2020 AFC Championship Bills Injury Preview- Chiefs

Will Butler and Davis suit up Sunday? What Chiefs will be effective?

We are on the precipice of a truly historical moment for the Buffalo Bills! One more win and the Buffalo Bills will be crowned AFC Champions and return to the Super Bowl for the first time in 27 years! Not only has it been a long time since the Bills have been this far in the playoffs, but it has also felt like a long week as injury updates come out daily on not only the Bills but the status of Patrick Mahomes and whether he would be cleared from the concussion protocol in time. 

Thankfully, at the time of publication, it is one day away from the Bills and Chiefs squaring off for the right to represent the American Football Conference in the Super Bowl. Below are all the injury updates for both the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.

QUESTIONABLE

WR Gabriel Davis (Right ankle)

It was obvious that Davis injured his ankle missing that touchdown pass early in the 2nd quarter that limited him the remainder of the game. Two DNP’s with a limited practice isn’t ideal either, but it is promising. It looks like a low inversion ankle sprain on video, but it could be more based on examination and video angles available. 

It may come down to how much he can run and jump around the field. While he is insanely talented, trying to toe-tap catches and run his routes crisply may make things difficult. Could Kenny Stills play in Davis’s place? Quite possible but he’s only been here a few weeks. Does he have a rapport with Josh Allen? It’s possible the Chiefs could have game-planned for the possibility of Stills knowing that Davis may not play. 

I want to lean towards Davis playing, but as an injured rookie, do they put him out there or let a veteran wide receiver that is healthy play? That’s the one thing we don’t know. 

DT Vernon Butler (Quadricep)

I had originally thought Butler was dealing with a foot injury in the game, but he appeared later on the injury report with a quadriceps injury. He left the game late in the 3rd quarter, right before Taron Johnson delivered the game-sealing pick-six. It’s not clear when he injured the quadriceps but having two DNP’s and a limited practice isn’t a ringing endorsement that he will play. 

A strain can be played through, but the concern is whether he re-injures the quadricep and they do not have a healthy body in his place. Most of the time, a quadricep would require a player to sit out at least one game, but there may not be any next week. 

ACTIVE 

WR Cole Beasley (Left knee)

Beasley re-appears on the injury report Thursday with a knee injury that is likely the same injury he’s been dealing with since Week 16. He was highly productive against the Colts in the Wild Card round but didn’t have much of an impact last week against the Ravens. Considering he was limited Thursday indicates that either he tweaked his knee Wednesday and had to take it easy Thursday, or he tweaked it or took time off at some point during Thursday’s practice. Taking all but one rep or only taking one rep is all the same under the limited designation.

Whatever Beasley is dealing with, he will get it addressed following the season. I had thought if he had sat out against the Colts, he could have been fresher in the next round, but hindsight is 20/20. Ideally, he gets more targets due to taking another week to get healthy.

LB Tremaine Edmunds (Hamstring)

Details are still scarce regarding Edmunds hamstring. He played in all the defensive snaps Saturday despite his hamstring designation last week. He practiced in full all week and while is likely not 100%, he’s good enough to continue to go out and perform for another week.

DT Quinton Jefferson (Ankle)

Like Edmunds, Jefferson’s ankle injury was not noticeable on film, playing in 46% of snaps which isn’t too far off his usual production from the season. He has no game designation and I would expect his production to not be affected greatly, though his snap could probably increase if Vernon Butler does not play.

DE Darryl Johnson (knee)

After missing last week with a knee injury, Johnson returns to practice with full participation this week. I still have not been unable to find the specifics of the knee injury from the Colts game and the week off appeared to help him greatly. His availability will make Trent Murphy expendable for this game and having Johnson back on special teams may be a difference-maker come Sunday. 

WR Stefon Diggs (Oblique)

The severity of the oblique injury is probably more severe than Diggs and the team has let on, but he continues to produce. I have not observed anything on film that suggests that the oblique is significantly affecting him. Listing the injury may be more of a formality at this point and hopefully the week off in between if the Bills win and make their way down to Tampa.

K Tyler Bass (Right hand)

Bass continues to practice in full dealing with a right-hand injury and wearing at least a brace on the hand. It’s not clear what he is dealing with, but this will not affect his kicking abilities for Sunday.

CHIEFS INJURY REPORT:

OUT

LB Willie Gay (Ankle)

Gay is reportedly dealing with a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 17 and is already ruled out. High ankle sprains take some time to come back from and it’s clear that the Chiefs don’t believe he is ready which bodes well for the Bills Sunday. 

QUESTIONABLE

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (left high ankle/hip)

Edwards-Helaire is coming off a left high ankle sprain and hip strain sustained in Week 15. He has been out for an entire month, though only missing 2 games due to the bye week for the number one seed.

While he will not be 100%, having the month off should allow him to come back and be effective enough from the ankle standpoint. Considering that he suffered the hip strain, that should be fully healed by now, but it’s possible that he could be dealing with something greater currently unreported that he will play though. After having as much time off as he did, I fully expect him to play. 

WR Sammy Watkins (Calf)

Watkins has missed the last 2 games with a calf injury sustained in the win over Atlanta. At the time, the calf injury was not perceived as being serious and the thought was that he would be back in time for the divisional game. 

It stands to reason that he could return to play in this game as the stakes are higher. Calf injuries linger due to the demands of the muscle when pushing the foot down to sprint and jump. It could be quite possible that he re-injures the area during the game too, but I don’t foresee the team holding him out again. We all know when Sammy Watkins is healthy, he’s electric. But when he’s not, his production really suffers. I’d expect he plays as well.

CB Bashaud Breeland (Concussion/shoulder)

The concussion is the more worrisome injury than the shoulder as it has not been clarified that he has passed the protocol. He appeared trending in the right direction with limited practices all week but it may not be known that he passes the protocol until game time. He may be one that misses due to not being cleared.

Update: he has since cleared concussion protocol.

CB Rashad Fenton (Foot)

There aren’t any reports to clarify the status of the foot injury. He was also limited in practice this week and considering Breeland is a true question mark, I would suspect Fenton to play through whatever he is dealing with. 

RB Le’veon Bell (Knee)

Bell is reportedly dealing with swelling in his knee that limited him Thursday/Friday and it’s unknown whether he plays. Considering Edwards-Helaire is likely to play which could keep Bell on the inactive list especially the knee injury appeared to get aggravated later in the week. I anticipate he sits this one out considering the Chiefs have Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson for depth. 

QB Patrick Mahomes (Concussion/left toe)

I think every single person on social media has had an opinion on the status of Patrick Mahomes this week. It has been mind boggling. I laid out the facts of Mahomes time in the concussion protocol at The Game Day, the previous article at Banged Up Bills, and even detailed at Locked On Bills. I had said on Locked On Bills that it didn’t matter why Patrick Mahomes was in the concussion protocol, he was in there and as a result, he has to successfully navigate the protocol. 

He did and we can move past that. His left toe injury will be the biggest concern heading into Sunday’s contest. The injury is detailed above in all of the links. In addition, check out this thread from Erik Turner from Cover 1 using the video to detail how Mahomes was limited with the toe after the injury and how the Bills can game plan against him. Certainly worth the time to read and understand. 

Bills Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm

WR Gabriel Davis*

LB Tyrel Dodson

DE Trent Murphy

OL Jordan Devey

TE Tyler Kroft

Practice Squad player

*Kenny Stills to be called up in place of Davis, other call up would be inactive as the team has done in recent weeks.

The Bills can win this one. They really can. I had predicted on Locked on Bills that the Bills would win 28-24. That would cover the spread and take the under according to Pointsbet. The Bills could win this simply because of all the talent missing from the last game. Dawson Knox, Matt Milano, and Harrison Phillips did not play last time. John Brown was injured early in the game and a non-factor. Tre’Davious White was coming off a back injury that forced him to miss the Titans game. Josh Allen was still working through his left shoulder injury sustained in Week 4 against the Raiders. 

The Bills are a hot team right now and fairly healthy as detailed above. The Buffalo Bills may very well be the 2020 AFC Champions and could play in Super Bowl 55. This could really happen. Now all we have to do is sit back, wait for kickoff at 6:40 pm on January 24th, 2021, and enjoy the game. Go Bills!

Top Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Zaleski

2020 Divisional Round Bills Injury Preview- Ravens

Will Daryl Johnson suit up? Or will he sit this one out after not practicing?

