On Friday, July 31st, Bills twitter learned that the team would have to start the season without RG Jon Feliciano. Throughout the offseason, it was relieving to the Bills organization and fan base that the team was returning the most starters of any team in the league, and this continuity was going to be crucial to the success of the season amid the questions everywhere due to COVID-19.
However, that took a hit when it was announced that the starting RG, and one of Josh Allen’s most trusted teammates, would miss some time and possibly the entire season. It was first reported that Jon Feliciano had undergone a chest procedure, but we later found out that Jon had torn his pectoral muscle through an Instagram post of his. In this video, Jon stated he tore his pectoral muscle when working out but vowed to not miss much time stating, “I won’t miss too many games. I’ll be back soon.” He even ended the caption of this post with “See y’all in Vegas!”
The pectoral muscle is a large muscle located in the front of the chest that has two parts (the major and minor), and its function is to allow forward movements and motions of the shoulders and arms. This muscle also has a tendon that attaches to the humerus bone of the arm. While specifics of the injury and how it was sustained were not released to the public, this type of injury most often occurs from forceful activities like weightlifting, specifically bench presses.
This injury can also happen during the game while attempting to block defensive linemen, but since he reports it happened while working out, and there hadn’t been any live practice yet, it is safe to assume this occurred while lifting. The public was never made aware of whether the injury was a partial or complete tear either, but seeing that he required surgery, it’s very likely Jon suffered a complete tear of the pectoral muscle.
Rehab and Return to Action
Rehab for this surgery will consist of various exercises with the medical staff and physical therapists aimed at regaining painless range of motion followed by regaining strength of damaged muscle tissue. When can Feliciano return to the field? First, it is important to remember that every individual is different, and rehabilitation and healing is going to be different for everyone. (I will include this statement in every injury analysis for this site.)
After the initial reports from various media sources, along with Feliciano’s promise to return as quickly as possible, fans were being told the timetable for Jon was around 6-8 weeks. If he were to return for the week four game in Vegas, that would be around nine weeks post surgery. While this is certainly a possibility, and I do believe it is likely, fans should also know there is a possibility it could take longer than anticipated.
I went back and looked at another NFL player who suffered an injury similar to this and when he was able to return to action. Bills fans know this name all too well. On October 27, 2019, Texans DE J.J. Watt suffered a torn pectoral muscle during a game against the Raiders, and this injury required surgery similar to Feliciano’s (Watt’s surgery was performed two days later on the 29th). Watt was placed on IR with a designation to return and was activated on December 24, 2019. He returned to play on January 4, 2020, against our beloved Bills and had most of ESPN’s attention all night. Watt’s timeline from surgery to his first game back for the Wildcard round was just under 10 weeks.
With how advanced medicine is today and with the incredible medical staff and facility the Pegula’s have given the Bills, it gives me strong optimism that Feliciano could return for week four. This timeline matches up with Watt’s timeline from just last season, and I have reason to believe that with the top-notch rehab facility at One Bills Drive, Feliciano should be back by week four to face his old team in Vegas.
Stay safe and wear a mask everyone!