fortunately, the Bills are in much better shape than the Jets coming into the game. The true test will be managing the workloads of all the players & not exacerbating or creating any new soft tissue injuries. I expect a Bills win not only due to talent but overall health. It is simply wonderful that football is back & can provide some sort of normalcy in an already crazy world.

Photo Credit:

Niagara-Gazette.com

TE Tommy Sweeney Injury Profile

#89 Tommy Sweeney
Position: TE
Height/Weight: 6’5”/251 lbs.
Age: 25
College: Boston College
Year joined Bills: 2019
Acquired: 7th round draft selection

College Injuries:

No publicly reported injuries

Pro Injuries:

2019:

No publicly reported injuries

2020:

Left foot fracture, Off-season, currently on Active PUP until Week 11

COVID, later developed myocarditis, placed on season ending IR prior to Week 12

General links:

2020 Bills Injury Preview- Tight Ends

TE Tommy Sweeney Foot Injury Speculation

Buffalo Bills Training Camp Injury Review- Week 2

The Bills are still dealing with injuries, what ones are concerning?

Another week of Bills training camp is completed! Fortunately, the list of injured players has shrunk considerably from last week allowing the Bills to stay healthy & participate in training camp. For last week’s recap, check out my article at Buffalo Rumblings.

New additions to the injury report:

WR Stefon Diggs (knee/back soreness)

Diggs gave everyone a scare when he went down briefly on Monday when he stayed down for a moment while trainers tended to his knee. Specifics were not given regarding how the injury occurred, but he did not stay down long and returned to practice quickly, not appearing to give it any further attention the rest of the week. This is likely nothing but still important to note.

The more concerning of the two injuries is the back soreness that caused him to miss Thursday’s scrimmage. He was observed on the sideline tossing a football with noticeable limitations. In the video below, he doesn’t exhibit any trunk rotation, he throws purely from his arm and he appears very stiff indicating the low back pain.

This may be true soreness, he may have strained muscles or a sprain, impossible to discern from the video alone. The training staff will be focusing on managing and eliminating the pain and keeping him moving to prevent this from becoming a chronic issue. Like the knee, I do not anticipate this becoming a long term issue, but simply to note.

RB Taiwan Jones (knee)

Jones went down in practice on Sunday after he stepped awkwardly followed by trainers tending to him before ending practice early. Like the Diggs injury, little is known regarding the mechanism of injury. He did not participate in practice the rest of the week and was observed in street clothes during the scrimmage.

My speculation is that he suffered a knee sprain, possibly his MCL. These are quite common during training camp and can hold him out for 1-3 weeks. Until he returns to practice, hard to establish an accurate timeline without more information.

RB Christian Wade (quadriceps)

Wade has missed the last week of practice with a quadriceps injury that appears to be a strain. He could be dealing with a contusion which can be very painful, but not even practicing in a limited fashion indicates more of a strain.

While this could tank most players’ roster hopes, Wade still has his practice squad roster exemption that the Bills will likely use again this season. He simply is not ready to yet contribute to an NFL roster yet which means this injury is a minor issue.

LB Corey Thompson (knee soreness)

Like all the other injuries, we can only go off of what is reported by the team on Tuesday. Knee soreness is a vague term that limits any timelines to be established. He doesn’t have any previous known knee injuries which reduces the possibility that this is a chronic issue.

Injury updates:

WR Robert Foster (concussion)

Foster exited the concussion protocol on Wednesday. He was able to participate in Thursday’s scrimmage but due to media restrictions on reporting, his performance was not known. Foster has a week to show the Bills why he needs to stick around on the roster, but his chances appear to be dwindling.

G Jon Feliciano (pectoral tear)

Feliciano is still out with his pectoral injury & is not expected to be ready for some time. But it’s important to highlight that he was observed out of his sling by Spectrum News’ Jon Scott.

This indicates that he is on schedule with the rehab protocol but does not indicate that he will be back as soon as Week 4. I still maintain that he will be back around mid-season which will allow him to be fully ready rather than limited.

CB Josh Norman (left hamstring)

Despite his aging vet status, Norman still commands a lot of attention for the fan base. He has been out over a week with a left hamstring strain suffered while returning an interception & tackle.

DC Leslie Frazier is hopeful that Norman will be back in time for Week 1 and he still appears on track for that. Barring any setbacks or change in severity, I anticipate that he will play but CB Levi Wallace is available to start if Norman isn’t 100%.

