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Buffalo Bills training camp injury rundown: defense and special teams

What are folks dealing with heading into camp?

Buffalo Bills

In another article, we reviewed the offensive side of the ball with regards to injuries and where Buffalo Bills players would be at the start of camp this Thursday. Thankfully, the defense and special teams reviewed today is a much shorter list with less concerns moving forward.

The first two players do not have any information out there regarding why they were not participating in mandatory mini camp. They are:

CB E.J. Gaines

E.J. Gaines was coming off two concussions and an MCL injury from his time with the Cleveland Browns last year. While concussion management has been a focal point of proper treatment in recent years instead of smelling salts and expecting players to simply “walk it off,” it’s possible he could be dealing with post-concussive symptoms or there was fear that he could get another concussion during meaningless practices. He also has an extensive injury history that doesn’t help things. He should be a full go Thursday, but we all have been surprised in the past.

DE Eli Harold

Eli Harold had hip and shoulder injuries coming off his season with the Detroit Lions but missed one game total between the two. There is no other information out there regarding the reason he missed mini camp. Considering his versatility as a player, it would be a good thing if he was out there soaking up all the new information.

Known injuries

LB Matt Milano: Ankle surgery

While Matt Milano was a full participant in OTAs and minicamps, the perception exists that he may not return to full form following his brutal ankle fracture towards the end of last season. I highlighted the injury and rehab in a previous Buffalo Rumblings article. Make sure to check it out for more details. He should be at full ability and be ready to go.

DT Ed Oliver: Shoulder soreness

Ed Oliver was dealing with shoulder soreness during one of the OTA practices and while shoulder soreness would not be concerning in most athletes, the top draft pick warrants greater scrutiny. There isn’t anything to come out of this, just simple acknowledgement that he was dealing with this and that it shouldn’t be an issue.

NFL: Buffalo Bills-Minicamp Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

CB Taron Johnson: Shoulder surgery

Taron Johnson is recovering from a labral repair in his shoulder and was still limited during OTAs and minicamp. He should be cleared to participate and take full contact come Thursday. To read more on Johnson’s shoulder, check out my previous Rumblings article.

After watching Bills Embedded Season 2, there are awesome clips of Johnson and Milano both rehabbing from their respective injuries. They are moving incredibly well and support the articles I had written earlier this year.

DE Trent Murphy: ACL recovery & performance

While he did not miss any extensive time last year outside of three games due to an MCL sprain, his quality of play was not up to par with what was expected following his 2016 season in Washington. Like Milano and Johnson, I have previously written an article on Murphy here and I’m quite bullish on him getting back closer to his 2016 form than repeating last year’s output.

Punter Battle

As the Bills prepare for the punter battle with Cory and Corey, each are coming off season-ending injuries. Carter dealing with an ACL tear from the preseason and Bojorquez coming off a labral tear in his shoulder.

P Cory Carter- ACL tear

Cory Carter has been performing all his activities in OTAs and minicamp without restrictions and will be nearly a year out from the injury by the time training camp hits. While he may not be 100%, he will require less preparation for punting than a different skilled player position. Carter’s ACL tear was also the result of a direct blow to the plant leg versus a non-contact in most other tears. While having a strong plant leg is very important in punting, that particular skill set comes back quicker than cutting and pivoting motions required for running. The only reason Carter may not make the team would be due to lack of talent.

P Corey Bojorquez- Shoulder surgery

Bojorquez comes off his right shoulder labral tear following the botched fake field goal in the win over the Tennessee Titans. While it was never announced that he tore his labrum, the mechanism of injury was there for it, he had his shoulder heavily wrapped, and went to IR during the season. Like Taron Johnson, Bojorquez had his labrum repaired but did not require the restrictions that Johnson had due to the decreased contact that punters experience. Like Carter, Bojorquez will also only be limited by his talent.

This defense is stacked all throughout with quality NFL talent and for a change, quality NFL backups. None of the players on defense or special teams are on the PUP or NFI list and each of them should battle to control the tempo of games so the offense can do their job, score points, and bring the Buffalo Bills to new heights.