Two playoff games in one season after having two playoff games over the last 20 years. That’s a great sentence to type out! This is certainly a nice change of pace following all those years of subpar football in the Western NY region. While we all want the Bills to roll over everyone to the Super Bowl, we know that is not that easy especially after last week’s nailbiter over the Indianapolis Colts

This week’s opponent, the Baltimore Ravens, come to Buffalo looking to show that last year’s early exit in the playoffs was a fluke and that they are one of the supreme teams in the AFC. On top of that, they have a relatively healthy roster to contend with. Below are both Buffalo and Baltimore’s respective injuries heading into Saturday night’s game.

QUESTIONABLE

DE Darryl Johnson (Knee)

Despite not practicing all week, Johnson has been declared questionable for Saturday’s game. He is dealing with a knee injury that isn’t apparent on film and his playing time has not been noticeably different. According to the injury report this year, no one that has been DNP all week has played in the game later that week. 

It is important to note that he also had a knee injury heading into Week 9 which he played through, but details were scarce on the specifics. There is not any more information to come out about his knee and it remains to be seen if he plays. The brief tweet thread was an excellent observation of the previous injury. I have no idea whether there is any correlation, but it is important to reflect back on when details are scarce.

While this is the playoffs, he potentially could suit up, but considering Trent Murphy has been inactive for a significant portion of the season, it would make sense to put Murphy in his place and fill the special team’s slot with someone else. This is the easiest one-for-one swap and if you recall, Murphy shined in last season’s playoff loss to the Texans. He does know how to perform when called upon; this may be his opportunity to shine and potentially find a new home next season. 

ACTIVE

WR Cole Beasley (Left knee)

Beasley has practiced all this week in a limited fashion and he has said that he is doing much better and should be able to play easier than the Wild Card game. Details regarding what he is dealing with still have not divulged but it’s evident that he will do whatever it takes to play and be available. Fortunately, he does not have a game day designation indicating that he is full go for Saturday.

Based on how he played last week, it wouldn’t surprise me if the 2nd half was more taxing on him like it was last week. Between the pain management strategies and adrenaline for the game, he will play and do what he can contribute to a win. 

LB Tremaine Edmunds (Hamstring)

I’m not sure what to make of the hamstring designation Edmunds is dealing with this week. He played in 100% of defensive snaps and 19% of special teams snaps which are usually on defensive field goal attempts or two-point conversions. 

Reviewing the film, he didn’t appear limited during the early portions game; this may have occurred on the final drive to end the game as he was sprinting downfield to defend the Hail Mary pass. There isn’t anything to suggest that he did injure the hamstring then, but nothing else on film earlier shows the injury. I have also found that sometimes there are injuries right at the end that don’t get acknowledged due to the timing of everything.

Considering he has been limited all week but full on Thursday, he may have tweaked things and the team is being cautious to allow healing. He does not have a game designation and should perform close to his full abilities. There is always concern for further aggravation of the injury, but it’s the playoffs and he won’t miss this if he can play. 

There were some people that did reach out and concerned that he didn’t look good in warm ups from this video from WGR’s Sal Capaccio. Looking at the brief clip, it looks as though he is working through warming his calf muscles through dynamic movement. There is purposeful movement with bouncing on the toes and similar movement from one leg to the next. On top of that, Siran Neal appears to be doing a similar activity, though he is lengthening his stride slightly more than Edmunds. Either way, if Edmunds was that limited that he couldn’t do simple warm up drills, he wouldn’t have been practicing.

DT Justin Zimmer (Groin) 

Zimmer appears on the injury report following a groin injury Saturday. His snap counts are in line with what he has done in past games and there was no clear injury available on film. 

Unless the groin injury is severe or noted when it occurred, these are hard to detect without some context. Considering he plays roughly 25-30% of defensive snaps, if he suffers a further injury, his snaps can be absorbed by the defensive line rotation with minimal issues. This could be as simple as, there is soreness, it hurts, but once he gets moving, he can play and perform. 

DT Ed Oliver (Ankle)

Oliver is another surprise addition to the injury report this week with an ankle injury from Saturday. He played in 100% of snaps and did not show anything on film regarding the injury. He did not have a game day designation and won’t miss the game while being limited in practice. 

WR Stefon Diggs (Oblique)

Diggs was questionable for the Wild Card game but had himself a day Saturday indicating that the oblique did not bother him as much as the team led on last week. This is always something to watch but it doesn’t appear that the last game or practice this week aggravated the injury.

K Tyler Bass (Hand)

Bass was a big surprise to the injury report with a hand injury after not having that designation on Tuesday. There was some thought that he injured the hand while performing a tackle late in the 1st quarter. It’s really hard to discern if he did injure the hand while falling to the ground; he led more with his shoulder in taking out the Colts returner. 

Even if he broke his hand or there was any significant injury to the area, he could still kick without issue and wear some type of protective bracing. However, he practiced in full the past two days and does not have a game day designation indicating that this is not an issue. It’s also important to note that he did not have a designation Tuesday but appeared Wednesday could indicate that he injured the hand Tuesday. He will still be able to kick and tackle without hesitation come Saturday.

Ravens Injury Report:

QUESTIONABLE

CB Marcus Peters (Back)

This may be the biggest injury for the Ravens coming into this game. He played in 100% of snaps last week and there are not any reports of the specifics of the injury. He has dealt with several other injuries including calf and thigh injuries ailments earlier. 

He is officially listed as questionable but coach John Harbaugh noted that he expected both him and Matt Judon to play Saturday. Without specifics or video of the back injury, it may be hard to identify where Peters may be limited with his activities. I do expect him to suit up like all the Ravens player’s did last week.

T DJ Fluker (Knee)

Fluker is interesting because he began dealing with this injury in practice prior to Week 17 but played in both the final regular-season game and Wild Card, splitting time with Tyre Phillips. Like the Peters injury, there is little in the way of specifics. He has since been ruled questionable, but considering he’s played the last two weeks and he splits time at the tackle position, I would anticipate that he plays.

ACTIVE

LB Matt Judon (Illness)

Outside of COVID, it would take a significant illness to hold any player out of playing due to illness. Considering how important he is to the defense, his loss could be Buffalo’s gain, but I’d expect Judon to still perform and not miss a step. He might require fluids before the game and even during halftime, but I’d expect he’s tougher than the flu. 

Bills Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm

TE Tyler Kroft

DE Darryl Johnson

LB Tyrel Dodson

OL Jordan Devey

*There could be the possibility of 7 if practice squad players are called up but declared inactive.

This has the potential to be a low scoring game despite the explosive offenses of both teams. This may come down to who has the ball last and who makes fewer mistakes. The Bills are favored at -2.5 according to PointsBet at the moment. If the Bills come out and play how they did against the Colts, I’d expect a loss. However, we have seen this team rise up to the occasion and defeat more talented opponents this season. It’s clear that everyone wants a win from the Bills, but it will be a stressful game to watch until the very end. Enjoy the moment, the Bills are good and they appear to have the ability to sustain this success.

Top Photo Credit: BuffaLowDown

2020 Week 15 Bills Injury Preview- Broncos

Will Lee Smith play? Is Tremaine Edmunds alright?

The Bills, owners of a 10-3 record, travel to out west Saturday on a short week to play the 5-8 Denver Broncos who are fighting to stave off an inevitable playoff elimination. This is the third game in primetime in three weeks and yet another opportunity to show that the Bills are the real deal as they attempt to lock up the AFC East and a playoff berth.

Buffalo continues to improve their health and bring more players back, relying less on practice squad players and the use of injured reserve. Tough decisions will be made in the future when John Brown and potentially others need to come back, but there are still several games before they need to make those transactions. For this week, the roster is set and the injury designations are below.

OUT 

S Jaquan Johnson (right ankle)

Johnson missed his second week of practice dealing with an ankle injury sustained against the 49ers late in the 4th quarter. Details have not been revealed regarding the specifics of the injury, but based on the video, it still appears as though he is dealing with a high ankle sprain.

It’s curious that he has not been placed on injured reserve, but that may indicate the severity with a possibility that he returns sooner than later. Hopefully, he can return to practice in some capacity next week and begin the process to return in time for the playoffs.

QUESTIONABLE

TE Lee Smith (left knee)

Smith’s knee contusion off Josh Allen’s helmet during the roughing the passer call seemed so minor that I did not bother to include it in the Steelers post-game review. Allen’s helmet hits on the inside portion of the left knee as Smith disengaged his blocker. He was in obvious pain moving his leg after around but stayed in the game.

He may be dealing with pain and swelling in the general area which is why he was limited this past week. It seems rather minor, but clearly, not all the information is known. Based on the video and that he was limited this week in practice, I’d expect that he plays. In my mind, he is a 50/50 shot to play, but the team already knows which direction they will go in for Saturday.

