The Buffalo Bills will host the Dallas Cowboys Sunday afternoon in Orchard Park, NY as the home team attempts to win a second straight game — something they haven’t been able to do since October 1. Here’s a quick look at how both teams are doing on the injury front as they prepare for Week 15.
Thursday injury report pic.twitter.com/8EpUicqDbn— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) December 14, 2023
Bills players trending up
- QB Josh Allen (right shoulder)
- DE Leonard Floyd (wrist)
- TE Dawson Knox (wrist)
All three of the above mentioned players, plus edge rusher Von Miller who is only on the team’s list because he had a schedule veteran rest day yesterday, are not in jeopardy of missing any playing time. they have been full participants as they prepare for this week’s game despite still getting some attention and pain/injury management from Buffalo’s training staff.
Bills players holding steady
- CB Taron Johnson (ankle)
- TE Dalton Kincaid (thumb/shoulder)
- CB Kaiir Elam (ankle)
- WR Justin Shorter (hamstring)
Johnson and Kincaid came out of the Bills’ Week 14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs a little banged up. While both players had been limited in practice, and Kincaid was in a non-contact jersey today, it’s a safe guess that they’ll ready by Sunday’s 4:25pm kickoff.
Kincaid said that his thumb injury is something that’s lingering but that it’s not anything serious, while his shoulder is feeling better each day.
Kincaid is also dealing with a thumb injury: “It lingers a little bit but nothing serious.” https://t.co/bXQ6bNowa9— alex brasky (@alexbrasky) December 14, 2023
As for Johnson, the ankle injury doesn’t seem to be slowing the sixth-year nickel cornerback down. While he’s listed as limited for today’s practice, he was not in a red jersey — meaning that the team isn’t worried about contact. Most likely his limitations were in an effort to keep any swelling to a minimum so that he can play on Sunday. Johnson hasn’t missed a start this season — including in weeks when he started out in concussion protocol.
As for Elam and Shorter, they were both full participants in Thursday’s mid-week practice, but neither have yet to come of off the team’s Injured Reserve (IR) list. It’s unlikely that Buffalo activates Shorter this week as they just opened his practice window yesterday, leaving them another 20 days to make a decision. Elam is another story. He is ten-days into his 21-day practice window. The question will be two-fold as to whether they bring him back this week: first, how strong is the ankle that he injured in preseason and then tried, unsuccessfully, to play through early this season, and, second, does Buffalo have enough defensive backs without him. With Christian Benford, Rasul Douglas, Dane Jackson, and Cam Lewis healthy, it’s unlikely that Elam would be active this week even if he were to be back on the roster. So, unless something changes with one of the guys listed below, he will probably stay right where he is for at least one more week.
Bills injuries trending down
- DE A.J. Epenesa (rib)
- S Micah Hyde (neck stinger)
Earlier this week, head coach Sean McDermott said that both Epenesa and Hyde, who were injured in Kansas City on Sunday, would be considered “week to week” with their injuries. Yesterday, McDermott was asked if IR was being considered for either — especially Hyde who’s dealing with his third stinger of the season — but, in true McDermott fashion, he only commented that “we’ll see”. Both Epenesa and Hyde were at practice — the former on the field with his position offering encouragement, while the latter worked to the side with training staff.
EDGE A.J. Epenesa (ribs) and S Micah Hyde (stinger) were at #Bills practice today but did not participate. Hyde worked off to the side with athletic trainers, while Epenesa spent some time on the field with the DL unit. pic.twitter.com/nLDljxB8w2— alex brasky (@alexbrasky) December 14, 2023
While it’s still possible that either, or both, could be available by game time — Hyde has dealt with this injury already this season and both times did take things slow in practice, only missing one game in total so far this season — it’ll definitely have to be one of those “we’ll see” scenarios as we wait for game-day designations tomorrow and/or Sunday.
Bills players on Injured Reserve
In addition to Elam and Shorter, who technically are still on IR but have begun working with the team, Buffalo is still missing defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, linebacker Matt Milano, and cornerback Tre’Davious White. McDermott has said that there is an outside chance that Jones (pectoral repair surgery) could return by the end of the season, but has made no mention of Milano (leg) or White (Achilles). Running back Damien Harris is still on IR after a very scary neck injury earlier this season and offensive lineman Tommy Doyle is ineligible to return before next season as a torn ACL in preseason sent him to IR before the league season began.
As for Buffalo’s opponent on Sunday, they also have a lengthy list of players working through injuries — something that’s typical of a long season.
The Dallas Cowboys’ injury report for Thursday. pic.twitter.com/klmO91iUqh— Ralph Vacchiano (@RalphVacchiano) December 14, 2023
Cowboys players trending down
- DT Johnathan Hankins (knee/ankle)
- S Malik Hooker (ankle)
Hankins was injured in the third quarter of Dallas’ loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and was carted from the field. While he did return to the sidelines, he didn’t return to play. Hooker was also injured on Sunday, and while Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy had stated that he thought the safety would be limited in Thursday’s practice, the official report has him once again not practicing. It doesn’t look too promising that either will be ready for Sunday’s game in Buffalo.
Cowboys players holding steady
- WR Brandin Cooks (illness)
- RB Stephon Gilmore (illness)
- WR Jalen Tolbert (illness)
- T Tyron Smith (rest)
- RB Rico Dowdle (ankle)
- G Zack Martin (rest)
- DE Viliami Fehoko Jr. (knee)
- OT Matt Waletzko (shoulder)
An illness is spreading through the Cowboys’ locker room. While Micah Parsons has recovered and returned to practice, the unidentified illness seems to have claimed three more victims. Just how long it takes them to recover remains to be seen, but it’s likely that they should be in Sunday’s game.
Normally, I don’t include rest days in these lists, but the fact that Smith and Martin are not practicing for multiple days — or are practicing limited — has me listing them here. It could be that Dallas is just giving some veterans extra rest.
While Fehoko and Waletzko were full participants in both practices so far this week, like Elam and Shorter for Buffalo, they are technically not on the Dallas roster as of yet. The pair are still on IR, and the Cowboys will have to add them to their 53-man roster by Sunday if they want to utilize them against Buffalo.
Cowboys players trending up
- LB Micah Parsons (illness)
As mentioned above, Parsons seems to have recovered from the illness spreading through Dallas’ locker room and the veteran linebacker was a full participant in Thursday’s practice.
Cowboys players on Injured Reserve
Like Buffalo, Dallas has a number of names on their IR list, besides Fehoko and Waletzko. The biggest of those names is cornerback Trevon Diggs, who suffered a torn ACL during a practice back in September. Diggs is not expected to be back until next season.