No changes:

FB Patrick DiMarco (neck), TE Tommy Sweeney (foot) are still not practicing & are uncertain to return anytime soon.

LB Vosean Joseph (undisclosed) was dealing with an injury last week which DC Leslie Frazier acknowledged but details were not given.

DT Ed Oliver, LB AJ Klein, & LB Tremaine Edmunds returned to practice & hopefully will not have any recurrence of the injuries sustained last week.

Housekeeping:

CB Ike Brown retired and posted his statement regarding his reasoning below.

In his place, the Bills signed CB Brian Allen after spending time with the Steelers & Seahawks. His injury history is limited but detailed below.

The Bills also settled their special teams competition with the release of K Stephen Hauschka & P Lachlan Edwards.

The Bills continue to stay in excellent shape regarding injuries & should have nearly everyone available for Week 1 besides Feliciano and Sweeney.

Image Credit: BuffaloNews.com

TE Tommy Sweeney Foot Injury Speculation

What is Sweeney dealing with?

The start of Bills training camp started off with some injury news as Bills TE Tommy Sweeney was placed on the Active PUP list due to a foot injury. 

Outside of what the team has stated, there is virtually no information on the specifics of this foot injury. However, there are some clues that narrow things down for a timeline on when this injury occurred and the possibilities. 

The first clue was that he was placed on the active PUP list. The active PUP list is reserved for players who have been injured performing football-related activities. This means that he would have been training and he suffered the injury at some point over the past few months. 

The second clue was that he was practicing with offseason workouts down in Florida. Looking at the picture, there is no bracing or anything out of the ordinary on Sweeney’s ankles or feet that signify that he was dealing with an injury at the time.

The third clue is from a Bills fan that saw Sweeney out in public on July 21st at a local restaurant. Twitter user @Jack_WanderS stated that he spoke with Sweeney who stated that he had a broken foot. 

When asked, he stated that he believes he injured the left foot but wasn’t certain. 

While the team has not confirmed that it’s a broken left foot, this is the best information that we have to go off of for now. It is not known if this injury required surgery when it occurred which could drastically impact his timeline to return, and how effective he will be when he returns. 

Sweeney counts against the overall roster but will not count against the 53-man roster if he is still on PUP once the regular season beings. He can be released at any time once medically cleared upon passing his physical. Until there is more information regarding his injury, speculation is all we have. Ideally, he returns prior to padded practices, but any conditioning he misses greatly impacts his ability to make this roster for 2020.

Bills 2020 Training Camp Injury Preview: Tight End

Will this be Knox’s breakout year?

This is Part 4 of the Buffalo Bills training camp preview revisiting injuries from 2019 & the impact it may have on their performance and availability in 2020. Part 4 consists of the tight end room.

Players Returning

TE Jason Croom

Spent 2019 on IR with a right hamstring injury. 

Croom has been an interesting case. He was too good to cut outright but not good enough to bring back up to the roster. He missed most of training camp due to a nagging hamstring injury. He ended up playing in only the 4th preseason game against the Vikings, grabbing 2 catches for 27 yards.

Surprisingly, he made the 53 man roster and then was immediately placed on IR which gave the team the ability to call him back up later if there were other injuries. Fortunately, the Bills were incredibly healthy last season and his services were not needed. 

Reports later came out that he tore his hamstring during spring practices and just wasn’t able to fully get healthy, immediately re-injuring the hamstring again. It has been a year since Croom injured his hamstring and there haven’t been any reports stating that he isn’t healthy. There is a chance he could reinjure the area again, but the time off from football along with rest and proper rehab should reduce that. The only possibility of this becoming an issue again is if he hasn’t been keeping up with conditioning. Training camp will quickly reveal if Croom is 100% again.

TE Tyler Kroft 

11 games, 3 starts, 14 targets, 6 receptions, 71 yards, 1 TD

Kroft did not have the season anyone envisioned for him coming from Cincinnati in the offseason. His production simply did not meet the contract he signed. He dealt with several injuries that really prevented him from contributing in a meaningful way. 

Below is his injuries:

    • Right foot fracture

In 2018, he missed 11 total games dealing with a broken foot, likely a Jones fracture which required surgery. He managed to get through the offseason before getting to Phase 3 of OTA’s where he broke the same foot again on the first day. He eventually spent all of training camp on the PUP list before getting activated to the 53 man roster on cut down day as he continued to work back into shape.

