One week down, many to go! Already, training camp is littered with ACL & Achilles tears, high-ankle sprains, and cart-offs for precautionary measures, ending seasons before meaningful games are even played! While the Buffalo Bills have avoided most of these issues, they are not exempt from injuries. Most of the injuries are minor, but concerning enough that it may impact training camp battles.
TE Jason Croom and TE Dawson Knox: hamstring strains
Tight ends Jason Croom and Dawson Knox both suffered hamstring strains during the first days of training camp. Any type of muscle strains are not uncommon as activity level increases and with players working out in the heat can. Considering Croom is fighting for his roster spot and Knox is trying to adjust to the NFL, every rep lost is worrisome as the tight end position has had nearly a full turnover from last season.
There’s always the possibility that Croom could be dealing with some sort of back issue such as a disc or facet that is aggravated through specific activities causing pain down the sciatic nerve, which is the same location that the hamstring resides. However, this is totally speculation as I have not evaluated him. I have no other reports such as specific pain patterns, known previous injury to the area, or specific mechanisms of injury. Until then, I can only safely go off of what the team reports.
Both players will be able to return soon once they have been cleared and feel they can participate. Hamstring strains can take 1-2 weeks to recover with more severe strains taking longer.
WR Zay Jones: back/hamstring
Jones has not been limited with reps or been listed as injured, but there is a video of him being assessed by trainers and being worked on with what appears to be back complaints. This is evident with the trainer pushing on both hips and assessing the right lower leg, moving the hip into full flexion, indicating there may be low back or SI joint tightness.
Zay Jones getting some attention from a trainer. Stretching his right leg. He’s been down for several minutes pic.twitter.com/xup1pEsXxY— Josh Reed (@4JoshReed) July 28, 2019
He did not have any compensation in his running or known injuries, which leads me to believe that he’s dealing with some general tightness performing football-related activities. Jones was out during minicamp, which may be related to what is going on now—but far from a strong correlation.
In The Athletic’s Joe Buscalgia interview with head coach Sean McDermott, he revealed that Jones had been dealing with a hamstring strain during the offseason. However, outside of the video of him getting worked on by trainers, I do not see anything else concerning his movements. This will be something to note if he continues to experience difficulties.
C Mitch Morse: Concussion
The big fish from the free-agent haul of March is already starting to show some chinks in the armor with a newly-diagnosed concussion that is now his fourth confirmed in the NFL. Morse had a veteran maintenance day Sunday followed by an off day Monday before reporting concussion symptoms to the medical team Tuesday.
While this is concerning due to his previous concussion history, there is optimism to come out of this. According to reports, he is performing cardiovascular and strength training with trainers indicating that he is at least in Stage 3 of the concussion protocol. There are five stages to the entire protocol and while each concussion is unique, there is hope that he can return in the coming days to get valuable reps, the likes of which he missed all spring.
C/G Spencer Long: knee soreness
Long missed Wednesday’s practice with what was described as knee soreness. Outside of a picture of him on a bike with a compression sleeve on, there’s little information available. Long did miss two games last year with a knee injury during his time with the New York Jets but no specifics regarding the injury are available.
Noting that he did return to practice the next day with a hinged knee brace indicates that he may have tweaked his knee, requiring the medial/lateral stability from the brace in order to perform drills and play more effectively.
If you zoom in, Long has a hinge brace on the knee that kept him out of practice yesterday. This type of brace gives medial/lateral support indicating he may have had a minor MCL tweak. This will give more stability than a compression sleeve. See OL wear them in college. #Bills https://t.co/c7gklHfWzt— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) August 1, 2019
Unfortunately, he sat out Friday’s practice and was observed with another compression sleeve on the knee to control for any inflammation he may still be dealing with. This may be something to watch as time progresses but this isn’t ideal as Morse is currently out, leaving Russell Bodine as the only healthy center.
OL Jon Feliciano: leg
Feliciano was observed getting up slowly Thursday but was also reported to be alright after practice. However, during Friday’s practice at New Era Field, Feliciano once again went down with a leg injury that required him to go into the tunnel with trainers, ending his night. It’s unknown what he’s dealing with, but it’s something that may cost him a practice or two.
OL Jeremiah Sirles: foot fx
Sirles was released Wednesday with an injury settlement. This means that the team has calculated how long he will be out with his current injury, they can pay him that amount, and release him. This releases the team from liability and allows Sirles to find a new team once healthy. He could return to Buffalo at a later date, but would have to return six weeks after the time frame that the team paid him out, which places a Sirles return at least three months from now.
TE Tyler Kroft: foot fx
While Kroft is still a ways away from practicing and playing in games, there’s positive news that he is now out of his walking boot. From this, he may be two weeks ahead of schedule but still not ready to play during the regular season. He’s still slated to start the season on the PUP and return mid-season. He’s one player who should not be rushed back under any circumstances.
K Stephen Hauschka: ankle
DE Jerry Hughes: ankle
DT Robert Thomas: knee
S Micah Hyde: neck
OT Quentin Spain: foot
DE Shaq Lawson: knee
WR Robert Foster: shoulder
All of these injuries were reported by various sources over the past few days. These injuries have also not been noted as anything concerning or reasons for their respective injuries. Without further information, my theory is that these are precautionary measures to ensure long-term health. It’s quite possible that these injuries would not even be noted during the regular season or limit their availability. Until more information can be had, speculation is extremely limited.
Going into those with some known detail, Hauschka regularly wraps his left ankle—which is his plant leg—but is fully healthy according to The Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn. He was also making easy 40-plus-yard field goals during practice, which indicates that his ankle is not an issue nor that his lower back from last season is a concern.
Spain was listed with foot soreness but the mechanism of injury is not available at this moment. Hughes and Hyde are said to be nursing minor injuries with only Hughes returning for Friday’s practice.
Thomas went down during 1-on-1 drills and was unable to return Tuesday. Lawson was observed getting twisted and forced down to his knee by Dion Dawkins on Thursday, which brought initial concern, but it was later reported that he was moving around fine. Foster was assessed by trainers due to some type of shoulder injury, but was quickly able to return to play and no mention has been made of it since the 27th.
These initial injury reports may be more storylines to acknowledge, merely day-to-day injuries, but may lead to a dead end sooner than we think.
While not an injury, the signing of OL Nico Siragusa was a big one for him personally as he attempts to make the roster following an ACL, MCL, & PCL year two years ago shortly after he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. He was released and on the active roster for the Green Bay Packers late last year but still has not seen an NFL snap. Practice will identify whether he has anything left after missing two years of football.
OL Nico Siragusa inj hx: ‘17 4th rd pick by BAL. ‘17: knee inj, tore ACL, PCL, & MCL, on IR for season. ‘18: practice squad most of season until being signed by GBP late in season, was inactive, waived. ‘19: signed by IND, waived. Signed by BUF on 8/1/19. #Bills— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) August 1, 2019
TE Kyle Carter was signed due to the injuries at tight end. He’s far from a lock to make the roster due to the upside of those who are injured eventually returning and he may end up just being a camp body.
Outside of the Morse injury, there’s not an initial concern for the long-term complications with most of the injuries. These injuries will happen and while not ideal, this is still far better than the luck that this franchise has had in previous seasons with training-camp injuries. Hopefully everyone can return from their maladies and learn their respective positions so that they can move back towards the office. Make sure to follow @BangedUpBills for the latest injury news & @BuffRumblings on Twitter for the latest training camp notes as they happen.