Bills ‘still evaluating’ Josh Allen elbow injury, status for next game

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – The worst possible thing that could happen to the Buffalo Bills – and really, there isn’t a close second – is any injury to quarterback Josh Allen that would force him to miss a game, or, gasp, multiple games.

And so the Bills will hold their breath this week to see if the elbow injury Allen suffered on the third-to-last play of Buffalo’s 20-17 loss to the Jets Sunday is going to sideline him starting Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

A report by NFL Network Monday afternoon indicated that Allen will probably be limited in practice this week, but that the hope is the injury is not serious enough to keep him out of the game.

Later Monday, coach Sean McDermott was predictably close to the vest when he was asked about the situation.

“I know that the report is out there,” he said. “We’re just taking it one day at a time right now. And, again, I want to see how we are tomorrow and what the doctors’ report says tomorrow and the evaluation on that. It’s just way too early right now (to predict what might happen). I’ll give you more when I know more.”

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Pressed further, McDermott stayed the course.

“We’re just going through it, still evaluating it,” he said. “We’ll see where it goes. I’ll know more in the next 24 hours and then will probably be able to check in with you guys back on it on Wednesday.

“The one definite thing I can tell you is, we all know Josh and how competitive he is and he loves to compete, loves to be out there with his teammates. So I would never count him out, but that’s the one thing I do know about him. The medical piece of it, we’re still evaluating it.”

Allen was asked moments after the game ended about what happened on the play when Jets defensive end Bryce Huff beat right tackle David Quessenberry clean and hit Allen’s arm as he tried to throw the ball. Video replay showed Allen’s arm snap back, and after his fumble was recovered by Ryan Bates, he was seen trying to shake off the pain.

“There’s some slight pain, but we’ll get through it,” Allen said.

He went on to throw two more passes after the injury, both incomplete, though the second one was a majestic deep shot that traveled about 60 yards in the air and went through the hands of Gabe Davis, which essentially ended the game.

Any injury to a quarterback’s throwing arm is reason for concern, and back in 2018, Allen suffered a sprained ligament in his elbow and missed more than a month of action. He has had no known injuries to his arm since.

If he can’t play Sunday, it sets up an interesting scenario as backup Case Keenum would be forced into action against the team he played for in 2017. That season Keenum went 11-3 as the starter and threw a walk-off 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs to beat New Orleans 29-24 in a divisional round playoff game in Minnesota.

The following week the Vikings were blown out by Philadelphia 38-7 in the NFC Championship Game. Keenum signed with Denver in the offseason before 2018 and started all 16 games, then bounced to Washington to Cleveland and to Buffalo in 2022.

His career record as a starter is 29-35 and he has completed 62.3% of his passes, has averaged 190.8 passing yards per game, and has 78 touchdowns and 48 interceptions. So yes, this would be a monumental drop-off from Allen to Keenum if it happens.

Elsewhere on the injury front, the Bills’ defense took another hit in New York as defensive end Greg Rousseau suffered a high ankle sprain in the game and will miss several weeks.

Without Rousseau, the Buffalo pass rush takes a hit and will mean that someone among A.J. Epenesa, Shaq Lawson and Boogie Basham will have to step up opposite Von Miller.

Of the other injured players who missed the game, he said safety Jordan Poyer and linebacker Matt Milano are improving, but wouldn’t go into any more detail. McDermott also said that the reason Tre’Davious White didn’t play is because “he’s not ready to play yet.”

Sal Maiorana can be reached at maiorana@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY