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Injury analysis: Buffalo Bills QB Mitchell Trubisky

Will Trubisky’s previous shoulder injuries be a liability?

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Looking to leave no stone unturned, the Buffalo Bills addressed the backup quarterback position with the signing of Mitchell Trubisky on Thursday. The former number-two overall pick in the 2017 draft, he looks to rehab his career prospects on a 1-year, $2.5 million deal and learn from a dynamic offensive coordinator in Brian Daboll. Trubisky does come to Western New York with several shoulder injuries that are worth diving into to make sure he can take the reins if Josh Allen is out for an extended amount of time. Below are Trubisky’s publicly known injuries.

Injury History

2017 Bears

Appeared in 16 games, did not suffer any publicly known injuries.

2018 Bears

Right shoulder A/C joint sprain, Week 11, throwing shoulder missed two games.

2019 Bears

Left shoulder labrum tear, Week 4, non-throwing shoulder, missed one game. Trubisky ultimately required offseason shoulder surgery to repair the damage.

2020 Bears

Possible right shoulder A/C joint sprain, Week 8, missed two games. However, Adam Schefter reported that he injured his rotator cuff and labrum, similar to 2018, though reports above state that he injured the A/C joint. Trubisky also suffered a hip pointer injury in Week 7 but likely was able to heal due to the shoulder injury the following week.

Bills impact

Trubisky comes to the Bills with considerable talent and untapped potential following his up-and-down tenure with the Chicago Bears. Looking at his known injury history as a whole, the repeated shoulder injuries are notable, but not necessarily deal breakers. It isn’t clear exactly if he had two A/C joint sprains with a labrum tear or two labrum tears with an A/C joint sprain. Either way, he has had surgeries to correct the known labrum injury and those didn’t impact his ability to earn a second contract.

The A/C joint sprains are certainly concerning as this is his throwing shoulder. He likely required a shot for pain prior to the game and at times wore a shoulder harness similar to what Josh Allen wore last year. It’s also important to note that Trubisky ended up playing some of his best football of 2020 following the shoulder injury, but the Bears only managed a .500 record with him under center. This was good enough for the playoffs but at least indicated that his shoulder was still serviceable.

The left labrum tear did require surgery to repair the damage but, fortunately, this was to his non-throwing shoulder—which minimized the time missed. There is a chance he could re-tear the labrum, but he is two years out from the original injury, and the rates to re-tear top out at 26 percent.

Also noting the hip injury, this ended up being a hip pointer injury, which is a blow to the iliac crest of the hip. This is more of a pain issue with some functional limitations, but sitting out during the shoulder injury around the same time likely allowed him to rest the hip properly. It’s also important to note that hip pointers are short-term injuries and are not a chronic issue.

Overall, even if Trubisky were coming in to compete for the starting position, I’d have little concern for his ability to play. It is important to note that more serious quarterback injuries occur in the pocket as opposed to running, Trubisky was on the move during each shoulder injury. Considering the past hits to the shoulders and how he’s injured them, there is some slight concern regarding his availability if he is forced into the starting role should Josh Allen go down.