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Kaiir Elam a full Bills practice participant on Thursday

A look at which way each of the players on this week’s injury list are trending—and it’s mostly good news for Bills fans

Indianapolis Colts v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills have a length injury list for what feels like the 100th time in an 11-week season, but this time it’s not all bad news—in fact, out of 14 players on the list, I would dare to put seven of them in the trending-up list.

Here’s today’s full list and a look ahead to what that could mean by game time Sunday when the Bills host the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field in Detroit.

Bills injuries trending up

  • FB Reggie Gilliam (illness)
  • OG Rodger Saffold (veteran rest, shoulder)
  • DT Tim Settle (illness)
  • LB Von Miller (veteran rest)
  • LB Matt Milano (illness)
  • CB Kaiir Elam (ankle)
  • S Jordan Poyer (elbow)

It would seem that the majority of the Bills’ injury list is due to what head coach Sean McDermott classified as a non-COVID related illness during his time with the media on Wednesday. Three of the affected players are already back to practice, which would mean we can assume that they will be ready to play on Sunday.

In other good news, safety Jordan Poyer and cornerback Kaiir Elam were active participants for the second straight day, with the latter moving from limited to full—indicating that the rookie corner should be ready to slide back into the rotational position that he and fellow-rookie cornerback Christian Benford have played opposite Dane Jackson all season.

While Poyer was limited for his second straight practice, I put him in this category because this is significant improvement for the safety who was a non-participant for two straight weeks after re-injuring his elbow in Week 8. Will he play Sunday? I don’t know, but after last week’s debacle in the backfield, here’s hoping that limited practice is enough to get him back on the field.

Bills injuries holding steady

  • QB Josh Allen (elbow)
  • WR Isaiah McKenzie (illness)
  • DT Jordan Phillips (illness)
  • S Cam Lewis (illness, forearm)

Allen is still limited in practice, but it doesn’t appear as if anything has changed since last week, when the quarterback didn’t even practice until Friday. While he isn’t throwing, it is also not a sign that he won’t be in uniform ready to go Sunday. The team started him against the Minnesota Vikings after he had had only one day of limited practice for the entire week. And he came out throwing. If he’s on your fantasy team, I wouldn’t bench him this week.

While Lewis is still listed with a forearm injury, that isn’t what’s keeping him from practicing (that’s been on here for weeks, and it hasn’t stopped him yet). The illness that has invaded the locker room has had both Lewis and Phillips out for two days, and while this is the first we’ve seen McKenzie listed, given that three of the other sick players are already back, it isn’t unreasonable to think that these three will be good to go in the next three days.

The bigger question is, will anyone else get sick between now and then?

Bills injuries trending down

  • WR Jake Kumerow (ankle)
  • DE Greg Rousseau (ankle)
  • LB Tremaine Edmunds (heel, groin)

Kumerow and Rousseau are no surprise here. Both are out with ankle injuries, and McDermott said earlier in the week that Kumerow would be week-to-week. Rousseau was injured in Week 9, so this only makes the third week (second game) that he would be working on recovery. Given the Bills’ history of working players back into the rotation after an ankle injury, he has one more week to go, while Kumerow, who missed time earlier in the season with an ankle injury, has a long way to go before we expect to see him again.

The bigger concern is Edmunds. The heel injury hasn’t seemed to really affect him, as it’s been on the list for awhile, but he has stayed active. This is the second week that he has been listed with a groin injury, however. The linebacker was listed last week, and like Allen, was a non-participant in the team’s practices until the final day of the week. However, Edmunds had to leave Sunday’s game in the second quarter as the injury became too much for him to play through. The change on the defensive side of the ball was evident in the second half, so here’s to hoping that the coaching staff has found a way to make some adjustments and plug some holes despite having a number of players missing this week due to the illness that has entered the building.

The Bills will be lining up against a familiar foe in the Cleveland Browns, and their list doesn’t look quite as long as that of the team from Buffalo.

Browns injuries trending up

  • TE David Njoku (ankle)
  • OG Wyatt Teller (not injury-related)
  • OG Ethan Pocic (ankle)
  • LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (knee)

It was the first time in three weeks that the Browns had Njoku back in practice. The tight end was injured in Cleveland’s Week 7 game against the Baltimore Ravens, and has missed two games plus had the benefit of a Week 9 bye to help in his recovery. It will be something to watch to see if Njoku’s ankle will be well enough for him to suit up Sunday—especially now that the game has officially been moved to Detroit, where they can play in a dome and escape the lake-effect snow that could have made the field at Highmark Stadium a risk for healthy ankles, not to mention those who were still requiring a lot of taping to stabilize.

Browns injuries trending down

  • OG Michael Dunn (back)
  • DT Perrion Winfrey (head)
  • S D’Anthony Bell (concussion)

Bell was injured on a punt return during Cleveland’s loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. After being evaluated in the sideline medical tent, the defensive back was ruled out with a concussion. It would appear that he hasn’t cleared the league’s protocols as of yet, and it is unlikely that he will be able to clear all of the steps in the protocol, which include non-contact drills and then full participation, before Sunday.

No word on what happed with Winfrey, who was fine on Wednesday but now shows up with a head injury and was unable to participate in today’s practice. It has not been listed as a concussion, so this could range from anything such as a laceration, to a stinger, to concussion symptoms. We will have to keep our eyes on tomorrow’s report for more information on the defensive lineman’s status.