Ideally, he would play as it’s been noted that Denver’s run defense is rather bad and having an extra blocker in Smith would be beneficial to help spring the run game. He continues to be a strong veteran and has a place on this team as both a blocker and leader in order to help take the Bills deep into the playoffs.

ACTIVE

LB Tremaine Edmunds (foot)

Frankly, I am not sure what Edmunds is dealing with. Looking at the game film, he played in every defensive snap and also on two special teams snaps. He kept his feet moving and there weren’t any noticeable instances that he came up limping. He also did not have any mechanisms of injury to either foot that would suggest that something was present.

This could be a chronic issue such as plantar fasciitis or general soreness to the area that flared up which required rest during the week. He did practice in full Thursday and did not have a game designation which is always promising. This may be similar to the Jon Feliciano foot injury; something known but not impacting the overall play.

CB Taron Johnson (concussion)

Johnson appeared to be sail through the concussion protocol, limited all week in practice before practicing in full on Thursday. Typically concussions take upwards of 10 days to recover from, but since this was Johnson’s first documented NFL concussion, he may not be dealing with some of the lingering effects of the hit as some others may.

The return of Johnson especially after what may be his greatest game Sunday would be a great addition to contain the receiving threats Denver possess. I’m surprised that he is cleared, but overall, if he’s able to play, get him out there because he has become a difference-maker.

QB Josh Allen (right knee/ankle)

Allen is still on the injury report despite practicing in full likely due to his status as a quarterback having a higher profile than other positions. The ankle and right knee did not appear to limit his mobility Sunday with his rushing totals increased and running to all sides of the field. I’d expect that he increases his running abilities Saturday but still wear the brace as protection. I don’t anticipate that he will be on the injury report much longer after this week.

Other injury thoughts:

WR John Brown (right high ankle sprain)

Brown has officially been activated to practice and was eligible to play Saturday but was ultimately not activated. It has only been five weeks since his high ankle sprain against the Cardinals; a player can return from a high ankle nearly 100% at around six weeks. If Brown were to return, they would need to cut someone to make room for his roster position, this could occur if they move Jaquan Johnson to IR. 

There was some chatter on social media this week about his sickle cell trait that could be exacerbated by the higher altitudes. Having sickle cell trait is not a contraindication to play football or any sport for that matter, but it is a consideration when looking at the whole person medically. When looking at someone from a medical perspective, having the whole picture of the person influences interventions and decisions. These conditions should not dictate treatment unless there are contraindications, but have to be considered to work for the best interest of the athlete.

If Brown had not been dealing with injuries or this was a game that he was needed in to ensure the team gets the playoff berth, he plays. If this was the playoffs, he plays. The fact that he is coming off injuries and what an exacerbation can do to his performance is the reason any of this is even a consideration. After Saturday, this is a moot point.

There were also questions regarding how the Bills would handle the altitude change. While it can be an issue, there are reasons why it could and it couldn’t. To avoid doubling the word count of this article, go listen to my latest appearance on Locked On Bills with Joe Marino where I detail how the atmospheric pressure affects athletic performance. 

The team would benefit from Brown’s skill set but they have been doing alright with the emergence of Gabriel Davis this season. I expect Brown to be activated to play against the Patriots and work up to the playoffs. 

Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm

RB TJ Yeldon

S Jaquan Johnson

DE Trent Murphy

TE Tyler Kroft

Looking at the Broncos’ injury report, both running backs in Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay are dealing with injuries, designated as questionable, but are expected to play.

They do have several more illness/injuries including to offensive weapons in Noah Fant and Jerry Jeudy though they do not have any injury designations. The one place where the Bills can exploit is the recent loss of Duke Dawson, Essang Bassey, and Kevin Tolliver due to ACL tears, decimating the secondary.

Fortunately for the Bills, kicker Brandon McManus will not be available due to COVID concerns which means rookie Taylor Russolino gets kicking duties. Recently signed to the practice squad in December, he could be rattled by the whole experience of his first NFL action or he may just be another guy trying to earn his place in the league. Either way, the loss of McManus will certainly help keep points off the board for the Broncos.

The Bills have a very winnable matchup against the Broncos to move them to 11-3. This is not a team to take lightly especially playing away from home. While the Bills essentially have the playoffs locked up regardless of this game, they still need the win to lock up the division and control their playoff matchups rather than relying on the wild card seedings.

I do expect the Bills to win again and ideally stay healthy as they close out the regular season. If they control the game like they did last year, I am quite alright with that, but I also anticipate a competitive game. There isn’t much more to say than enjoy the game and Go Bills!

Top Photo Credit: Pro Football Talk- NBC Sports

2020 Week 9 Bills Injury Review- Seahawks

Looks like the Bills may finally be getting healthier.

The Bills are 7-2 for the first time since 1993 and in control of the AFC East following a convincing win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. To put it into context, I was 5 when this last happened. A lot has changed since then, but the Bills are finally contenders again and it’s a great feeling! On top of the excellent start, there were minimal injuries that have been termed day-to-day from Sunday.

In-game injuries:

G Cody Ford (right ankle)

Ford suffered a right ankle injury on the first TD of the day to TE Tyler Kroft. This was the result of Ford getting knocked backward from his block before tripping over RB Zack Moss as he tumbled backward. It wasn’t clear initially what he had injured, but based on how he fell outward, it appeared that he rolled his ankle. It’s also possible he could have stepped on Moss as he came through, leading to the injury. Here’s the play below.

He made it to the sidelines before getting carted to the locker room for further evaluation. He eventually returned to the sidelines later in the game. He was even observed holding his helmet and jogging, ultimately not returning to the game. Considering he was coming off the right MCL injury and now dealing with a right ankle, it appears the team did not want to risk further injury and kept him out as a precaution.

Unless the practice reports show otherwise, he may be limited with an ankle sprain this week and tape it up for Sunday. Small possibility they have him sit to maximize his healing time with the bye coming up.

G Brian Winters (left knee)

Shortly after Ford went down, Winters suffered a left knee injury with 14:23 left in the 2nd quarter. He fell down in a pile of bodies as the pocket collapsed, leading to him having some difficulty getting off the field.

On broadcast, he was observed rubbing the inner portion of the knee indicating a possible mild MCL sprain or patellar contusion. It’s also not clear if this is the same knee that he has been limited with the past 2 weeks. He eventually returned roughly a half-hour later to finish out the game. He may continue to show up on the injury report this week with a knee ailment, but it doesn’t appear that this is a concerning issue.

T Daryl Williams (leg)

Williams may be the most difficult injury to observe on film similar to Winters, also falling in a pile of bodies with 6:40 left in the 2nd quarter. He landed on his left side and appeared to be favoring the left side slightly walking off.

The injury did not appear to be an issue as he returned several plays later and finished out the game. Based on the pile of bodies and short time missed, it was likely that he suffered a general contusion that required brief attention before returning. Normally, injuries to Williams and Winters are inconsequential, but at one point the Bills were without 3 offensive linemen available to protect QB Josh Allen.

CB Tre’Davious White (left ankle)

White sustained an ankle injury late in the 4th quarter with 3:16 left, quickly getting tended to by trainers before hopping off to get taped. Upon further review, it appears he suffered a medial eversion ankle sprain. There was a possibility that he suffered a mild high ankle sprain, but his foot appeared to be pointed down more towards neutral than upward into dorsiflexion, avoiding the more severe injury observed in the top picture below.

White quickly got taped up and was walking around on the sidelines, possibly waiting to return. He was designated as questionable to return but ultimately was not needed as the team iced the game with the recovery of the onside kick.

It appears that White avoided major injury and he should play next week. It’s possible that if the ankle is worse than originally thought, he could miss the next game considering the bye coming up, but the video and sideline impressions following the injury don’t imply that it was.

Other thoughts:

G/C Jon Feliciano (pectoral)

Feliciano continues to play in 100% of the snaps in the absence of C Mitch Morse following his concussion. For someone 3 months removed from tearing his pectoral muscle, he looks pretty good out there. I had hoped that he would be worked in to not stress the surgically repaired area, but at this point, it doesn’t appear to be an option. The band-aid has been ripped off; there is no point in trying to restrict him now. Hopefully, he continues to work back into shape and round into form for the late-season stretch.

LB Matt Milano (pectoral)

Milano was placed on IR on Saturday to better manage his pectoral injury. He missed the Titans and Chiefs game but returned for the Jets and Patriots game, but was on a pitch count and obviously limited. Based on what he was doing out there, he was able to play and did make a difference in pass coverage, but when asked to tackle or stop the run, he simply could not wrap up his tackles. This was a concern of mine returning from the injury and it appears to be true.

