The Buffalo Bills are 4-2 after an uninspiring victory over the New York Giants. After losing CB Tre’Davious White, LB Matt Milano, and DT DaQuan Jones to long-term injuries, the injury bug struck again against the Giants. The Bills placed RB Damien Harris on IR. Meanwhile, DT Ed Oliver and TE Quintin Morris have been ruled out for this week. Even QB Josh Allen is dealing with an injury to his throwing shoulder.
On a positive note, DE Von Miller is slowly, but steadily ramping up his snap count. He played 20 snaps (22.7%) in his first game and 27 (35.1%) this past week. He should continue to ramp up his snaps over the next month and return to his 2022 snap share (~65%) by the latter half of the season. Coach McDermott was high on his performance in his second game back.
As for the New England Patriots, they have a substantial number of injuries. OT Riley Reiff, LB Josh Uche, and DL Deion White are OUT. They have 16 players listed as QUESTIONABLE, including three players eligible to return from PUP/IR lists: DL Trey Flowers, DB Jack Jones, and DB Cody Davis. Notable other starters that are on the IR but not eligible to return are OLB Matt Judon, CB Christian Gonzalez, and CB/KR Marcus Jones.
IR: RB Damien Harris
Harris had a scary injury late in the first half of the Giants game. He was spine boarded and taken to the hospital with a ‘neck injury/concussion’. The Buffalo Bills placed him on the IR on Friday October 10th and he will be out a minimum of four weeks. Given his history of neck ailments, do not be surprised if Harris doesn’t return this season.
DT Ed Oliver
Oliver didn’t appear hurt last week, but he landed on the injury report this week with a ‘toe’ injury. Over the first four weeks, Oliver averaged a 66% snap share. The past two weeks he was at 81% and 87%. It is unknown when he got injured, as he was still in during the final series. A common toe ailment would be turf toe. A mild sprain can take 0-2 weeks to recover (1).
Oliver will be out this week. But he was seen stretching on the field on Friday. This bodes well for a return for next week’s game, which would equate to 18 days’ rest.
TE Quintin Morris
Morris suffered an ‘ankle’ injury last week. He injured himself before catching his TD in the game but was unable to practice this week. The mechanism of injury appeared to be a high ankle. These can carry a recovery time of around 2.5 weeks (2).
Morris did not practice at all this week. Also, expect him to miss next week’s Thursday night game against Tampa Bay. He should be available to return Week 9 against Cincinnati.
QUESTIONABLE: DB Cam Lewis
Lewis exited the Giants game with what the team called a ‘stinger’. Usually this refers to a neck injury that affects the arm’s strength and sensation.
However, Lewis was listed with a ‘shoulder’ ailment this week in practice. He logged two limited and one full practice this week. He should be able to play Sunday if his stinger is resolved. Being listed with a shoulder injury does make one wonder if he is dealing with something separate, such as an AC joint sprain. Cam Lewis’ availability is crucial for special teams as he averaged 77% of the ST snaps over the first five weeks.
QB Josh Allen
Josh Allen suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder late in the first half against the Giants. The injury occurred the play before he was taken out for a possible concussion. He only missed two snaps and appeared fine throughout the second half of the game.
Based on the mechanism, Allen is likely dealing with a mild AC joint sprain to his throwing shoulder. There should be concern about his throwing accuracy and potential for aggravation if he lands on his shoulder again. Usually, QBs take about 17 days to return to play, so he is well ahead of the curve (3).
CB Dane Jackson
Jackson played 100% of the snaps against the Jaguars. However, he missed the Giants game with a ‘foot’ injury last week.
Jackson is likely dealing with a minor sprain. But he logged back-to-back full practices to end the week. He will return against the Pats.
TE Dawson Knox
Knox suffered a sprained ‘wrist’ against the Jaguars in Week 5. After being limited in practice all last week, Knox played 75% of the offensive snaps against the Giants, which was his second highest output of the season. Knox was a full participant this entire week and will be active Sunday.
TE Dalton Kincaid
He left the Jaguars game briefly to be evaluated for a head injury but was subsequently cleared and returned to the game. Unfortunately, Kincaid was placed in the concussion protocol after the game and ended up missing the Giants game.
Fortunately, Kincaid cleared the protocol prior to the start of the practice week. This allowed him to be a full participant for all practices and he will be active Sunday.
DE Greg Rousseau
Groot missed the London game with a ‘foot’ injury. He returned for Week 6 against the Giants and played 70% of the defensive snaps. Groot either sustained some form of a midfoot sprain or possibly a small fracture in his foot. In the NFL, a grade one midfoot sprain takes about a week to return (4).
He was limited early in the week but finished with back-to-back full practices on Thursday and Friday.
DE A.J. Epenesa
Epenesa appeared to leave the Giants game early last week. He was listed with a ‘quad’ injury but practiced in full all week. His mechanism of injury is unknown but, based on his quick recovery, it was unlikely a strain. He likely suffered a severe contusion, giving him a dead leg.
Epenesa has arguably been one of Buffalo’s most improved DL. After averaging a 43% snap share over the first four weeks, Epenesa played an admirable 67% in London Week 5. That share dropped to 27% this past week against the Giants due to the injury. It will be interesting to see where he lands this week with Von Miller ramping up.
CB Kaiir Elam
Elam played 100% of the snaps against the Giants last week. However, he landed on the injury report with an ‘ankle’ injury which caused him to be limited the entire week. He apparently aggravated an ankle issue that started in training camp but will be available Sunday. He is expected to return to a reserve roll with Dane Jackson also returning.
OT Spencer Brown
Spencer Brown briefly exited the Giants game with a ‘knee’ injury. He returned to the game and was a full participant in practice this entire week. His injury occurred during the scuffle, when he took a cheap shot from Giants DL Leonard Williams.
Brown had a long history of knee ailments prior to his start with the Bills. However this mechanism looks to be a mild sprain, as he returned to the game with a hinged brace on his right knee.
- Vopat ML, Hassan M, Poppe T, Tarakemeh A, Zackula R, Mulcahey MK, Mullen S, Burkholder R, Schroeppel JP, Vopat BG. Return to Sport After Turf Toe Injuries: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Orthop J Sports Med. 2019 Oct 14; 7(10): 2325967119875133. doi: 10.1177/2325967119875133. PMID: 31663005; PMCID: PMC6792281.
- Osbahr DC, O’Loughlin PF, Drakos MC, Barnes RP, Kennedy JG, Warren RF. Midfoot sprains in the National Football League. Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 2014 Dec; 43(12): 557-61. PMID: 25490010.
- Lynch TS, Saltzman MD, Ghodasra JH, Bilimoria KY, Bowen MK, Nuber GW. Acromioclavicular joint injuries in the National Football League: epidemiology and management. Am J Sports Med. 2013 Dec; 41(12): 2904-8. doi: 10.1177/0363546513504284. Epub 2013 Sep 20. PMID: 24057030.
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