The Buffalo Bills are preparing to host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in the final game of the Divisional Round of this year’s NFL Playoffs, and they’re having to do it without a significant portion of the roster.
Wednesday injury report pic.twitter.com/0tp7RluqQv— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) January 17, 2024
The good news for the Bills is that nickel cornerback Taron Johnson was able to be a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice. Johnson left Monday’s game due to a concussion — his second of the season and fifth of his six-year career. In each of his previous stints in the NFL’s concussion protocol, Johnson was able to meet all of the requirements to return to play within just one week. A limited day of practice is a good sign that he’s on the path to another quick recovery — although a second concussion this soon after the last (Week 11) usually takes a little longer to recover from.
#Bills All-Pro CB Taron Johnson took 2 big hits Week 18 vs— Thigh Doctor (@ThighDoctor) January 17, 2024
His concussion in the Wild Card game showed alarming symptoms
Is it too much to rush back with 6 days rest from 2nd concussion of season? #billsmafia @BfloFanatics pic.twitter.com/v2R5oRWOoH
Other good news for the Bills is that both linebacker Tyrel Dodson and cornerback Rasul Douglas were able to participate in practice. Dodson injured his shoulder and Douglas injured his knee within 25 minutes of each other back in Week 18 when the Bills were looking to clinch their fourth straight AFC East championship. Neither were able to get healthy enough to play in the first round of the playoffs, but Douglas has promised that he’s ready to go this coming Sunday. Time will tell, but since he was a non-participant in all of last week’s practices, he’s definitely making progress in the right direction — which is good news for Buffalo who is down to just Kaiir Elam (freshly back from spending a significant portion of the season on Injured Reserve) and Dane Jackson.
The not good news for Buffalo is all the guys not practicing (excluding those on vet rest: Von Miller and Leonard Floyd). While that list is long, there are no surprises, no new injuries, no setbacks. In fact, head coach Sean McDermott even hinted that it was possible linebacker Terrel Bernard could possibly be ready to play by Sunday.
Sean McDermott on Terrel Bernard’s ankle injury:— Maddy Glab (@MadGlab) January 17, 2024
“I think there’s hope. He’s in meetings this morning. It looked, the way he was carted off, I’m thankful. It could have been way worse. So we’ll just take it one day here at a time.” #Bills
If Dodson, Bernard, and Baylon Spector, who’s dealing with a back injury after an attempted fumble recovery on Monday, weren’t able to play on Sunday, the Bills would be looking at rookie Dorian Williams, veteran A.J. Klein (who joined the team for the fourth time just last week), and Tyler Matakevich (who primarily plays special teams) to hold down the middle of the field against the Chiefs.
Buffalo signed veteran punter Matt Haack to the practice squad today in what could be seen as insurance in case Sam Martin can’t recover from the hamstring injury he suffered to his non-kicking leg.
The next three days are going to test the depth of Buffalo’s roster and just how savvy the Bills’ coaching staff is as they try to come up with a plan to defeat the defending Super Bowl champions with a rotation of several third- and fourth-string players, and a couple of guys who were sitting at home just a week ago.