The Buffalo Bills finished the regular season at 13-3 and are on a seven-game winning streak. Entering Wild Card weekend, the Bills will have a handful of players ruled out due to the IR, but only two questionable for Sunday.
The injury bug has hit Buffalo hard this season. The IR list is loaded with S Damar Hamlin, DE Von Miller, WR Jake Kumerow, and OT Tommy Doyle. However, good news arrived this week as the Bills activated WR Jamison Crowder and S Micah Hyde from the IR, opening a 21-day practice window. The estimated return of Crowder is unknown, but we now know Hyde will not be back until the AFC Conference Championship at the earliest.
As for the Miami Dolphins, they have been dealing with a plethora of injuries. Notable players on the IR/PUP include DE Emmanuel Ogbah, SS Brandon Jones, OT Eric Fisher, CB Byron Jones, OT Austin Jackson, and LB Trey Flowers. QB Tua Tagovailoa and RB Raheem Mostert have already been ruled out for tomorrow. OL Liam Eichenberg is ‘doubtful’, whereas OTs Terron Armstead and Brandon Shell are both ‘questionable’.
DT Jordan Phillips
Phillips suffered his ‘shoulder’ injury in the first Patriots game on December 1st. He fell on an outstretched arm when pursuing Mac Jones late in the game. He missed the following two weeks. In my opinion, Phillips appeared to suffer a dislocation/labral tear. The average return to play is three weeks (1). He returned to action against the Bears, three weeks after his injury, but only at a 24% snap share. This was about half of his usual rate. After a virtual week off due to the Hamlin injury, Phillips played a 28% snap share in the finale against the Patriots. He has been laboring during the past two games he has played, which has led him to miss all practices this week.
The problem with a shoulder dislocation is that the shoulder can be unstable. This, in essence, means it can pop out of the socket more easily and further damage the shoulder joint. It is unknown if he has had subsequent dislocation or subluxations, but it wouldn’t be surprising. If this was a game later in the playoffs, Phillips would most likely play through it, but the Bills might see this weekend as an opportunity to give him some rest.
WR Isaiah McKenzie
Lil’ Dirty popped up on the injury report with a ‘hamstring’ on Wednesday. It has since been reported that he sustained his injury in practice.
McKenzie finished the week with two straight missed practices and it appears he will likely miss the game. Hamstring injuries vary depending on the severity, but generally require 1-3 weeks of recovery (2). Based on McKenzie’s comments, this is a low-grade strain, and he should be available for next week.
S Jordan Poyer
Poyer was listed with a ‘knee’ the past four weeks. It is now known he is dealing with a lateral meniscus tear, which is why he continues to have limitations during the practice week.
A few weeks ago, Poyer said that he ‘banged’ it up during the Dolphins game. He has played a full snap share ever since. Meniscal tears are common in the NFL, however lateral tears are a little more difficult to deal with. It appears he will be able to continue to play through this injury, but it can have a negative effect on his cutting/change of direction. To note, he has not been wearing any type of brace.
QB Josh Allen
Josh Allen suffered an ‘elbow’ sprain in the first Jets game. He didn’t miss a single snap after. Furthermore, he has been a full participant in practice five out of the past seven weeks. (He logged one ‘limited’ session prior to Weeks 16 and 18.) Josh Allen is fine and this is yet another example of his injury resilience.
QB Case Keenum (illness) and CB Cam Lewis (forearm) were also listed and will play.
- Okoroha KR, Taylor KA, Marshall NE, Keller RA, Fidai M, Mahan MC, Varma V, Moutzouros V. Return to play after shoulder instability in National Football League athletes. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2018 Jan; 27(1): 17-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2017.07.027. Epub 2017 Sep 20. PMID: 28941971.
- Cohen SB, Towers JD, Zoga A, Irrgang JJ, Makda J, Deluca PF, Bradley JP. Hamstring injuries in professional football players: magnetic resonance imaging correlation with return to play. Sports Health. 2011 Sep; 3(5): 423-30. doi: 10.1177/1941738111403107. PMID: 23016038; PMCID: PMC3445213.
Featured Image: Bryan Bennett/Getty Images