The Buffalo Bills held meetings and a walkthrough practice on Wednesday. As of right now, they are scheduled to play the New England Patriots at 1:00 p.m. EST on Sunday in the NFL’s final week of the 2022 season. We all know that may change as the team works through what they experienced on Monday night, when teammate Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.
After the team completed their meetings and conducted their walkthrough practice, they published an injury list. It’s important to understand while analyzing today’s list that practice was far from normal, and the list is presumably what the players would have been should the team have held a full practice.
Wednesday injury report pic.twitter.com/AlNZubWD4A— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) January 4, 2023
The good news for the Bills is that they only listed only one player as limited: cornerback Taron Johnson.
Johnson left Monday night’s suspended game during the Cincinnati Bengals’ opening drive. Less than a minute into the game, Johnson took a tough hit and was unable to get up off the turf for some time. After being evaluated by medical staff, both in the medical tent and the locker room, the Bills’ nickel corner was listed with a head injury.
Today we see that Johnson is listed with a concussion and, presumably, is working through the league’s five-phase concussion protocol. While we don’t know where he is in the protocol, we can make the argument that he may be in either step three or four, as he was listed as limited in today’s practice, with the former being more likely.
Phase three of the NFL’s concussion protocol calls for a player to participate in football-specific exercise that may mimic sport-specific activities. The player may practice with the team for 30 minutes or less.
Phase four of the league’s protocol says that, while continuing cardiovascular and strength training along with sport-specific activities, a player can participate in non-contact football activities such as throwing, catching, running, and other position-specific activities.
Before Johnson could be cleared to play on Sunday, should the game continue as scheduled, he would need to be cleared by the team’s physician and an Independent Neurological Consultant assigned to the team. Both parties would need to clear him for full contact activities.
While we don’t know for sure where Johnson is in the protocol, and we don’t know how fast he will progress, there is a chance he could be ready to play by Sunday.
All other players on the team’s injury list were listed as full participants, including Jordan Poyer, who has spent much of the last two weeks as a DNP with a couple of limited practices, and Matt Milano, who has also been getting a lot of rest the last two weeks. It won’t be overly concerning if the pair gets a rest day sometime this week, however.
A new injury to keep an eye on as this week progresses is Josh Allen’s ankle injury. Allen has been on the injury list since injuring his elbow in Buffalo’s Week 9 loss to the New York Jets. Now, however, Allen has an injury to deal with that could affect his elusiveness, as well.
While he wasn’t listed with an injury during the game, it looked as though Allen came up limping after an incomplete pass on a 3rd & 3 near the goal line. Cincinnati defensive end Trey Hendrickson could be seen rolling into Allen’s legs at the end of what would be Buffalo’s final offensive play of the night. Listed as a full participant, it’s likely that Allen will be working through some soreness this week.