The Buffalo Bills took care of business on Sunday — winning their fourth straight AFC East title — but that business also took a toll on their roster with five players suffering injuries that cost them playing time and another two that will warrant watching over the next week.
On Monday, head coach Sean McDermott told members of the media that he didn’t have an update on any of the injuries but hoped to know more as the Bills moved into scheduled practices as they prepare to host the Pittsburgh Steelers in this coming Sunday’s Super Wild Card Weekend playoff game.
Sean McDermott says he doesn’t have an injury update on players who left yesterday’s game because he’s still going through things with the athletic training staff and will know more on Wednesday #Bills— Maddy Glab (@MadGlab) January 8, 2024
Wide receiver Gabe Davis was injured on a play in the end zone after he appeared to trip and fall, resulting in a missed connection with quarterback Josh Allen. The next time the Bills were on offense, Davis could be seen limping (and then hopping) at the end of his route. Davis was evaluated on the sidelines and then headed to the locker room before half time. When the Bills came back out on the field, Davis was no longer in uniform, having been ruled out of the game with a knee injury.
#Bills Gabe Davis L knee injury— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) January 8, 2024
Better view shows Davis tripping/landing on L anterolateral portion of knee.
Had concern for worse inj at diff angle.
Next play shows him hopping in discomfort running up field before leaving.
More likely bad contusion causing pain/swelling. pic.twitter.com/nJirwFxM5o
Now it’s been reported that the fourth-year wide receiver suffered a PCL injury. A PCL injury, also commonly called a hyper-extended knee, can result in a partial or complete stretching (or in more serious cases tearing) of the posterior cruciate ligament. The early reports are that Davis’ injury is a sprain and is not considered major. However, details about the actual extent — and his availability for this weekend’s game — aren’t known yet.
Just minutes before Davis’ trip to see the trainers, they had to evaluate linebacker Tyrel Dodson. Dodson, who has taken over for Matt Milano after he broke his tibia in Week 5, injured a shoulder and, after exiting the medical tent, could be seen walking to the locker room with a towel over his head. Like Davis, when the second half of the game started, Dodson was ruled out for the remainder of the evening.
Unlike Davis, we have received no further information about an actual diagnosis. There is, of course, speculation that it could be a sprain based on footage from the last few plays that Dodson was involved in.
#Bills Tyrel Dodson L shoulder inj.— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) January 8, 2024
1) Dives in late hit & flips over.
2) Just out of the frame at top takes a L shoulder shot from Armstead.
3) Takes another shot & rolls out shoulder.
2 more plays, no contact, then leaves.
Best bet is AC joint sprain based on current info. pic.twitter.com/1Gd1xdouGk
On offense, the Bills also lost running back Ty Johnson — this time on a play that ended the first half. Johnson, who joined the Bills via the practice squad and then was elevated to the 53-man roster in October, caught a pass from Josh Allen just short of the goal line and then took a hit to the head as he tried to turn and get into the end zone. Johnson was ruled out with a concussion.
Whether he can return to play this week will depend on how he progresses through the league’s concussion protocol. The Bills do have Leonard Fournette on the practice squad, and with the no limit on the number of times a player can be elevated, it’s likely that he’d join James Cook and Latavius Murray if Johnson is unable to play Sunday.
#Bills Ty Johnson concussion— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) January 8, 2024
Johnson attempts to score on last play of 1st half, Jerome Baker hits him helmet to helmet to stop him.
Johnson later gets assessed for a head injury before getting ruled out with a concussion.
This is his 2nd career concussion. pic.twitter.com/NxcUV2cH1j
The fourth Bill unable to complete Sunday’s contest was cornerback Rasul Douglas. Douglas, who joined the Bills at the 2023 trade deadline and quickly established himself as a significant asset (4 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 sack), was also injured before halftime. Despite never being ruled out, Douglas didn’t return to the game after halftime. However, he said that fellow cornerback Dane Jackson told him to relax, he would get the job done — which he did, recording three solo tackles and a pass defensed.
Rasul Douglas said he thought he could have tried to continue playing.— Thad Brown (@thadbrown7) January 8, 2024
But Dane Jackson convinced him it wasn't necessary.
"He looked me in my eye and said 'Rasul, if you're not 100, I promise you I got you."#Bills pic.twitter.com/WJOJt1tJF0
#Bills Rasul Douglas L knee injury— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) January 8, 2024
Douglas looks to receive friendly fire from Micah Hyde’s leg whipping into the top/front of his left knee.
Was able to walk off & never ruled out.
Deff pain, should be limited this week, but appears to avoided serious injury. pic.twitter.com/gdoknu06Kv
Offensive tackle Dion Dawkins also suffered a serious injury, but did return for the end of the game. Late in the second half, Dawkins suffered a laceration to his left index finger that forced him to the locker room for stitches. While the broadcast showed a significant amount of blood on the replay, Dawkins himself said that he had his finger “caught on something” before giving some more gruesome details in true Dawkins’ style.
Dion Dawkins on his left ring finger: "Finger almost fell off, but that's the beauty of this game. We have guys that care and I don't wanna let my guys down. So stitch it, wrap it, get my behind back out there...That's what they pay me to do and that's what I'm gonna keep doing"— Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) January 8, 2024
Since Dawkins was able to return for the end of the game, it would be reasonable to assume that he will be able to play on Sunday, but the extent of his injury and any limitations for practice while it heals remain to be seen.
In addition to the more significant injuries that caused the Bills to dig into the depth of their roster, wide receiver Khalil Shakir and safety Taylor Rapp were both involved in plays that had them shaken up for a few minutes.
Rapp’s was on the game-sealing interception. Rapp appeared to land on the football and struggled to stay on his feet as the team celebrated. However, after the game the safety, who’s in his first season in Buffalo, seemed fine. Incidentally, it was a similar play that caused defensive end A.J. Epenesa to miss two games with a ribs injury in December — the difference, however, is that Epenesa had players land on top of him, so there’s reason to hope that Rapp won’t suffer the same fate.
#Bills Taylor Rapp chest/ribs injury.— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) January 9, 2024
Rapp secures the game winning INT & lands on the ball.
Looked like more wind knocked out of him but always possible for rib involvement landing on the ball.
He did come up hobbled on one leg before going down again. Not sure what that was. pic.twitter.com/Wth327rFSf
As for Shakir, he didn’t miss any playing time, but did get up slowly on a play where he took a hit to his leg and did get attention from the Bills’ medical staff. While it may be incidental, we won’t know if the second-year wide receiver is going to be slowed down in practice this week yet or not.
#Bills Khalil Shakir L thigh— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) January 8, 2024
I note this because he was slow to get up & was speaking to trainers after the play.
Didn’t miss anytime, but takes a hard shot.
Something to note if he’s on the injury report this week. pic.twitter.com/GBd6sHageX
Wednesday will be the first day we receive an official injury report as the Buffalo Bills prepare for Sunday’s playoff game with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s to hoping that the report will be relatively short with plenty of full participants.