I question whether he had a setback with regards to the timeline the team has taken with this injury. He could have re-injured some of the healing tissue in the pectoral region, leading to putting him on the shelf. It’s more likely that they weren’t satisfied with his play and limited availability, leading to the shutdown.

The team saw an opportunity to put him on IR to maximize his healing time while minimizing games lost. He does have to miss 3 games which means he was out for the Seahawks game and will be out for the Cardinals and Chargers game.

In addition, he will use the bye to get an entire month off to recover. A whole month of no football activities to allow the pectoral muscle to heal in addition to the past month of rehab he’s already performed should work out in his favor. With this timeline, he could potentially come back close to 100% when he returns.

I saw some comments on social media questioning the handling of Milano’s injury. I can say with a moderate level of confidence that they handled it the best they could with the information they had at the moment. That’s all you can do in situations like this. They had the physical testing, the imaging, and they made an informed decision. The research supported his ability to return when he did. Injuries like this, a likely Grade 2 strain, do take upwards of 6 weeks to heal, but in the NFL, these players don’t typically get that time to fully recover, leading to him returning after 2 games.

In rehab, I have had countless patients “fail PT” or not progress as expected. This is due to other circumstances that play into the decision-making process or are considered in the plan of care but overtake the issue at hand, preventing the patient from reaching their goals.

Sometimes, those other issues need to be addressed before therapy can be successful. For example, people with arthritic knees that can’t tolerate progressing exercises secondary to pain, sometimes they need a cortisone injection to help calm things down before they can complete PT.

In other cases, a surgically repaired area needs further healing before therapy can be initiated or progressed. Sometimes a chronic health condition can become problematic and must be addressed to maximize rehab. I have had many cases where this needed to be completed in order for the patient to ultimately be successful at rehab.

In Milano’s case, they let the research and imaging dictate when he returned. They probably realized he wasn’t as effective as he could have been and ran the risk to suffer further injury and shut him down. Medicine is a lot of trial and error at the end of the day based on the research and experience of the providers treating those issues. The providers are allowed to change their minds if something isn’t working or adverse effects occur. The poor decision would have been to be stubborn and continue to play through the injury, potentially leading to a worse outcome.

Fortunately, the team has the short term IR to allow him to rest and not waste a roster spot. In other years, he probably would have continued to try and gut it out like we saw LB Tremaine Edmunds do earlier this season, though it’s important to note that the injuries were different.

As the theme has been this year, there will likely be an injury here or there that shows up on Wednesday that we did not expect. My hope is that some of these injuries do fall off the list because if the list grows anymore, we may need a magnifying glass to look at some of these names. However, the bye is coming up and while it feels much later than usual, it is perfectly timed. I would rather have a late bye with all these injuries to get right for the final push rather than limp into the postseason. The Bills are 7-2, life is good.

2020 Week 8 Bills Injury Review- Patriots

What are the concerns with Mitch Morse? How is Matt Milano doing?

A win is a win. Despite 6-2, the perception of the fan base is that the win over the vaunted Patriots was not convincing. No one’s going to look back and say how unconvincing a regular-season win was when a team wins the Super Bowl or makes a deep playoff run. I know we’re not at that point yet, but put it into perspective when you look at a quality of a win. Enjoy a win over a team that has tormented us for the better part of two decades. 

As this season progresses, the wins will continue to become harder to come by especially as the injuries continue to mount. Below are the injuries from Sunday. 

C Mitch Morse (concussion)

Morse made it through 3 plays before suffering a concussion picking up the block from Patriots S Adrian Phillips in the first quarter. The hit itself appears to be rather benign, but considering Morse’s 4 previously publicly documented concussions, sometimes it does not take much to suffer another concussion. Below is the hit that he likely suffered the concussion.

He was quickly ruled out of the game with an official designation as a concussion and has been placed into the concussion protocol. Now that Morse has suffered 5 concussions, there are concerns about his professional future and health. 

I will say that he is an intelligent individual who has all the resources and information available to him to make an informed decision regarding his career and health. Looking at the research, an article published in 2003, those that suffer 3+ concussions are 3 times more likely to sustain another one. 

Looking at timelines for recovery, on average, it takes 10 days to recover from a concussion. To note, that is looking at the general research; individuals may take considerably longer than 10 days to return to sport. Also to note, the amount of force required to sustain another concussion decreases as the number of concussions increase, leading possibly to why Morse suffered another concussion. He had several factors going against him that at this point, some he simply cannot control.

It is impossible to identify how long he will take to return. When he suffered his concussion last year, the team knew that he could not talk to the media while in protocol and they also took their time to ensure he was fully healthy before returning to play. They were also not in a rush to have the independent neurological consult for clearance as it was the preseason. This may have influenced the length of time he was in the protocol.

It would be reasonable to assume he could return quicker than last time, but impossible to say. The only thing we can go off of is his levels of participation at practice which will be watched closely. Hopefully, he is able to return in a quick but safe manner. Based on his history, I don’t see a scenario where he plays in Week 9. I also don’t envision a scenario where it takes him another 6 weeks to return as in the case with former Bills QB Derek Anderson, but it can’t be ruled out either. We simply need more information before determining return to play.

RB Taiwan Jones (right hamstring)

Jones suffered a right hamstring strain on the kickoff following the second Bills TD of the day. He suffered the injury running full speed down the field and roughly halfway down the field, he began to pull up, grabbing at his right side. He didn’t appear to change direction or slow down, the hamstring simply went. 

He did deal with hamstring injuries last year when he was with the Texans, but it’s not clear that the previous injuries are directly related as there is roughly a year apart. It may simply be that the hamstring was strained as the result of top-end sprinting.

After seeing all the injuries that Jones has suffered, there is not a doubt in my mind that he will return to play eventually or try to at least. Based on how the team manages hamstring strains, he will probably be out 1-3 games but could be a candidate for IR if the strain is severe enough. We will know more in the coming days. 

WR Stefon Diggs (abdomen/neck)

Diggs went down briefly with 4:58 left in the 3rd quarter after catching a 6-yard pass near the sidelines. Upon review of the play, he appeared to get punched in the abdomen and hit on the back of the neck upon getting tackled. He was motioning to his left flank area before he went down to be assessed by trainers.

He was able to return to the game shortly after a break, but it appears that Diggs had the wind knocked out of him based on what’s on film. He is not a player who has been showing up on the injury report this season though there are scares at times. At the time of writing this article, I don’t see an injury that could limit him from playing next week, but players show up all the time on the report with ailments not previously identified.

LB AJ Klein (left knee)

Klein suffered a left knee injury in the 4th quarter with 4:03 left in the game. He was tripped as he was attempting to pursue Patriots RB Damien Harris towards the sidelines. He came up grabbing at his left knee/shin area briefly but was able to return the next play. 

It’s not clear what he exactly did, he looked to get tripped or pushed down, may have been a contusion or the calf area getting struck. It wasn’t serious enough to even miss a play for further evaluation. Considering how Klein was playing on Sunday, he probably could have used the time off the field.

LB Tremaine Edmunds (left leg)

On the same play that Klein went down, Edmunds also suffered a left knee injury that the trainers had to tend to on the field. Looking at the video, he got knocked off balance, having to take a bigger step forward with his left leg to try and stay upright before falling down. He missed two plays before returning to the game signifying that this may not have been serious.

Upon review, it’s possible that he may have slightly hyperextended the knee or hit the ground when he fell, causing momentary pain. It doesn’t appear to be much of anything but will be something to review further if he shows up on the injury report. 

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral)

Milano did not suffer a re-injury to the area, but his play continues to be compromised due to the injury. This was notable in two places. He played in only 23% of the snaps, down from 33% last week. He also got burned badly by Patriots RB Rex Burkhead on 3rd and 10 with 4:15 left in the 3rd quarter. 

He attempted to grab Burkhead with his left arm as he was falling down, unable to reach him before S Jordan Poyer was able to stop him. Looking at the video, Milano wasn’t in the best position to tackle, but the arm tackle that he has made so many times before could not be completed I believe due to the shoulder harness he is wearing.

The cuff attaches to the arm and has a strap that connects to the chest wall seen in the picture. This is designed to limit abduction and external rotation, similar to cocking back to throw a ball, both movements that could stress the healing pectoral muscle. When he went to tackle Burkhead, his left arm comes up into abduction and quickly snaps back down, indicating that he was suddenly stopped by the bracing. The brace did its job, but this injury continues to limit Milano with his availability and utilizing his skill set. You can see the strap that attaches near the armpit below.

