The Buffalo Bills went searching for offensive line help, signing veteran G Greg Van Roten on Monday after the unexpected retirement of OT Will Ulmer last week. The well-traveled lineman has been all over the NFL and even CFL since 2012, amassing 77 career games with 50 starts. During this time, he has also sustained several injuries of varying severity detailed below.
Greg Van Roten Injury History
2012 Green Bay Packers
Appeared in seven games. Suffered a back injury, and was questionable for Week 16.
Appeared in three games. Suffered a foot injury in practice, and was placed on injured reserve for the season. Details of the injury were not available, but reports indicate that the injury was minor enough for him to return had he not been placed on IR.
2014 Packers/Seattle Seahawks
Appeared in zero games, and was cut in Seahawks training camp prior to the regular season.
2015 Toronto Argonauts
Appeared in 17 games, and injury details were not available. The CFL plays an 18-game schedule.
2016 Toronto Argonauts
Appeared in 15 games, and injury details were not available.
2017 Jacksonville Jaguars/Carolina Panthers
Appeared in ten games with the Panthers. Spent the offseason with the Jaguars before getting released. Suffered a shoulder injury and was questionable for Week 7, but did not miss any games.
Appeared in 16 games, with no publicly reported injuries.
Appeared in 11 games. Suffered a dislocated toe on his left foot, sending him to injured reserve and missing five games. Based on the wording in the article, Van Roten states that the injury was similar to turf toe, suggesting that he possibly had a plantar plate tear due to dislocation. He required surgery and was non-weight bearing for a while, further suggesting the plantar plate tear.
2020 New York Jets
Appeared in 13 games. Sustained an oblique injury late in training camp, but did not appear to miss any time for the regular-season opener. Later suffered a foot injury in Week 13, going to IR for Weeks 14-16 before being activated for Week 17.
Appeared in 17 games. No publicly reported injuries.
Bills Injury Impact
Another product of the Panthers pipeline, though his time overlapped briefly with Brandon Beane before he left. The Bills are also very familiar with Van Roten due to his time in the AFC East, starting 23 games over the past two seasons.
Looking at the history as a whole, there are some concerns with the multiple foot injuries along with the dislocated toe that required surgery. Those injuries cost him a total of 21 games over his career, along with a smattering of other smaller injuries including back and shoulder injuries.
Van Roten’s injury history is also likely incomplete due to his time in the CFL with information largely unavailable.
There are specifics regarding the toe, including reports of surgery, but unclear if the great toe or one of the smaller toes such as the second metatarsal joint were affected. If this was indeed a plantar plate repair, there is little concern for further injury once surgery has been completed.
The foot injuries do give pause, but the first one happened very early on in his career and was minor according to the reports. It’s also worth noting that he has passed multiple NFL and CFL team physicals, indicating the 2013 injury isn’t an issue anymore.
The 2020 foot injury lacks detail as well, though playing on a 2-14 Jets team wouldn’t have exactly been worth playing through injury. He has shown durability, playing a full season's schedule twice in his career, including last season.
He is a familiar name but will have a hard time factoring in on the roster unless injuries occur. He could be a fantastic practice squad addition after cut-down day, providing starting experience if needed in a pinch.
The signing doesn’t move the needle, but the Bills need to fill out their 90-man roster to maximize talent and health as they head into training camp in late July.