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Injury analysis: new Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs

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What does history show us about Diggs’s game-day availability?

Divisional Round - Minnesota Vikings v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

With the dust settling on the blockbuster trade the Buffalo Bills made to acquire wide receiver Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings, the time is right for a discussion about his injury history.

Diggs fell hard in the 2015 draft due to a fractured right fibula sustained during his sophomore year and suffering a lacerated kidney late in his junior year. Coming out, there were concerns regarding his durability, which is why he fell all the way to the fifth round that year. While those injuries caused teams to pause on Diggs, did he find more of the same bad luck once in the NFL? Let’s take a look...


2015

Once signed by the Vikings, Diggs was inactive for the team’s first three games before playing in Week 4. He appeared in 13 games, starting nine. Diggs managed to avoid serious injury, only suffering a hamstring strain midway through the season—something that didn’t cause him to miss any games.

2016

Stefon Diggs appeared in 13 games, starting 11. Suffered a variety of minor injuries throughout the season including a groin, knee, and hip injuries that cost him three total games—though these were all spread throughout the season.

2017

He appeared in and started 14 games. He missed two games due to a groin strain midway through the season. He was able to finish out the season. No indication or report seems to exist stating that he required surgery for a core muscle repair.

2018

Diggs appeared in 15 games, starting 14. He missed one game halfway through the season due to a rib injury but was out playing the next week, and he was able to finish the season.

2019

He appeared in and started 15 games, suffering only a hamstring strain at the end of preseason that didn’t cost him any games.


Looking back at Diggs’s known injury history, he had more issues in college than he did in the NFL. Collectively, he dealt with mostly soft tissue injuries. The biggest concerns are the groin and hamstring injuries as those are recurring, though in different seasons.

Due to the top-speed running required of an NFL wide receiver, an occasional hamstring strain isn’t concerning or unexpected. The groin injuries are also not unexpected due to receivers needing to plant their feet and twist maximally in order to run their routes. As seen in this article outlining core muscle repair, wide receivers have the second-highest rate of core muscle injuries, just behind defensive backs.

In addition, a lot of groin injuries are able to be played through and don’t always progress to a core muscle injury. In the case of Diggs, he suffered a strain and was able to recover with minimal time off. It’s simply part of the positional demands that caused Diggs to suffer his fair share of minor injuries.

With all the depth available on the roster at the position, this was an excellent signing from an injury perspective by the Bills. I expect Diggs to miss a game here or there (with spot starts from backups) but his history doesn’t suggest that he’ll deal with chronic issues or be out for extended periods of time.

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