Credit: Breg.com

I have received a lot of questions regarding when he will be fully healthy again. It’s possible that he will be following the bye as it will have been nearly 8 weeks since the original injury. He could hypothetically ditch the brace if the area shows that it’s fully healed. This could obviously change if he re-injures the area or if the team continues to have him wear the brace for further protection. Muscles usually heal up a lot easier due to a rich blood supply to the area, but re-injuries can complicate that healing process.

Those suggesting that he eventually requires surgery, the literature suggests that surgery isn’t performed on partial pectoral tears due to the lack of need. This includes partial tendon tears and tears within the muscle belly. Simply put, Milano needs time to rest. Limiting his snap count to obvious passing downs, limiting his practice reps, and continuous rehab can help maximize the healing process, but he still needs time to rest. Like Edmunds with his shoulder injury, I hope to see that his play improves as the season progresses and that he’s healthier for the playoffs.

G/C Jon Feliciano (pectoral injury)

Week 8 marked the return of G/C Jon Feliciano after suffering a right pectoral tendon tear shortly after training camp started. He had implied that he would return in Week 4, but the team had a say in stopping him from returning sooner to prevent re-injury. The plan appeared to have him worked in and rotate at the guard position, but the injury to C Mitch Morse prevented Feliciano from doing that.

Feliciano ended up playing in 100% of the snaps, all but 3 plays at the center position. G Ryan Bates did come in shortly after Morse went out, but the decision was quickly made to insert Feliciano into the role despite not practicing at the position leading up to the game. With Morse out for an unknown amount of time, the team has to make a decision at center. Feliciano is the obvious choice, but I don’t believe it’s smart to have him play the entire game again coming off an injury such as that, even with the shoulder harness he is wearing, similar to Milano. Just because he played one game like that doesn’t mean that he can’t suffer another injury. 

The team does have options at center including Bates, G Ike Boettger, or practice squad member C Jordan Devey. I’m not certain that rotating at the center position would be great for offensive consistency. To save Feliciano, he should probably switch back to guard, continue to rotate in with someone else and keep another player at center consistently unless more injuries occur. That’s just my opinion, but I’d hate to lose Feliciano just after getting him back and not have Morse for possibly the immediate future. 

Like we have seen every week, I expect to see a surprise injury or a few pop up on the injury report Wednesday. Hopefully, we see the return of S Micah Hyde, DT Vernon Butler, and CB Josh Norman to help shore up the defense as they begin to prepare for Seattle’s high powered offense. We may also see a trade today to bolster the defense as they prepare for the second half of the season. As the season progresses, the hope is that the injury list dwindles in time for the Bills to play their best football in December and make a deep postseason run. 

Top Photo Credit: Billswire.usatoday.com

2020 Week 6 Bills Injury Review- Chiefs

How did Ford hurt himself & when is Milano coming back?

Primetime is not an ideal time for the Bills to play in the year 2020. Two primetime games, albeit, an altered schedule with the end result being two losses. To keep things in perspective, the Titans and Chiefs losses come at the hands of the AFC finalists from 2019 & the defending Super Bowl champions. 

Either way, a 4-2 record and first place in the division is still nothing to scoff at. On top of it, the Bills continue to trend towards getting healthier after appearing to regress towards the mean in regards to total injuries. They continue to avoid the season-ending variety of injuries and progressing towards getting healthy for the second half of the season. Below are the known injuries from Monday night. 

In game injuries:

G Cody Ford (knee)

Ford went down at the beginning of the 4th quarter with 14:36 left as the result of a right knee injury. Looking back at the film, Ford actually injures the knee on the 3rd down play just prior with a pile of bodies falling on top of him. He stayed in during the 4th down play and injured the knee further when he got rolled up on from behind, forcing his knee to the ground. He reportedly was able to walk off under his own power but required the cart to get to the locker room.

By video, it appears he suffered a right MCL sprain due to the mechanism of the injury & the Bills designated the injury as a knee. I had originally thought he could have suffered a high ankle sprain based on having his leg rolled upon. Having an MCL sprain is a far better outcome than a high ankle sprain. MCL sprains vary by severity and it may appear that he suffered a Grade 1-2 sprain due to his week-to-week designation by the team. These can take 2-4 weeks to recover based on the literature and falls in line with what we have seen termed as week-to-week. That designation may have been made considering his other injuries as well.

Credit: PTHealth.ca

This is an injury that isn’t all that concerning as these injuries heal up well and do not have lingering problems once healed. While Ford may only miss 1-3 games, I question whether he wouldn’t benefit from a short IR stay from a pure injury standpoint. This is despite him playing some of his best football over the past few weeks. This would help the team in two ways. 

This would allow Ford to address his groin, possible left shoulder/elbow injuries, and now right knee. This would also open the door for G Jon Feliciano to return to the active roster without having to outright cut someone. Expect Ford to miss the Jets game & possibly the Patriots game as well. 

LB Tyrel Dodson (hamstring)

Dodson left the game early in the 3rd quarter on the punt return with 10:37 left with what appears to be a right hamstring strain. He appears to injure the hamstring trying to slow down once the fair catch was called. He began walking to the sideline motioning to his right leg indicating something was wrong. His night ended as a result and he has also been deemed week-to-week. 

Credit: Orthoinfo.aaos.org

Considering this is a hamstring injury & we see how conservative the team is with management, he will probably miss at least the Jets game, possibly the Patriots game as well. We typically see these hamstring strains miss anywhere from 1-3 games based on previous management by the team.

The only upside to his injury is that LB Matt Milano will possibly be returning after a two-game absence which helps cushion the loss of Dodson as depth. 

CB Cam Lewis (left wrist)

Lewis had his night end early with a wrist injury midway through the 1st quarter. This was the result of a missed tackle on Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It is not clear what he injured, but he came back out to the sidelines with a heavy wrap to the area, but ultimately did not return. 

It’s hard to say what he exactly injured because he attempted to tackle Edwards-Helaire, missing the tackle and getting swung past him. The left wrist hits Edwards-Helaire and then Lewis falls to the ground. Looking at other angles doesn’t suggest he did anything differently. I don’t have clear information about the exact injury. As the week progresses, we will see in practice his availability or bracing he may have on the wrist. Right now, this one is inconclusive.

WR John Brown (calf/knee)

Brown can’t seem to get out of his own way this season when it comes to injuries. He has been dealing with the foot sorenesss/injury, likely calf strains, and recent knee injury. His lack of production Monday night could also be tied to injury as he appeared to tweak something early in the game on a catch going out of bounds. He never quite looked right in his play and finished with 0 catches on 4 targets. 

It’s difficult to identify what he injured on film early on due to the sideline being in the way, but All-22 shows that he appears to strike his left knee while he was falling to the ground to catch the ball. He came up walking gingerly, appearing to favor his left leg, the same one he appeared to injure in practice prior to the Titans game.

Regardless of the injury, he simply is not performing up to his standard of play and satisfying the needs of the offense. It appears that Brown’s injuries are not severe enough to outright bench him, but he is clearly not the effective player that he was last year. He may have to continue to battle through these nagging injuries until he gets to the bye week for some much-needed rest.

Other injury observations 

 LB Tremaine Edmunds (right shoulder) & QB Josh Allen (left shoulder)

Both Edmunds & Allen both shed their respective shoulder braces at different times for Monday’s game which was an interesting decision. Edmunds shed the brace just prior to the game which is a good sign in his healing process. The team continues to acknowledge he is working through a shoulder injury, the fact that he has ditched the shoulder brace tells me that this injury is more of an AC joint sprain.

If he had torn his labrum, instability would still be present & the chance to partially dislocate or fully dislocate would still be there. I have no doubt it is still painful for Edmunds to play, but there are pain management strategies along with rehab available to help him as he continues to heal.

Allen removed the shoulder brace for the final drive of the game which ended in an interception. I’m not certain why he ditched the brace as I do believe there is some instability present in the shoulder due to the original injury. I have thought that Allen has been forced to change his throwing mechanics as a result of the injury the past two weeks, keeping his left arm closer to his chest during throwing which limits the ability to rotate the trunk. This is something I am going to continue to dig into and reflect back on as there is more data & film available. 

He may have shed the brace for the sheer fact that he wanted no restrictions in his ability to construct a game-winning drive. Allen did not come through in the clutch but he also avoided injury. It’s also important to note that he took more runs this game, but they appeared to be more designed runs, allowing him to follow his blockers & reduce the chances for an errant hit. This will be something to continue to assess as the season progresses. 

G Jon Feliciano (pectoral injury)

Feliciano continues to practice within his 21-day window to return to the active roster following his pectoral injury from July. He has until October 27th to become activated by the team or return to the IR for the season. Sean McDermott would not comment on whether he would be activating Feliciano due to not wanting to give the Jets any possible advantage in game planning. 

