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Matt Milano, Jordan Phillips miss second straight day of practice

Buffalo may have several big holes to fill in their starting lineup again when they play the Jets this weekend

Buffalo Bills v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

When the Buffalo Bills host the New York Jets on Sunday, they know they will be without Von Miller, Micah Hyde, Jake Kumerow, Christian Benford, and Jamison Crowder — all of whom are on injured reserve. But the real question is who else will be sitting out the second of a must-win, three-game divisional stretch on the schedule.

For Buffalo, who in August was touted as possibly having the most complete roster in the NFL, the training room has seemed to have a revolving door this season. Ankle injuries have kept a number of the Bills players sidelined for multiple weeks at a time; elbow injuries have plagued both the offense and defense; and then there’s the dreaded spontaneous knee and hamstring injuries that keep popping up, just as it looks like things might be getting better.

Here’s a look at the mid-week injury report, and what it might mean when the Bills line up on Sunday afternoon.

Bills injuries trending up

  • QB Josh Allen (elbow)
  • C Mitch Morse (elbow/vet rest)
  • OG Rodger Saffold (knee/vet rest)
  • S Jordan Poyer (Vet Rest)
  • S Cam Lewis (forearm)

For the second week in a row, Allen has been a full participant in all of the week’s practices. Allen injured his elbow in the final series of Buffalo’s loss to the Jets the first time they faced them back in Week 9, but while he was either a DNP or limited in practices for the next three weeks, he never missed any game time. The fact that he stays on the list might indicate that he still has some pain and/or swelling in the joint, but it isn’t going to keep him off the field.

Morse has been dealing with the elbow injury since the first offensive drive of the 2022 season back in September. He did not play in Week 12 in Detroit, but returned to action last week against New England. For Saffold and Poyer, while the former does have a knee injury listed, both are really just straight up veteran rest days, with each of them getting one day off and being a full participant the other day. There is no reason at all to be concerned about their availability for Week 14.

Lewis has continued to show up with a forearm injury week after week, but he has yet to even be limited in practice because of it. He also isn’t likely to see the field as long as Poyer is healthy and playing, and while Benford is still out, the Bills finally have the cornerback position covered since the return of Tre’Davious White and the promotion of Xavier Rhodes. Lewis is most likely only a special teams factor this week.

Bills injuries holding steady

  • OT Dion Dawkins (ankle)
  • OT David Quessenberry (ankle)

While both Dawkins and Quessenberry (Dawkins’ backup) have ankle injuries, they have been limited both days in practice, rather than non-participants. Dawkins was injured on Thanksgiving Day, and this week said that he had a high ankle sprain and was originally told it would be a three-week recovery. Comparing Dawkins to other ankle injuries we’ve seen this season, he is progressing more along the lines of Morse, who returned after just two weeks, than defensive end Greg Rousseau, who was out for the full three.

Quessenberry appeared to injure his ankle in the first drive of Buffalo’s win over the New England Patriots last Thursday night. The fifth-year lineman gutted it out and finished the game, despite appearing to be in pain and struggling to keep pace at times.

The extra few days of the mini-bye might have been enough to aid getting one of these guys back in the lineup. But honestly, at this point, it’s anyone’s guess. At least they are practicing.

Bills injuries trending down

  • FB Reggie Gilliam (ankle)
  • DT Jordan Phillips (shoulder)
  • LB Matt Milano (knee)

When, exactly, Milano’s injury occurred wasn’t apparent, but when head coach Sean McDermott met with the media on Wednesday, he said that the linebacker was dealing with a “leg/knee issue” and wouldn’t practice. Now, Milano has missed a second day of practice. The last time the Bills faced the Jets, Milano was inactive with an oblique injury, and the Bills defense gave up 174 yards on the ground, letting the Jets eat up 32:44 of game time. While it is possible that Milano could practice tomorrow and make a bid for an active spot on Sunday, it’s not looking good for the sixth-year pro right now.

Phillips injured his shoulder as he made a diving attempt to sack quarterback Mac Jones in garbage time in New England. Phillips was sliding across the backfield before tucking his arm underneath himself and needing medical attention. After the game, it was reported that the defensive tackle had his right arm in a sling. No word has been given as to what damage was done to his shoulder, but it’s unlikely — with only one day of practice left — that we will see Phillips in uniform Sunday.

Gilliam is absent again with one of those aforementioned ankle injuries. With no practice at all this week, it’s not looking good for the fullback. It should also be noted that Buffalo does not have a second fullback listed on their active roster or on their practice squad.

As for the Jets, their injury list is riddled with illness — something Buffalo dealt with back in Week 11. Unlike the Bills, though, the affected Jets aren’t jumping back into the swing of things right away.

Jets players dealing with illness

  • WR Corey Davis
  • OT George Fant
  • DE Michael Clemons
  • CB D.J. Reed

Of the four players listed as ill, only Clemons hasn’t practiced at all yet this week. However, when the other three returned to practice today, they were limited in how much they were able — or allowed, whichever the case may be — to do.

In addition to not feeling well, Fant has been dealing with a knee injury all season. The injury had him exit the Jets’ Week 3 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals early, and then not return to play until last week when the Jets lost to the Minnesota Vikings.

It’s reasonable to think that at least Davis and Reed would be ready to play by Sunday. How much of the limited practice is due to illness, and how much is due to his knee, could be the deciding factor when it comes to whether or not to play or sit Fant.

Jets injuries holding steady

  • OT Duane Brown (shoulder)
  • S Lamarcus Joyner (hip)
  • S Ashtyn Davis (hamstring)

No Jets player on the active roster has been a non-participant in practice this week due to injury (illnesses excluded). However, the trio above has been limited in practice all week. Brown missed the first four games of the season, as the Jets had put him on IR with a shoulder injury. The left tackle has been able to start every game since his return, however, so this would appear similar to Morse’s elbow injury for Buffalo — still noting it in case something changes, but he’s good to go for now.

More concerning for New York would be that they have two safeties hobbled. Not the best scenario for a team trying to keep pace with an on-a-mission-to-avenge-our-loss duo of Stefon Diggs and Josh Allen.

Davis is dealing with a hamstring injury that is keeping him limited both in practice and in game day snap-counts. Joyner has been active on the field, but limited in practice this week by a hip injury. Jets head coach Robert Saleh said on Wednesday that the team was treating Joyner’s limited practice status as more of a vet-rest type of thing. But then he was limited for a second day in a row. While it doesn’t mean he won’t be good to go on Sunday — after all, he is in his ninth year in the NFL and knows how to play his position — it is definitely something to keep an eye on.