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Buffalo Bills 2019 preseason injury review; August 11

Indianapolis Colts v Buffalo Bills Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

We are now one week closer to the regular season! Following a well-earned 24-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts Thursday night, a reassessment of the injuries on the team is in order. Thankfully, this report is shorter than last week’s with less injuries overall but still concerns moving forward.

Working in chronological order, first up is offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle. The veteran lineman tore his quadriceps tendon during Sunday’s practice during a routine drill. Unfortunately, his season is over and he will spend the remainder on IR. To read more, check out the article that I wrote here.

Shortly after Waddle’s injury, cornerback E.J. Gaines went down with a groin injury that the team initially reported he would be out for a few weeks. This is an ill-timed injury as he is fighting for a roster spot at a key position. However, it was just reported Saturday he has since gone to injured reserve, meaning his season is done. One interesting note is that he has since been reclassified with a core muscle injury. This would imply that he had a sports hernia. A groin strain would not progress to a sports hernia, but a sports hernia could initially present as a groin strain. Considering he now likely has a sports hernia, a return this season would not have been likely. To read more about Gaines’s latest injury, check out the article here.

Moving to the preseason game, several players were ruled out prior to the game for various reasons:

  • S Micah Hyde (neck)
  • DT Robert Thomas (knee, IR)
  • C Mitch Morse (concussion)
  • TE Dawson Knox (hamstring)
  • TE Jason Croom (hamstring)
  • OL Spencer Long (knee)
  • CB Taron Johnson (groin)
  • DE Jerry Hughes (ankle)
  • RB LeSean McCoy (veteran rest)
  • LB Lorenzo Alexander (veteran rest)

All the above listed injuries are prior issues that each player is still working through with the exception of Johnson. Hyde, Hughes and Long. All appear to have been held out as a precaution and have been able to practice this past week, which indicates that their injuries continue to be minor.

Johnson, on the other hand is dealing with a groin injury that was worrisome enough to hold him out for precautionary measures. I have not seen prior reports indicating that he suffered this injury nor that he had even been assessed by trainers. Despite this new information, I do not believe this to be serious as defensive backs do suffer groin strains more frequently due to the nature of their position. This will continue to be monitored as the preseason advances for changes in severity and whether he plays next game.

Thomas, like Gaines above, has also been placed on IR with a knee injury. What’s interesting is that he was practicing last week and appeared to be moving well with a knee brace on during that viral dancing video. However, he is now on IR for a knee injury that appears to be worse than originally thought.

Morse continues to work through the concussion protocol, appearing to reach stage 4 with video demonstrating he’s performing football-specific activities. He should be cleared to return very soon based on that progress. Croom and Knox are both still dealing with the after-effects of hamstring strains but appear to be close to rejoining the team. Croom was able to practice in a limited capacity on Friday, but Knox is still working through his injury. Morse & Knox appear to be safe bets to make the 53, but Croom must impress over the next several weeks to keep his job.

RB LeSean McCoy did not play Thursday as a scheduled off day, trading first-team reps with RB Frank Gore off next week when they play the Carolina Panthers.

Fortunately, there were no major injuries during Thursday’s game, but several players with minor injuries are worth noting:

  • OL Jon Feliciano (shoulder)
  • C Russell Bodine (oblique strain)
  • WR Zay Jones (concussion check)
  • OL Conor McDermott (concussion)

While OL Jon Feliciano did start at center, he’s still working through some type of shoulder ailment that has slowed him in the last several practices. Considering he started and played in the first game indicates that this is also minor and should not become a chronic issue later. As to specifics, without detail or video, it’s hard to say exactly what he’s dealing with.

C Russell Bodine continues to play himself off this roster with an ugly snap to QB Matt Barkley that resulted in a turnover Thursday night. Considering Feliciano started at center with Morse and Long out, this possibly shows the coaching staff a contingency plan and shows the likelihood that Bodine does not make this roster.

To add to that, Bodine suffered an oblique strain in the second half that he was seen discussing with trainers on the sidelines. While we do not know the severity, these injuries are typically slight and players can come back relatively quickly. If you recall, former OL John Miller suffered an oblique strain last year that caused him to miss one game. I do not expect him to be able to play against the Panthers, but considering the hole he is in, he may elect to play in order to have a shot to stay on the roster.

WR Zay Jones took what appeared to be a brutal hit to the head/neck area late in the first quarter, trying to haul in a pass near the goal line. He was quickly whisked into the medical tent followed by a further evaluation for a concussion in the locker room before eventually being cleared. It’s possible he could develop symptoms later on, but at this time, he is cleared from the concussion protocol.

Finally, OL Conor McDermott suffered a concussion not long after Jones suffered his hit. Unfortunately, McDermott was diagnosed with a concussion and his night ended. We do not know the severity of the concussion, but considering he was able to return to the sidelines indicates that the head injury may be mild as he was around noise, lights, sounds, all things that can exacerbate symptoms. Like Morse, he will have to work through the five-stage concussion protocol before returning to practice. He is another player who cannot afford to miss reps in order to make this roster.

Overall, injuries are a part of the game and the Buffalo Bills are not immune to this problem. The hope is that these injuries continue to be minor or time missed due to precautionary measures rather than season-ending tears or breaks. The Bills have the Carolina Panthers next week down in Charlotte along with joint practices prior to the game. The heat may produce some muscle strains but hopefully serious injury eludes the Bills for the rest of the 2019 preseason.