I see one of two scenarios play out. The team could activate him Saturday & cut someone in time for Sunday and he begins working back into the lineup. Or he misses Sunday’s game and is activated that Monday or Tuesday when the team has the possibility of putting someone on IR in his place like I had suggested earlier in the article with Ford.

Feliciano should come back & I had suggested a return date of the end of October in my Buffalo Rumblings article from August. The only way he doesn’t come back is if he had a setback, but nothing appears to be suggesting that. Look for the big man to play against the Jets or Patriots.

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral injury)

Milano has been sorely missed the past two weeks dealing with a pectoral injury sustained against the Raiders. He was questionable leading up to this game and there were hopes that he would play. But the research did not suggest it and unfortunately, it was accurate. Considering he was close to 50/50 on playing Monday, that opens the door to return in Week 7 against the Jets. 

We still have to see him practice in full this week, but considering he was limited with also a full practice in there indicates that he is progressing. A matchup against the NFL’s worst team could be a nice welcome back game for Milano as he gears up for the second half.

G Quinton Spain (foot soreness)

There still isn’t any new information on Spain’s foot soreness from Tuesday’s game. This is something to continue to monitor but not well-timed due to the fact that Cody Ford is dealing with his injuries. Hopefully, this foot soreness is mild and he can begin practicing more this week.

The team is getting healthier, the injuries they have sustained continue to be overall minor but have prevented the team from fielding an effective roster. A bounce-back game against the Jets is needed to move to 5-2 both in terms of confidence and health. The team will need both as the following 3 games against the Patriots, Seahawks, and upstart Cardinals are true tests if the Bills want to show that the first quarter of the season wasn’t a fluke. We will see what the rest of the week brings as the team prepares for Sunday against the New York Jets.

Top Photo Credit: Rochester First

2020 Week 6 Bills Injury Preview- Chiefs

Will Milano & White play? What is going on with Edmunds shoulder?

The Bills are getting healthier but are still dealing with injuries to several key players which could affect their availability for Monday. It’s no surprise that they will look to rebound at home after a bad loss that showed just how beat up they were. Below are all the injuries including who will be out & thoughts on who may play, & their effectiveness against the Chiefs.

OUT

TE Dawson Knox (calf)

Knox missed practice all week with a calf injury from Tuesday’s loss. It isn’t clear how he hurt the calf, only when he generally injured the area. This occurred early in the 2nd quarter before he disappeared with a report later saying he was questionable with a calf injury. He possibly strained it and it’s not apparent on film or the calf was hit, causing the injury. He was tackled low in that area just prior to going out of the game. Either way, calf injuries, specifically strains, usually take longer than one week to heal and can linger if he tries to rush back. The hope is that he comes back next week.

QUESTIONABLE:

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral)

To see Matt Milano practicing in full is a real positive sign. It’s good to see him back out there on the field and it’s good to see him hitting with pads. In the video below, you see him hitting the tackling skid with his right shoulder. By video, it appears he’s wearing a shoulder harness that supports the pectoral injury. 

Despite the full designations, I am still reserved about him playing against the Chiefs Monday night. He does great hitting a stationary object, he does great running around with his legs. I am concerned about trying to wrap up players, especially as they run away from him or try to juke him, like in the case of Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, which is how the original injury occurred.

If his target gets outside of him, especially on the left side, I question how effective Milano could be. I had thought he’d miss at least 2 games in my Buffalo Rumblings article and I’m still sticking to that. In the picture below, we do get confirmation that he is wearing a shoulder harness. 

Credit: James P. McCoy/Buffalo News

If he does play, the Bills are the ones making that decision and they have far more information than I ever could have. So if he plays, then that means he’s healthy enough and this would also signify that the injury was truly minor.

CB Tre’Davious White (back)

White continues to battle back from a back injury that flared up in practice last week according to Sean McDermott. Details still aren’t clear regarding what White is dealing with. It appears that it is more pain-related due to the wording “flare-up”. What’s causing that pain isn’t known.

As it is a back injury, there are lots of possibilities that can cause pain but aren’t apparent on film. McDermott also explained that he will let the doctors make the determination of whether he plays or not which also indicates that there could be something more going on. The doctors will educate White and explain the pros and cons of playing. 

We still aren’t even sure which part of the back he is dealing with. My theory is that it’s lumbar because that’s where we typically see more complications and that’s where the weight-bearing portion of the spine that helps keep us upright. 

He does look good on film moving around but I do question how close to full speed he is going. He is still questionable on the injury report which may mean that it could come down to how he feels Monday pain wise. Considering the type of person that Tre’Davious White has shown himself to be over his time in Buffalo, I’d expect that he wants to play. But he’s also an educated adult and may err on the side of caution once he has all the facts in place. I will lean towards him playing because he is a competitor, but will not be alarmed if he missed another game. 

WR John Brown (left knee)

Brown continues to battle through foot, calf, and now knee injuries. This started as the foot injuries which could have been tied to overuse due to the altered ramp-up period from training camp. The calf injury could have been isolated and also as a result of gameplay as we saw him first deal with this during the Rams game. Add in the knee injury from practice and you got a player who needed a week off. 

The knee injury may have been more acute which led to missing Week 5. He has practiced in full the past 2 days and limited Saturday with the possibility that he plays Monday. Having had the week off should make a big difference in the effectiveness of his play if he suits up.

G Quinton Spain (foot)

Still not much is known about Spain. He was a surprise inactive on Tuesday with “foot soreness”. He hasn’t dealt with any publicly known foot injuries since last year in training camp when he had foot soreness as well. I can’t even speculate on what’s going on because there aren’t even any details. 

As he is no longer a starter, it’s possible he sits out again, especially if he injured the foot on Tuesday during warmups. 

ACTIVE:

Josh Allen (left shoulder)

Allen continues to show up on the injury report with the left shoulder & he continues to practice in full. I had noted that he took fewer runs on Tuesday & appeared to avoid hits to the shoulder in general. We still don’t know the official details of the injury; this will become clearer as the season progresses. It will be important to note whether he takes further shots to the shoulder or if he continues to wear the brace. Fortunately, this isn’t something that will drastically affect his play with the exception of reducing the hits he takes to that shoulder.

Tremaine Edmunds (right shoulder)

Edmunds cropped back up on the injury report due to his right shoulder injury. I had stated in previous articles that it appears to be an AC joint sprain based on the timeline that has been established so far. I had speculated several other injuries, but the latest news and observations don’t appear to support them. The severity of the injury just appears greater than originally thought which could explain some of his struggles. Joe Buscaglia of the Athletic pointed this out in practice which sums up the red jersey thoughts, more succinct than I could ever express below.

I did note in the Matt Milano video that Edmunds was hitting with his left shoulder and not his right. This could have been to avoid further contact with the area or it could have simply been a part of the drill. He has continued to play since missing the Dolphins game and barring a setback which further aggravates his injury, he should continue to play with his effectiveness improving.

Zack Moss (toe)

Moss missed his 3rd game in a row with what appears to be a turf toe injury. I had thought he’d only miss one game and then come back to play, but this has stretched out longer than I had anticipated. He continues to fall in the general timeframes we see for turf toe, but stretching towards the more conservative timeline. 

We also have seen the Bills take a more conservative approach towards their rookies, holding them out to ensure they are fully healthy. We saw this last year with RB Devin Singletary who missed 3 games due to a hamstring injury. Moss doesn’t have a designation this week so this means that he is finally reappearing after his hiatus.

S Micah Hyde (unknown, possible ankle/knee)

Hyde went down with some type of injury in the game against the Titans but came back after a brief hiatus. It still isn’t clear if it was an ankle or knee but it’s important to note that he isn’t on the injury report for this week. In this world of constant information, it’s easy to forget things even though they happened just days before. I’m glad to see Hyde not on the report, but it will be interesting to see if he continues to battle through his ankle issues from earlier on.

Other injury news:

G Jon Feliciano (right pectoral injury)

Feliciano continues to work back from his pectoral injury suffered back in July while weightlifting. He was activated last week but he still hasn’t been placed on the 53-man roster. Due to the change in IR rules, he had to stay a minimum of 3 weeks on IR before his window could open. From there, he has 21 days to practice before he has to either go back to IR or go to the active roster. He officially started practicing on October 7th, which makes his final day to practice before they have to make a decision on October 27th.

I don’t anticipate that they will wait that long, though they could. I can see the Bills watch how things play out against the Chiefs with injury or quality of play, then make a decision on who to cut or send to IR in order to clear space for Feliciano. I envision a scenario where he comes back in a limited role for the Jets game & begins to work his way into the lineup that way. He still needs live game reps and all the practice reps in the world won’t prepare him to take 100% of snaps right away. 