    • Left ankle sprain

As Kroft was rounding into form and preparing to play against his old team in Week 3, he sprained his left ankle during a routine practice. While the ankle sprain wasn’t much of an issue, it held him out an additional 2 weeks until he made his season debut against Miami in Week 7.

Kroft never got the reps needed with Josh Allen in order to be successful & allow him to become a weapon in the offense. While the foot fracture was a fluky thing, once the screw is removed following a re-fracture in a Jones fracture repair, the injury doesn’t appear to be recurrent. What this means is that he is unlikely to suffer another similar injury to the area. 

TE Dawson Knox

15 games, 11 starts, 1 rushing attempt, 9 yards, 50 targets, 28 receptions, 388 yards, 2 TD’s

Knox quickly became a favored target in the offense despite coming out of Ole Miss with little production. During his rookie season, he nearly eclipsed the entirety of his college production. He managed to put together a solid season despite dealing with several injuries along the way, including one that cost him most of training camp. Knox was overall fairly available, only missing the final regular-season game against the Jets due to resting for the playoffs. 

Knox’s injuries:

    • Hamstring

Knox suffered a hamstring injury early on in training camp during routine drills. This injury cost him the better part of a month, later returning to play in limited amounts against both the Lions and Vikings in the preseason, not getting any catches during this time. While it did appear that the hamstring was a Grade 1 due to some of the progress observed, a rush back to the field was not in the cards for Knox until he was 100% healthy.

    • Knee

He was dealing with some “knee soreness” prior to the second matchup against the Dolphins down in Miami. This injury did not hold him out from playing or appeared to affect him in any way. At the time, I had thought maybe he was hitting the proverbial “wall” due to the increased level of competition along with a longer season when compared to college football. The injury did not show up again later that season & appear to affect his play.

Like Croom, there is concern that Knox could re-injure his hamstring strain. There is reason to believe that Knox has taken extra steps to ensure that he comes to training camp in shape and will be more diligent in preparing his body to reduce his injury risk.

TE Tommy Sweeney

6 games, 1 start, 13 targets, 8 receptions, 114 yards

Sweeney was the less-heralded other tight end selected in the 2019 NFL Draft. He didn’t have the same impact that Knox has in his first year with the Bills, but Sweeney also did not have any known injuries. While he was inactive most weeks, he did appear in a handful of games early on as TE Tyler Kroft worked his way back into the lineup. Once Kroft returned, Sweeney was expendable and was not called upon until the regular-season finale against the Jets. 

TE Lee Smith

16 games 5 starts, 5 targets, 4 receptions, 31 yards, 1 TD

Smith is about as durable as they come. He didn’t miss any games and also did not appear to suffer any known injuries. While he wasn’t very productive in the offense, he continued to excel as a blocking tight end and as a leader in the locker room. As Smith increases in age, he will eventually be phased out, but as long as he continues to be a leader and effective blocker, he will be hard to beat out for a spot on the team.

TE Nate Becker

Becker spent the 2019 training camp with the team after getting cut by Detroit prior to training camp. He did not survive training camp cuts and was later signed to the practice squad where he sat for the remainder of the season. He did not appear to suffer any known injuries. To read more on Becker’s previously known injury history, click here.

2020 Outlook

The tight end room is not an area where major injuries happen. A foot fracture, ankle sprain, and a pair of hamstrings make up the entirety of the injuries to the position. None of the injuries appear to be chronic or likely to recur in 2020. While Knox & Smith are locked to make the team next year, Sweeney still appears to be a strong shot to make the roster again. Croom better produce at a high level & show the team that he has something from 2018 to indicate to the team that he plans on sticking around. 

Unless Becker somehow unseats Smith by dramatically improving his blocking skills, the lineup will likely be Knox, Smith, & Sweeney for 2020. The tight end position for the Buffalo Bills is not a sexy one at all, but it hopefully will become a position that grows in importance as Josh Allen improves his game. 

 

Wild Card Weekend Bills Injury Preview- Texans

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

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

Locked On Bills 

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

JJ Watt’s Unexpected Return

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

QUESTIONABLE

DE Shaq Lawson (left hamstring strain)

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

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

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

WR Andre Roberts (foot)

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

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

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle contusion)

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

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

CB Levi Wallace (right medial ankle sprain)

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

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

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

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

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

Probable Inactives:

TE Tommy Sweeney

DT Vincent Taylor

S Kurt Coleman

S Dean Marlowe

OG Ike Boettger

RB TJ Yeldon

OG Ryan Bates

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

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

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

Top Photo Credit:

USAToday.com

Week 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