When Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox threw a pass on a trick play Monday night, he did so with a broken bone in his hand. He broke the bone earlier in the quarter, falling to the ground while blocking. Knox and the Buffalo Bills made a quick decision about the injury, and he went under the knife on Tuesday, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
According to NFL Network reporter Mike Garafalo, it should be “a few weeks” before Knox is ready to play again. As a comparison, (current B.C. Lions receiver) Lucky Whitehead has a recovery timeline of 2-4 weeks for his recent hand surgery.
The Bills are now in their bye week, which is great timing for Knox’s recovery. They’re also about to hit a stretch of very winnable games, Knox or no Knox. First is the 1-5 Miami Dolphins, then the 1-5 Jacksonville Jaguars, then the 1-4 New York Jets. Buffalo could drop Knox onto IR, rest him for four full weeks, and activate him ahead of the game against the Indianapolis Colts, with relatively low risk to their win-loss record.
With Knox out, the Bills have a tactical decision to make in the meantime. Do they trust either Reggie Gilliam or Tommy Sweeney to be their full-time tight end? The team has played 71 percent of snaps in either 11 personnel (3 WR, 1 RB, 1 TE) or 12 personnel (2 WR, 1 RB, 2 TE). The team could also choose to emphasize their top four wide receivers. In the season opener, the Bills played with four receivers and no tight end on 29 percent of plays, the highest in the league by far. Maybe they switch back to that emphasis in the interim.