Inactives:

TE Dawson Knox

RB TJ Yeldon

QB Jake Fromm

LB Matt Milano

G Quinton Spain

The Bills are getting healthier as they prepare to face one of their toughest opponents in 2020 so far. The Chiefs are also dealing with a number of injuries themselves, though they have more players practicing in full comparatively. They did lose G Kelechi Osemele for the season due to double tendon ruptures in the knees which is a blow to their offensive line.

Former Bills WR Sammy Watkins is dealing with a hamstring strain that will keep him out for Monday night which could be beneficial if Tre’Davious White doesn’t play. LB Anthony Hitchens is dealing with a hand injury & illness which could affect his availability for Sunday. One final surprise, OT Mitchell Schwartz was ruled questionable with a back designation. If he is out, losing 2 out of 5 starting offensive lineman in a week would not bode well for any NFL team.

This game should be close with the Bills being healthier and should serve as a rebound game to get back on track. Even if they lose, I would not expect them to lose in a similar fashion from Tuesday night. It should be an exciting game considering how electric both offenses are. I always want a Bills win, but the Chiefs are coming off a loss themselves and want to prove something. Regardless of the outcome, I expect an entertaining game.

Top Photo Credit: James P. McCoy/Buffalo News

2020 Week 5 Bills Injury Review- Titans

How beat up are the Bills?

We’re Bills fans. We’ve suffered a few losses over the years. I’m not certain that Tuesday’s loss is drastically different, but it does hurt after a 4-0 start. However, what is different is the expectations. To just make the playoffs before 2017 was a pipe dream. Now it’s not only an expectation, it’s not enough. This year needs a playoff win, an AFC title game appearance, hell, Super Bowl or bust! 

Let that sink in. In 2017, that wasn’t even fathomable to consider. Losses hurt, but the bar for success is now higher. This is why we feel this way, we now expect to win. What’s different for this season and a downside of 2020 for the Bills is the effect that injuries have had on this roster after being one of the healthiest teams over the past few years is noticeable. Below is the injury recap including those that were declared inactive & in-game injuries. 

In-game injuries:

G Quinton Spain (foot soreness)

Spain was a surprise inactive with foot soreness just prior to the release of inactives. Besides the designation, nothing is known regarding what led to the foot soreness. He was not on the injury report last week and has not dealt with foot soreness since the preseason from 2019 from my records. I do not believe they are related at this time. Sean McDermott reported Wednesday that he was improving since last night. Despite not starting anymore, to lose him as depth hurt Tuesday night.

TE Dawson Knox (calf)

Knox left early in the 2nd quarter with a calf injury that was not reported until much later in the game. He wasn’t terribly effective on Tuesday but dealing with a calf injury won’t help his availability come next Monday. It is not clear when he suffered the injury as he ran up through the line on his last play with 12:25 left in the 2nd quarter. Following that play, he then exited the field. Several plays before that, he caught a pass on the right side of the field and was tackled low, potentially hitting his calf at 13:49.  Calf injuries like groin injuries are subtle and not always clear on film. 

Credit: WebMD

According to a study from 2017, it looked at a single NFL team’s calf injuries over a 13 year period. The average time to return following a calf strain was 17.4 days. Based on film with Knox, he may have suffered a Grade 1 as he was able to exit the field on his own and the injury wasn’t apparent at the time. So if 17.4 days is the average between Grades 1-3, the standard deviation for the study was 14.6 days. So the recovery time could be as short as 3 days. 

Can’t say for certain how long Knox will take, but we have seen teammate John Brown play through a likely calf strain, its possible Knox can too. He could miss a week with what we know right now, but things can and do change. The team reports that he received imaging on the calf to determine the severity. We will have to see if Knox participates in practice this week at all. 

S Micah Hyde (possible ankle/knee)

Hyde scared the fan base when he went down with a non-contact injury, grabbing at his knee with 11 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. The initial fear was something severe, especially when a player goes down without any contact, but fears were reduced once Hyde came back out later.

In this clip from Cover 1, you can clearly see the moment Hyde went down and it appears that he injures something. I had to watch this clip multiple times before settling on what appears to be an ankle injury. He has battled low ankle sprains frequently this season and the sudden direction could have caused him to roll his ankle. However, it could be his knee; we simply need more information including body part designation.

Other injuries 

CB Tre’Davious White (back)

Prior to the inactives getting announced, CB Dane Jackson was called up from the practice squad. That was a sign that either Tre’Davious would not play or that Jackson was available in the event that he could not finish the game. Unfortunately, Tre’Davious did not suit up indicating that this back injury is real. We still don’t know the specifics of the injury and it’s not certain that the team will release that information. 

Sean McDermott did note that he had an injury that flared up in practice last week which likely indicates that his injury predates the Raiders game. Nothing on film suggests that he suffered an injury. His snap percentages going in order by week for this season: 79%, 96%, 100%, 100%. If this was a worsening injury, I would expect his snap counts to decrease as the season progresses. Hints like what McDermott said today at least help to begin to narrow down the possibilities. This will be something that will be monitored. 

Those believing that White missed the game due to COVID concerns, just think about how crazy that sounds. Many players play hurt, many players strive to give everything they can to be part of an NFL roster. For White to sit, that simply doesn’t appear to be in his DNA. If the team reports he has an injury, then he has an injury. End of story. We will get more details hopefully later. 

WR John Brown (left knee)

Brown was ruled out prior to the game with several nagging injuries already this season, adding in a knee injury sustained in practice on Thursday. While it was possible for him to play, it was best that he sat out a week to give his body a much-needed break. None of these injuries are season-threatening, but the culmination of the foot, calf, and knee injuries led to missing Week 5. Hopefully the night off allowed him to get right and he can come back for Week 6.

RB Zack Moss (toe)

Moss missed yet another game with a toe injury, his third one in a row. He practiced in full this past week towards the end and it appeared he was trending towards playing. Either Moss is being held back as he is a rookie, wanting to get him fully right or he wasn’t needed in the game plans. I still believe that he has turf toe and it does take 2-4 weeks to recover from as noted in my previous articles. I’ve learned that the literature shows the guidelines for recovery and the NFL tends to be more aggressive in returning players to play, hence my aggressive timeline as well. It’s very possible the team is simply protecting their assets.

LB Tremaine Edmunds (right shoulder)

Edmunds does not look as good as he has the past 2 seasons due to the right shoulder injury he suffered in Week 1 against the Jets. The team acknowledges that he’s battling through the injury and he continues to improve. I had been conflicted about the initial injury due to several things I was seeing following the injury, but I have settled on the fact that it is an AC joint sprain looking at the mechanism of injury. Based on what we’ve seen so far, we know this appears to be more of a grade 2-3 sprain as he missed 1 game and hasn’t looked great against the Rams with slowly improving quality of play against the Raiders & Titans.

According to Dr. Colberg at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center, Grade 2 sprains can take 3-4 weeks to heal and Grade 3’s can take up to 8 weeks. This is with proper rest & rehab under these circumstances. Edmunds continues to play football, potentially re-injuring the area at times, though he has avoided contact to the right sides when tackling. He will continue to play and get better through the season, but things still may not look pretty for several weeks. If he can get right for the second half of the season and it appears he’s trending towards that, then he could be playing his best football come December & January.

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral)

Milano was the only expected injury to miss with the left pectoral injury suffered in the win over the Raiders. He was ruled out prior to the game and I am not expecting that he plays in the Chiefs game either. McDermott notes that Milano is improving, but he will need several full practices before he should even be considered to play. 

QB Josh Allen (left shoulder)

Allen was noted to be playing with the shoulder harness that he was wearing at practice last week and following the initial injury against the Raiders. I had thought that he would run less in the offense to protect the shoulder and it appeared that he did. He only had 4 rushes for 18 yards and from my observations, he was less inclined to take a hit, instead going down to avoid contact. The 4 rushes are not a career low but is something to note. It’s not known if this was game planned or to avoid injury. Allen will still continue to play this season and hopefully improve on his performance from Tuesday.

I expect that there are new injuries added to the report by this afternoon. There seems to always be an injury or two that show up that wasn’t apparent during the game. The Bills will continue battle through injuries as they prepare for Kansas City on Monday night. 

Top Photo Credit: RochesterFirst

2020 Week 4 Bills Injury Preview- Raiders

What is going on with Ed Oliver’s knee? Will Zack Moss play Sunday?

