Buffalo Bills 2023 Draft Class Injury History
Two weeks ago, the Buffalo Bills picked their 2023 draft class. Their rookies were mostly clean on the injury front. However, one offensive player does have a lengthy injury history.
TE Dalton Kincaid
Kincaid has been generally healthy. However, his past season at Utah contained two injuries. One was minor (shoulder), whereas the more significant injury was to his back.
Missing one game for a shoulder injury, Kincaid likely suffered an AC joint injury. This can be seen below as he was driven into the turf at the end of his TD play.
AC joint injuries are common in football. They make up about 29% of all shoulder ailments in the NFL, but rarely (1.7%) require surgery (1). This will carry no risk for Kincaid.
The more significant injury for Kincaid came late in the season. He suffered what has been reported as a small back fracture. This caused him to miss the Rose Bowl and kept him limited during the combine process while he healed.
Fortunately, Kincaid suffered a bony injury. If he were to herniate a disc in his back, there would be more long-term concerns. The Bills will not have much to worry about that, nor should you.
OL O’Cyrus Torrence
Torrence has only dealt with minor injuries in his career as well. In 2021, he missed two games for a concussion. This was the result of a car accident. After transferring to Florida in 2022, he also suffered a knee injury which caused him to miss one game. It has been reported this was due to an MCL sprain.
MCL injuries are very common in football. Fortunately, if isolated, they don’t carry significant risk factors for a player’s future. One study found that 13% of all NFL combine athletes had a history of MCL pathology (2). Torrence is another draft pick with a clean medical history.
LB Dorian Williams
Williams was the Bills’ third selection, and again, is an athlete with minimal risk. After having an injury free collegiate career, Williams broke his wrist while practicing at the Senior Bowl and underwent surgery.
He was seen at the combine with a cast on. This would have been about four weeks after surgery, which tracks well to still being casted. Long-term, there is once again no concern as bones heal well.
WR Justin Shorter
Shorter is the prospect with the baggage. He’s sustained multiple injuries that date back to the eighth grade (ankle fracture). In his Freshman season at Penn State, Shorter dislocated his knee cap during his first game. This caused him to miss most of the season, but he was able to return at the end of the year for three games.
Patellar dislocations can be problematic. Risks of future instability and cartilage damage are notable. Also, only two-thirds of young athletes return to play at the same level (3). For Shorter, he was able to return later in the year and hasn’t had any recurring knee injuries in his career, which is promising.
Two out of the next three seasons were riddled with neck/concussion issues. Shorter suffered his first injury in 2019 at Penn State. This caused him to miss one game. Then, at Florida in 2021, Shorter sustained another head injury. That one was in a Bowl Game, but he was carted off, seen with a neck brace and, due to the timing, it is uncertain how long of a recovery he needed.
Shorter’s 2022 season was marred with a soft tissue injury. He suffered a hamstring strain which cost him three games. He was able to run the 40-yard dash at the combine though, which is always a good sign of proper healing.
The amount of injuries Shorter has sustained has made him our riskiest investment during the draft. Luckily, he was just the Bills’ fifth round selection and has a great physique.
OL Nick Broeker
Nick has never been Broeken. A true injury-free prospect.
DB Alex Austin
Austin is another prospect with a pristine injury history. He only missed one game this past season for an undisclosed injury.
- 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.
- Logan CA, Murphy CP, Sanchez A, Dornan GJ, Whalen JM, Price MD, Bradley JP, LaPrade RF, Provencher MT. Medial Collateral Ligament Injuries Identified at the National Football League Scouting Combine: Assessment of Epidemiological Characteristics, Imaging Findings, and Initial Career Performance. Orthop J Sports Med. 2018, Jul 30; 6 (7): 2325967118787182. doi: 10.1177/2325967118787182. PMID: 30083562; PMCID: PMC6066829.
- Ménétrey J, Putman S, Gard S. Return to sport after patellar dislocation or following surgery for patellofemoral instability. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2014, Oct; 22 (10): 2320-6. doi: 10.1007/s00167-014-3172-5. Epub2014 Jul 22. PMID: 25047793; PMCID: PMC4169614.
Featured Image: AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack