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Bills enter Week 16 with short injury list

Mitch Morse in concussion protocol; Boogie Basham day to day with a calf injury

Carolina Panthers v Buffalo Bills Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

Head Coach Sean McDermott met with the media less than 24 hours after the Buffalo Bills secured a spot in the NFL playoffs by virtue of a 32-19 come-from-behind win over their division rival Miami Dolphins.

The Bills and their staff are right back to work as they have another Saturday game — this time on the road — with the Chicago Bears on Christmas Eve, and McDermott lost no time unpacking the team’s injuries as they head into practice.

McDermott confrimed that Mitch Morse, who left last night’s game early in the third quarter with a head injury, is in concussion protocol. In order to return to playing, the veteran center will have to work his way through all five phases of the league’s protocol:

  • Symptom Limited Activity
  • Aerobic Exercise
  • Football-Specific Exercise
  • Club-based Non-Contact Training Deals
  • Full Football Activity/Clearance

Once Morse reaches the fifth phase, he must be cleared by both the team physician and an Independent Neurological Consultant. None of this is new for Morse — this is the sixth concussion that has sidelined him over his eight-year career with the most recent having been in 2020.

If Morse is unable to play on Christmas Eve, the Bills will look to continue the line shuffle they’ve been practicing all season while battling through a long list of injuries. Greg Van Roten would likely be next man up at center with David Quessenberry stepping in at guard. This is the personnel shift that the Bills used in last night’s game. However, should Ryan Bates work his way back from the ankle injury that kept him sidelined this week, he has experience at both center and guard. Adding to the offensive line mix, the Bills have Ike Boettger whom they have to determine what to do with. Boettger tore his Achilles tendon last December and started this season on the team’s PUP list. Now the team has to decide where to place him as his 21-day practice window is expiring today.

McDermott also listed defefensive end Boogie Basham as being day to day with a calf injury he sustained at some point in the divisional win that was played in sub-freezing tempeartures.

The only other injuries McDermott addressed were the ankle injury that guard Ryan Bates has been dealing with over the past week and the lingering shoulder injury defensive tackle Jordan Phillips has been trying to work through since he was in the final minutes of Buffalo’s Week 13 win over the New England Patriots.

McDermott said that both Bates and Phillips are “improving” — the coach’s usual lingo for players on the team’s injury list this season.

There was no mention of the injury to A.J. Klein or the linebacker’s status moving forward. Klein, who rejoined the Bills in November after starting the seaon with the Baltimore Ravens and then spending a few weeks with the Chicago Bears, left last night’s game after the first play of the game. Injured on the opening kickoff, Klein was seen being helped off the field by trainers. Klein wasn’t on the field for any defensive snaps.