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Bills roster looking healthy ahead of MNF game in Cincinnati

A mid-week look at how the team’s injury list is trending

Buffalo Bills v Chicago Bears Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals are scheduled to face off on Monday Night Football in what could be Week 17’s biggest matchup. The AFC East champion Bills are looking to secure the top seed in the AFC playoffs, while the Bengals are trying to be crowned the AFC North’s champion.

While the Bills are still without All-Pro safety Micah Hyde and edge rusher Von Miller, along with a couple of other key players in receiver Jamison Crowder and cornerback Christian Benford, the rest of the team looks like they’re getting healthy at just the right time.

Here’s a look at the Week 17 mid-week injury report, and what it might mean for game day.

Bills injuries trending up

  • QB Josh Allen (elbow)
  • WR Stefon Diggs (illness)
  • C Mitch Morse (concussion)
  • DB Cam Lewis (forearm)

Diggs missed the first practice of the week with an illness — one that he insisted was not food-related. While Twitter joked that Diggs should stop cooking for himself, the wide receiver seems to have rebounded, and was back at practice running, receiving, and even dancing.

Morse spent all of Week 16 in concussion protocol, which was to be expected, as the center experienced the sixth concussion of his career in Buffalo’s Week 15 win over the Miami Dolphins. A short week last week, and then a long weekend, seems to have given the first time Pro Bowler enough rest to recover. Yesterday, Morse met with media and said that having been through the league’s protocol in the past gave him an advantage of knowing all of the steps and what he needed to do to recover, but that he was also very honest with staff about how he was feeling. The result is that the Buffalo offensive line is getting their center back for Monday Night Football.

Allen and Lewis continue to show up on the Bills’ weekly injury reports, and we assume that this will continue into the offseason. Both players seem to be continuing to receive treatment on their ailments. However, the injuries, nor their treatments, are enough to keep either of them on the sidelines. No worries about their availability for Monday.

Bills injuries holding steady

  • TE Dawson Knox (hip)
  • DE Boogie Basham (calf)
  • DT Jordan Phillips (shoulder)
  • LB Matt Milano (knee)
  • S Jordan Poyer (knee)

Poyer hasn’t practiced this week, but that isn’t overly concerning, as the veteran safety used the same rest method last week and was ready to go by game time. Poyer injured his knee at some point during the Week 15 game played at Highmark Stadium. With two days of no practice in last week’s short week, Poyer said he didn’t think it would keep him out of the game, and he was right. So, unless we see another DNP tomorrow, there’s no reason to go into panic mode. It’s likely that the veteran safety, who earned his first Pro Bowl nod this year, will have a limited practice tomorrow and then be ready to go full-steam ahead on Monday night.

Milano has had two weeks of limited practice on a knee that has been bothering him since the Bills beat the New England Patriots on December 1. The linebacker spent the next two weeks sitting out practice at the beginning of the week, before moving to limited and then active on game day. Last week, we saw Milano start the week limited before being a full participant in the week’s final practice. We can assume that the team is taking the same approach again this week, and it’s easy to expect to see No. 58 on the field Monday.

Phillips and Knox both had to leave the frozen field in Chicago with injuries — Knox at the very beginning of the game, and Phillips at the end. Knox went to the medical tent but returned to the game, later saying that he had landed hard on his hip. Phillips, again, was trying for a tackle in the backfield — which is how he injured his shoulder in the first place — in the third quarter, when he came up holding his arm and left the game. While there are no guarantees in football, there is a strong likelihood that these guys will be ready to go by Monday.

Basham missed the Bills’ division-clinching win over the Bears on Christmas Eve, as the defensive end was nursing a calf injury. While it’s still not a guarantee that the second-year pass rusher will be active in Cincinnati, the fact that he’s been limited in this week’s practice is a good sign that he’s headed in the right direction.

Bills injuries trending down

  • RB Taiwan Jones (knee)

Jones is listed on the team’s roster as a running back, but the 12-year veteran sees action primarily on special teams. It isn’t clear when he injured his knee, but head coach Sean McDermott added him to the team’s injury list on Thursday, and he hasn’t practiced since. It’s possible that he won’t be on the active game day roster this week.

On the Bengals’ side of the field, the injury list is pretty short, although one key player has been moved to Cincinnati’s Injured Reserve list as of just a few hours ago.

Starting offensive tackle La’el Collins has been placed on IR after injuring his knee in the Bengals’ 22-18 victory over the Patriots last week. The Bengals will look to replace the eighth-year veteran with third-year lineman Hakeem Adeniji.

Bengals injuries holding steady

  • DE Sam Hubbard (calf)

The other key injury for the Bengals is defensive end Sam Hubbard, who continues to rehab a calf injury he suffered two weeks ago when Cincinnati outlasted Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to grab a 34-23 win on the road. Hubbard has been limited this week in practice (although that’s not bad news for the Bengals) and didn’t play last week, but Trey Hendrickson, who lines up on the opposite end of the line from Hubbard, was back. At one time, it was feared that both of the Bengals’ starting defensive ends might not be available for this ultra-important Monday Night Football game. Now, they might have them both back.

Bengals injuries trending up

  • WR Trent Taylor (hamstring)
  • TE Hayden Hurst (calf)
  • DT D.J. Reader (NIR—personal)
  • CB Jalen Davis (thumb)

The first three names on this list have all been full participants in practices all week, and that’s all good news for the Bengals. Davis has missed the past two weeks with his injury, while Hurst hasn’t played since Cincinnati beat the Kansas City Chiefs on December 4. As for Taylor, he’s been dealing with a hamstring injury for a few weeks, but was on the team’s game-day roster each of the past two weeks.