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Buffalo Bills preseason injury review: August 24th

Several scares Friday, but the Bills are on the mend

Buffalo Bills v Detroit Lions Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

After an ugly performance by the offense on Friday night with a 24-20 win against the Detroit Lions, the Buffalo Bills managed to return back home banged up but not broken. Several starters went down with injuries that had Buffalo fans sweating. Yet, the preseason seems to get any injury over-hyped with fans fearing the worst. The players’ injury analysis listed below will help calm many fears as we near Week 1.

C Mitch Morse (concussion)

Morse continues to deal with the concussion sustained during his first padded practice on July 27th. Fans have been waiting with bated breath for when he is finally cleared and it appears that could be any day now. Over the past week, he has graduated to stage 5 of the concussion protocol and shed the red non-contact jersey. The team has cleared him, but he requires clearance by an independent neurologist to exit the protocol.

According to the AP’s John Warwow, the Bills and Morse have been cautious in his management—likely to maximize his long-term health and ensure he’s ready for the regular season. This all implies that he would have likely cleared the protocol sooner, but the team played it safe. Expect Morse to be ready Week 1.

CB Tre’Davious White (right quadriceps contusion)

White put a scare into fans Friday night when he was unable to get up from the field following a play midway through the second quarter. Initial observation showed a right shoulder injury based on landing, but the injury was to the right thigh area. This was due to Lions TE Jesse James colliding with White, preventing him from bracing the landing with his upper body. Later, he was stretching out the knee on the sidelines with trainers shortly after the injury. An ice pack applied to the quad was necessary to control swelling and pain.

He was later diagnosed with a right quad contusion and ruled out for the game. Analysis based on initial movement and abilities determines severity and how long he may be out. The fact that he was walking off under his own power, able to stretch the knee out, and continue to move around indicates that this may be a Grade 1 contusion.

A quadriceps contusion presents with pain, and decreased function immediately following the injury. Fortunately, the ability to stretch the knee to at least 90 degrees of flexion—which is what he was able to do—supports a Grade 1. The key focus for White will be to keep the quadriceps loose by regular graded increases in movement, stretching, and managing swelling. Complications can occur following these injuries but are unlikely. He will be out 2-3 weeks at most, missing the fourth preseason game, but the injury should not affect his status for Week 1.

OL Quinton Spain (ankle)

Spain went down with an ankle injury late in the first quarter delivering a block for RB Frank Gore. He was able to walk off under his own power favoring his right leg with a minor limp. He was later observed sitting on a plinth table before getting carted off. Reviewing film, it appeared that when was trying to block his assignment, he fell down and a Lions defender stepped on the inside part of the foot. Based on the angle afforded to TV viewers, the possibility of a midfoot sprain is present due to getting stepped on. There is also the possibility of a contusion due to being stepped on by a large human. This could have been an injury he may have played through during the regular season.

Later, reports observed him leaving the stadium with a walking boot and crutches. This is standard following foot/ankle injuries to control swelling and off-weight the area to reduce pain. He will likely get imaging later with further testing if necessary. Considering this is still the preseason, playing through injuries is not recommended and, as a result, his night ended early. Barring new information, I expect Spain to miss the fourth game but be ready for Week 1.

RB Frank Gore (right knee/hip contusion)

Gore received a late hit out of bounds on the first play in the second quarter, bringing the Bills’ bench out in response. He was struck below the hip area but above the knee, which is a rather meaty area that can absorb some contact. TV reports later indicated that he put some sort of cream on his knee. His knee may have gotten tweaked trying to stop his momentum as he slid on the sidelines. He was able to return to play, indicating that the contusion was minor. Like all others listed above, he will not see the fourth preseason game. Gore has likely taken worse shots before and lived to tell the tale.

OL Ty Nsekhe (knee)

Nsekhe missed his second game with a knee tweak, described by general manager Brandon Beane last week. Video and reports state he has been able to practice and warm up without any noticeable compensations. As there was no video of the specific mechanism of injury, it’s hard to identify exactly what he’s dealing with. This is likely a precautionary move for his health and should not affect him for Week 1.

P Cory Carter (knee soreness)

Carter was unable to share punting duties with P Corey Bojorquez due to knee soreness this week. The team has not identified which knee he is dealing with, but my hopes are that it is his right kicking leg. If you recall, Carter tore his ACL in his left plant leg last preseason, which wiped out his entire season. If he’s having soreness in his plant leg, there’s concern that he may be experiencing patellar pain due to abnormal patellar tracking. This could lead to a loss of knee hyperextension, which is important in requiring a fully extended leg when punting, even on the plant leg. This is a correctable issue, but if this is the case, horrible timing for him to be missing snaps while in a battle with Bojorquez.

OL Conor McDermott and CB Cam Lewis (concussion)

McDermott and Lewis continue to work through the concussion protocol with both at various stages. McDermott appears to be at stage 5, with Lewis now appearing to be at stage 2 based on Friday’s pre-game workouts. McDermott appears close to returning, but Lewis still has a way to go before clearance. Like Morse, each concussion takes time and is not held to a specific time frame. McDermott may be available for the last game, whereas Lewis may not. Both are fighting for depth positions on this team so any chances to show their worth will be ideal.

DE Jerry Hughes (right hand/wrist)

Hughes did not play Friday due to a right hand/wrist injury suffered at some point within the past week. Reviewing last week’s film, there wasn’t anything specific that would have caused injury. Due to the violent nature of the defensive end position, a seemingly innocuous play could have led to a minor sprain in the wrist area. I also believe that he did not play as he is a veteran and has little to prove playing in a meaningless game. Until we know more information, I expect that Hughes will be ready for Week 1 and this will be another injury all but forgotten.

TE Jason Croom and Dawson Knox (hamstring)

Knox finally returned to game play this week after missing three weeks due to a hamstring strain at the beginning of camp. He saw a lot of playing time in the first half with 16 snaps but did not record a reception. While he is not out of the woods yet, he looked good and appears to be finally healthy. Croom missed yet another game due to a hamstring strain that he can’t get past. I do not see a path to the 53-man roster after missing nearly the entire preseason. He is not the talent that Morse is and afforded to miss reps out of safety. Hopefully, he can play in the fourth game for a last-gasp effort to show what he can do.

Despite all the scares Friday night, the Bills continue to get healthier, suffering only minor injuries. Outside of TE Tyler Kroft who is still on the PUP, the team should enter Week 1 with nearly everyone healthy primed to make the 53-man roster. I expect in the coming week to see several more players go on IR as cut-down day approaches. The Bills are in much better shape than other teams around the NFL—just one more warm-up game to get through.