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Bills vs Chiefs: Midweek injury trends

The Bills have a few players trending in the right direction this week

Dallas Cowboys v Buffalo Bills Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images

The condition of the Buffalo Bills’ roster has been one big question mark this week. However, when they take the field on Sunday night in an AFC Divisional Round playoff showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs, they just might have a few more starters available than originally expected.

Here’s a look at today’s injury report and what it could mean for Sunday.

Bills players not to worry about

  • QB Josh Allen (neck)
  • WR Stefon Diggs (foot/vet rest)
  • EDGE Leonard Floyd (vet rest)
  • S Micah Hyde (neck)
  • EDGE Von Miller (vet rest)

Veteran rest days are part of normal health management for players who have been in the league awhile and aren’t anything for us to take extra notice of. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs having a foot injury noted along with his regular rest day isn’t extra concerning at this point in a long season. While the injury wasn’t on the list yesterday, Wednesday was just a walkthrough. Diggs played 84% of Buffalo’s offensive snaps on Monday afternoon, and while he got bumped around and dinged up a bit, he never left the game with an injury designation. He’s not missing out on Sunday’s game.

Quarterback Josh Allen and safety Micah Hyde have been dealing with neck injuries for weeks after they each sustained stingers (although not in the same week). They’re likely still getting some treatment and being monitored by the Bills’ medical team, but it’s not anything that’s going to keep them off the field on Sunday night.

Bills players trending up

  • LB Tyrel Dodson (shoulder)
  • CB Rasul Douglas (knee)
  • CB Taron Johnson (concussion)

Both linebacker Tyrel Dodson and cornerback Rasul Douglas have gone on record saying they’ll play Sunday. But neither Dodson nor Douglas are doctors, athletic trainers, or any other member of Buffalo’s medical staff. However, getting into action — and while they were limited, neither of them were in non-contact jerseys — is a sign they may be right. There was plenty of footage after the open-to-the-media portion of today’s practice that showed both Dodson and Douglas moving well and looking like they could, in fact, be among Sunday’s active players.

Also among the limited practice participants was cornerback Taron Johnson. While he was in the red non-contact jersey due to still being in the NFL’s concussion protocol, it looks as if he’s trending in the right direction. It’s a strong possibility that he could, once again, clear protocol in a week’s turnaround and play Sunday.

Bills players holding steady

  • P Sam Martin (hamstring)

The Bills brought veteran punter Matt Haack back to Buffalo this week after Sam Martin injured himself chasing a blocked field goal on Monday. While Martin was able to finish the game, it makes sense that the team would want some insurance for their special teams unit. After not participating at all on Wednesday, Martin was listed as limited at the midweek point, but the Bills were making sure Haack got plenty of reps in too. This could be one of those decisions that’s made on Saturday when the Bills have to decide which, if any, players are being elevated from the practice squad.

Bills players trending down

  • CB Christian Benford (knee)
  • LB Terrel Bernard (ankle)
  • WR Gabe Davis (knee)
  • S Taylor Rapp (calf)
  • LB Baylon Spector (back)

While head coach Sean McDermott had offered up a little bit of hope yesterday when he said that he felt linebacker Terrel Bernard had been in meetings and that the injury wasn’t as bad as it had originally looked when he had to be carted from the field, today the second-year linebacker offered a little insight himself.

None of the players above have been able to practice this week, which means that the Bills will be, once again, testing the depth of their roster in likely turning to Kaiir Elam and Dane Jackson at cornerback, Damar Hamlin for extra help at safety, and A.J. Klein (who is just one week removed from hanging out on his couch) at linebacker.

The issue for Buffalo will come at wide receiver. Last week, the Bills called wide receiver Andy Isabella and Klein up from the practice squad to fill in for the injured Davis and (then) Dodson. Should they need Klein (which is expected with two linebackers on the DNP list), they’ll have to make a decision on whether to play with one less wide receiver or hope Sam Martin can handle the punting and holding duties on special teams.

The only other option, since teams can only elevate two players per week, would be to sign someone to the 53-man roster. If they do that, they will be forced to decide whether to move someone from the above list to the Injured Reserve (IR) — which will shut them down for the remainder of the postseason — or to release someone. There are definitely some decisions to be made after Friday’s practice.

As for the Bills’ guests this weekend, the Chiefs have a lengthy injury report as well. The difference, however, is that most of the players on their list are trending up rather than down.

Chiefs players trending down

  • NT Derrick Nnadi (triceps)
  • LB Cam Jones (chest)

The Chiefs’ nose tackle was injured early in last week’s win over the Miami Dolphins. After missing a second straight day with a triceps injury (on game day it was said to be an elbow), it isn’t looking like he’ll be active this weekend.

While Cam Jones isn’t on the Chiefs’ injury report, it’s a definite that the rookie linebacker who has been playing the weakside for Kansas City won’t be playing Sunday. Jones was placed on the team’s IR list after a chest injury sent him to the locker room early on Super Wild Card Weekend.

Chiefs players holding steady

  • WR Skyy Moore (knee)
  • WR Kadarius Toney (hip/ankle)
  • WR Justyn Ross (hamstring)
  • CB L’Jarius Sneed (calf)
  • OT Wanya Morris (concussion)

Of this group, it would seem that only Wanya Morris might leave Friday’s practice with an injury designation. The rookie offensive lineman, who offers the Chief some depth at tackle, is working through a concussion. While Morris was listed as a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, he was downgraded to limited on Thursday.

Chiefs players trending up

  • LB Nick Bolton (wrist)
  • DB Deon Bush (elbow)
  • TE Noah Gray (rib)
  • DE Charles Omenihu (hamstring)
  • WR Rashee Rice (hamstring)
  • OT Donovan Smith (neck)
  • WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (oblique)