The Buffalo Bills are 4-3 after an upset loss to the New England Patriots. There has been a stretch of long term injuries, including CB Tre’Davious White, LB Matt Milano, DT DaQuan Jones, and RB Damien Harris. Now, TE Dawson Knox will be out indefinitely after undergoing wrist surgery.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, meanwhile, have had better luck with their injuries. They have C Ryan Jensen and WR Russell Gage on their IR and recently activated RB Chase Edmunds, who may make his debut against the Bills. Starting G Matt Feiler and backup S Kaevon Merriweather are ‘Out’. Additionally, starters QB Baker Mayfield, WR Chris Godwin, and DT Vita Vea are listed as ‘Questionable’.
TE Dawson Knox
Knox suffered a sprained ‘wrist’ against the Jaguars in Week 5. He played 75% of Buffalo’s offensive snaps against the Giants and 63% this past Sunday. Unfortunately, he was seen shaking out his wrist in the Patriots game, and McDermott reported he has already had surgery. Dawson is likely to go on IR, which would mean missing at least 4 weeks.
The injury is unknown, but there is room to speculate. The injury possibilities range from a ligamentous repair, a broken bone, tendon release, or possibly just a minor clean up procedure.
In my opinion, the fact the team let him play through it for two weeks makes me think it’s either a tendon release or a clean-up procedure. Those procedures would carry a recovery time of 2-4 weeks. If it is a fracture, the return depends on what broke, but I would expect at least a recovery time of 4-6 weeks. For any ligamentous repairs, that would take over three months.
TE Quintin Morris
Morris suffered an ‘ankle’ injury during the Giants game (a few plays prior to his TD). He hasn’t practiced the past two weeks. The mechanism of injury appeared to be a high ankle. These can carry a recovery time of around 2.5 weeks (1).
Morris will have a shot to return next week for the Week 9 matchup against Cincinnati.
LB Baylon Spector
After being placed on the IR to start the season with a ‘hamstring’ injury, Spector returned to a special teams role in Week 6 against the Giants. In his second game back, he has injured his hamstring again. He essentially had seven weeks to recover from his preseason injury and will be sidelined once again. Generally, there is about a two-week recovery for such injuries, but this may take longer due to his recent history.
QUESTIONABLE: DT Ed Oliver
Oliver landed on the injury report last week with a ‘toe’ injury and missed Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Over the first four weeks of the season, Oliver averaged a 66% snap share. In Weeks 5 and 6, he was at 81% and 87%. That is by far some of the highest DL snap shares in the McDermott era.
His injury is likely turf toe, which is essentially a sprained great toe. This injury has a knack for being a lingering injury, which is unfortunate with the newly required workload for Oliver. A mild sprain can take 0-2 weeks to recover (2), and Oliver was able to participate in practice in limited fashion all week. I expect him to play tonight, but at a significantly reduced snap share and keep an eye out for aggravation of his injury.
QB Josh Allen
Josh Allen suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder late in the first half of the Giants game. He only missed two snaps of that contest (after being examined for a possible concussion).
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).
Allen and the team have been vocal that he is sore but not affected by his current ailment. He was able to practice in full all week in the lead up to tonight’s game, but he was seen grabbing at his shoulder last week, early in the Patriots game. This will be something to manage and monitor for another week or two.
DE Von Miller
In other unfortunate news, the return of Von Miller took a downturn last week. After logging 20 and 27 snaps in Weeks 5 and 6, Miller exited the Pats game after only 6 snaps. He appeared to tweak his knee.
Von was limited for two practices this week but finished as a full participant on Wednesday. All reports from the team and Von have been positive, but his progress is even more under the microscope with the recent assumed setback.
LB Terrel Bernard
Bernard has played a 100% snap count each of the past four weeks. Surprisingly, however, he was placed on the injury report this week with a ‘knee’ injury. He was a full participant in all practices. It’s worth monitoring but does not appear to be a major ailment currently.
DT Jordan Phillips
Phillips appeared to be shaken up on the long catch and run on the Patriots’ first play of their final drive. He was able to re-enter the game on that final drive though. He was listed with a ‘back’ injury, which caused him to log two limited practices, but he finished a full participant on Wednesday. His availability will be critical, as he saw huge jump in his snap share in Week 7 due to the ailing Ed Oliver. (Philips averaged a 38% share over the first six weeks, but logged 56.7% last week.)
CB Kaiir Elam
Elam played the entire Week 6 game against the Giants. However, he landed on last week’s injury report with an ‘ankle’ injury. He apparently aggravated an ankle issue that started in training camp. Elam did play Week 7 against Patriots but logged zero defensive snaps. He was a full participant for this week’s practices and will be available if called upon.
OT Spencer Brown
Spencer Brown’s injury occurred during the Week 6 scuffle that saw him take a cheap shot from Giants DL Leonard Williams.
Brown had a long history of knee ailments prior to his start with the Bills. Fortunately, this mechanism looks to be a mild sprain, as he returned to the Giants game quickly with a hinged brace on his right knee. He logged 100% of the offensive snaps last week against the Patriots while wearing a hinged brace again.
- Miller BS, Downie BK, Johnson PD, Schmidt PW, Nordwall SJ, Kijek TG, Jacobson JA, Carpenter JE. Time to return to play after high ankle sprains in collegiate football players: a prediction model. Sports Health. 2012 Nov; 4(6): 504-9. doi: 10.1177/1941738111434916. PMID: 24179590; PMCID: PMC3497944.
- 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.
- 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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