The Bills are getting healthy. Despite the injury list being longer than we would all like, several players are set to return & several more are expected to play despite dealing with injury. While the Bills are not fully healthy, they are in a far better position than the Raiders as seen below who are missing many key contributors which may make the Bills job on Sunday far easier. Below are the Bills injuries heading into Sunday’s matchup.

OUT

LB Del’Shawn Phillips (left quadriceps)

Phillips will miss his 3rd straight game following a quadricep strain in the season opener. Originally, I could not find when this occurred but after further review, I found on the All-22 film that he suffered a quadricep strain with 6:48 left in the 2nd quarter on the kickoff following the Bills 3rd score. He ran down the field and appeared to strain his left quadricep, having difficulty slowing down, occasionally hopping it off.

Since then, he has not practiced with the exception of Thursday & Friday in which he was limited. He likely suffered a Grade 2 quadriceps strain which can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to recover based on the already established timeline. His status poses the question, why didn’t the Bills place him on IR since it is only 3 weeks now? That’s a good question. It’s possible that he was trending towards coming back sooner and had a setback or simply did not respond to rehab as expected.

While he only has 7 special teams snaps as a Bills to his name, the team clearly likes him and is keeping him around despite the ability to stash him on IR. I would need to see a string of full practices out of him before I could even consider him to play in a game.

QUESTIONABLE

DE Mario Addison (knee)

Nothing is known about Addison & his knee that popped up on Friday with a DNP. His status is officially questionable. There wasn’t anything in particular on film Sunday that suggested a knee injury. He did exit the game for cramping in what appeared to be his right leg, but this should not cause knee problems several days later.

He did have a knee injury back in 2017 that he didn’t miss any time with, but I do not believe this is connected nor do we know which side. It’s possible that he hurt his knee Thursday after practice, but any specifics are non-existent. I have to assume he doesn’t play based on the questionable diagnosis, but that guess is as good as flipping a coin and calling heads.

RB Zack Moss (toe)

Moss appears to be trending up from a toe injury sustained in the win over the Dolphins in Week 2. He likely suffered a turf toe injury which can be played through but does benefit from some time off. Fortunately, he’s not a bell cow back for the Bills and he can split carries with RB Devin Singletary and if needed, use RB TJ Yeldon like they did last week.

Moss will probably have a stiff sole and possibly tape to prevent excess movement at the big toe so that he can have that explosive first step. If he doesn’t play, then I expect him to be full-go for Week 5. Without more knowledge to sway either way, I’m leaning towards him playing.

ACTIVE

WR John Brown (calf/foot)

Brown continues to be limited with foot issues since the beginning of the season, adding in a calf strain from the Rams game that caused him to miss the 2nd half.

The foot is more of a pain issue and a nuisance more than anything. The calf strain can linger but if he took himself out Sunday in the second half as a precaution and was DNP Wednesday, limited Thursday, and full Friday, it’s likely that he is healed enough.

The team may also be conservative in his approach during practice due to the heat expected in Las Vegas. This could exacerbate a strain if he gets dehydrated, however, they are in a climate-controlled stadium which may neutralize that factor.

Brown also has sickle cell trait which could place his body under extra stress and pain if he overworks his body or becomes dehydrated. This is merely a factor the team has to account for but does not limit his abilities. Sean McDermott appeared fairly confident that Brown would be available Sunday which is a ringing endorsement from a coach who says very little.

LB Tremaine Edmunds (right shoulder)

Edmunds finally was able to practice in full following a shoulder injury in Week 1 that caused him to miss Week 2. He did return in Week 3 and was less than effective with a shoulder harness.

Another week of rest & rehab should do him well & he should improve his play. The hope is that he eventually ditches the shoulder harness which would support the AC joint sprain which makes more sense & is less severe than a labral tear. He’s not 100% yet, but I expect him to slowly continue to improve towards a Pro Bowl level. I will also be watching closely how he engages his tackles and if he accepts more hits to the right side.

TE Dawson Knox (concussion)

Knox is slated to play Sunday following a concussion in Week 2 that forced him to miss the Rams game. He has since practiced in full and only has to pass his independent neurological consult if he hasn’t already. He is at a higher risk to suffer another concussion since he has already had one but playing football, he’s at risk regardless.

T Dion Dawkins (right shoulder)

Dawkins took a hard spill on Sunday as the result of trying to avoid Rams CB Troy Hill, somersaulting over him and landing on his right shoulder. The hope is that this is a contusion and is more pain limiting. There is a possibility that he suffered a minor AC joint sprain, but Dawkins was fairly jovial and hanging around following the win Sunday while not appearing to favor the arm.

One benefit of this being his right shoulder is that he plays left tackle. He will have to engage his left arm more, blocking the defensive end around the edge, allowing Dawkins to keep the end in front of him. He will use his right arm, but he can get through the game a lot easier because of this. I really don’t expect much drop off in the quality of play Sunday.

S Micah Hyde (left ankle)

Hyde sprained his ankle going in for a blitz Sunday and rolled it engaging the Rams tackle. Low ankle sprains are painful but easily played through with bracing or tape. My only concern is if he continues to re-injure the area that he misses time. I’m not all that concerned about damage in the short term, it’s easy to manage, but he is an older player and continues to require occasional days off to recover.

DT Quinton Jefferson (foot)

Little is known about Jefferson other than that he’s an older player with a previous Jones fracture from last season. He did have foot soreness in the preseason and is dealing with this again. There are other possibilities such as the plantar fasciitis that John Brown could be dealing with or that Jefferson had his foot stepped on.

This is something that I’m aware of but not concerned about right now, but something to monitor as the season progresses. I will be looking for patterns on the injury report and if he begins to miss snaps/games. For Sunday, he will be good to go.

DT Ed Oliver (right knee)

Oliver’s knee injury appeared pretty innocuous during Week 2 when he attempted to trip the offensive player, getting hit directly at the knee and then hit on the shin.

He was limited Wednesday due to the knee continuing to bother him followed by a DNP Thursday. This sent out a lot of concern to the masses thinking he wouldn’t play, but Ian Rapoport of NFL Network indicated that it was a bruise and that the knee was structurally sound. But considering the DNP’s on Wednesday, this was probably done to stagger all the various players out. He likely hyperextended the knee during the original hit which led to the brace, but overall it does mean that the knee is sound as the knee does have some leeway with extension.

However, this picture above began making the rounds late Friday evening which makes me believe something more is going on. Clicking on the picture below, you can see that there is a bandage of Oliver’s medial right knee. Considering this is the location that he was hit, I got to wonder if he got his knee drained due to excess swelling.

This is a common procedure and the knee would be drained in that area. This picture highlights how severe the bruising may actually be. If you compare the right versus left calf, you can also see less definition on the right calf as compared to the left which would further show overall swelling in the knee and lower leg. I reached out to several Bills fans who have greater expertise in those areas and supported my thoughts. Really appreciate their input!

I wouldn’t be surprised to see both a compression sleeve on the knee and hinge brace for support Sunday. This will be something to monitor in the coming weeks.

CB Josh Norman (left hamstring)

Norman is slated to return to the active roster following a 3-week stay due to a likely Grade 2 left hamstring strain suffered during the first week of real training camp. He appeared on the mend but had a setback at the end of August, forcing him out of practices prior to Week 1.

He has since returned to practice Wednesday and has not been on the injury report. As of publication, he has not been activated, but the Bills waived CB Cam Lewis, later re-signing him to the practice squad. Considering the position and roster move, it appears a foregone conclusion that Norman will make his debut with the team Sunday. I expect him to work into a split role with CB Levi Wallace to keep the Raiders off balance and to help him adjust to game speed.

Ideally, the time off helped reduce his risk to re-injure the hamstring, but it is not completely absolved. Hopefully, he can find the fountain of youth and rekindle some of his stellar play from his days in Carolina.

Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm
DE Mario Addison
OL Ike Boettger
RB TJ Yeldon
TE Lee Smith
LB Del’Shawn Phillips

There doesn’t appear to be any surprises for the inactives, more personnel inactives than injuries besides Phillips & Addison. Based on my thoughts that Addison doesn’t play, that allows both DE Darryl Johnson & DE AJ Epenesa to get out there as they have been inactives in past weeks.

The Bills are far healthier heading into this game than the Raiders and I believe more talented. The injuries that we do have are on the mend which can help continue to develop depth in place until the starters are healthy. This is a game the Bills expect to win as they have much greater competition farther ahead, making each week more important than the last. Despite the early injuries, the rust appears to be shaken off and ideally, the quality of the defense continues to improve in order to support the hot start by the offense.

Top Photo Credit:

Chris Benoit Facebook/Nate Mendelson Twitter

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