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Star Lotulelei the only non-participant on first Buffalo Bills injury report of 2021

The team is looking pretty healthy.

It’s Wednesday of a Buffalo Bills game week, and that means the first official injury report of the season is available. The Bills roster has been steadily improving in health since suffering a number of minor injuries in the preseason, and as of today, only five players appeared on Buffalo’s injury report.

The main player of concern is Star Lotulelei (calf). Lotulelei did not practice Wednesday, the only non-participant on the roster. Taron Johnson (hand) was a limited participant, wearing a non-contact jersey. Last week, Johnson practiced with his right hand in a club cast, but this week he’s been wearing more of a soft cast or athletic wrapping around his hand and fingers. Emmanuel Sanders (foot) was also limited in practice. The receiver suffered a foot injury in training camp, which has caused him to be in and out of practice. It’s not clear whether this is the same injury or a different foot ailment.

Receiver/returner Isaiah McKenzie (shoulder) and defensive tackle Harrison Phillips (knee) were full participants in practice.

Since it’s been a while, here’s a refresher on the way Buffalo treats their injury reports:

  • The team is very open about listing players with even minor injuries. The team frequently opens up with a heavy injury list on a Wednesday, but many of the listed players aren’t even questionable to play at the end of the week.
  • The team puts major emphasis on practice reps to keep a player available for Sunday. If a person hasn’t practiced in full by Friday, he’s probably not playing in the game. They make rare exceptions for key veterans.
  • A DNP is not a dealbreaker for a player’s game week. Players who miss a Wednesday or even Thursday practice are still capable of ramping up and playing in the game. But it’s a flag for an injury that may be more than just a bruising.
  • Sean McDermott’s preferred terms for injuries are worth remembering - “day-to-day” is a player who suffered an injury, but has a good chance to play in the same week if nothing takes a downturn. “Week-to-week” means the player will be missing time, and possibly landing on injured reserve, before their injury progresses enough that they can return to action.

All in all, Lotulelei is the only player to be worried about for the moment. If he can’t play, the team has Phillips, Ed Oliver, Justin Zimmer, and Vernon Butler on the roster - more or less the same group who played last season. They could also promote Brandin Bryant from the practice squad, if they wanted another player to deal with Pittsburgh’s running game.