Latest Info On Bills QB Josh Allen Elbow Injury | NFL Week 10 Injuries

Written By Will Carroll on November 9, 2022 - Last Updated on November 17, 2022
josh allen injury

If you watch CNBC or see ads for investments, they always say, “past results don’t guarantee future returns.” That’s true, but in sports medicine, the single biggest predictor is history. That’s why the Josh Allen elbow issue has a bit more certainty than most, because he had this exact injury during his rookie season. I’ll go out on a limb and say he came back from it pretty well.

This time, Bills head coach Sean McDermott said Friday he’s not ruling Allen out this week against the Vikings. It’s gamesmanship. The team is fighting for the 1-seed, a playoff bye and home field advantage. Josh Allen, I was told by a trusted source, was not going to play this week against the Vikings, as they attempt to heal the UCL without surgery. More details on his recovery below.

A previous version of this story declared Josh Allen out. Here is the latest information, as of Saturday afternoon. NFL Insider Ian Rapoport tweeted new information Saturday. “#Bills QB Josh Allen is able to grip a football and he did some throwing on Friday. That gave enough confidence to proceed without elevating Matt Barkley from the practice squad and put Allen in line to play against the #Vikings despite an elbow sprain.” This conflicts with Will’s trusted source, and the betting market has moved back towards Buffalo.

Editor’s Note

JOSH ALLEN, QB BILLS (sprained elbow)

The Josh Allen elbow injury is a small tear in his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), the “Tommy John” ligament. When I say small, I mean small. No more than 10% of the ligament is damaged, which is very similar to last year. Most surgeons will say that above 25% to 33% needs to be reconstructed. Below that threshold, rehab and biologic injections can be successful, as it was for Allen last time.

He has had imaging done and had it checked, plus had an injection, likely of PRP. Allen dealt with a similar injury during his rookie season. The team has a lot of data on baseline and what worked last time. I am told the team is putting no timeline on this, checking the injury and hoping to keep his absence to a minimum while still allowing the elbow to heal properly.

Some are noting that Ben Roethlisberger had elbow surgery, or that Matthew Stafford was dealing with an elbow earlier this season. In both cases, those were flexor tendon issues, not ligament sprains as Allen is dealing with. While anatomically close and similarly loaded, they are no good comparisons.

With Allen out, this is a different team and the spread has steadily moved from Buffalo -9.5 on the look-ahead line to .

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Let’s dive into what is actually going on with his elbow, along with some other notable NFL Week 10 injuries. As always, use our Prop Finder Tool below in order to bet the best available odds on markets related to these injuries. Just search by team or player name.

Other Notable NFL Week 10 Injuries

  • Will Carroll has covered injuries in sports for more than 20 years. He’s written four books, including his latest entitled “The Science of Football”. He also consults with several pro teams. He is currently the Director of Bioanalytics for Northstarr, a sports science startup company.

ODELL BECKHAM JR, WR FREE AGENT (sprained knee)

Speculation about Odell Beckham Jr’s destination is heating up now that he’s been medically cleared, but what does that actually mean? This one’s simple – the medical portion of his rehab is done. The tendon used to reconstruct his ACL has anchored well, the joint has passed tests showing that it’s within parameters, and he’s been able to clear most of the normal functional tests. That’s all good.

What it doesn’t mean is that he’s ready to play football. It means medical, not sport-specific. While he can now go and do that, there’s seldom any sport specific things done in the early rehab. Yes, he’s been running and cutting, but not in a football-specific way and certainly not at the speed he’ll need to do those at. Beckham is at the sport-specific portion of the rehab, where things go from the medical staff to the coaching staff. Without a team, he can certainly do that on his own, with his own chosen people, at any number of facilities, but he’s closing in on the point where he’ll need a team — a real football team.

There’s no reason to think that Beckham can’t come back from his ACL revision. “Revision” means second in this case, after the reconstructed ligament broke down. This isn’t a big deal and certainly isn’t a failure of the first surgery. It’s just that like the first time, he did something his knee couldn’t take and the ligament popped. There’s also no reason to think Beckham can’t get back his speed and skill, though again, some of this comes down to the rehab. A team should have a good idea where he is, though the Rams will have more info given they’ve been more hands on, and that Dr. Neal ElAttrache has handled the surgery and rehab.

RYAN TANNEHILL, QB TITANS (sprained ankle)

The Titans sold us in Week 8 that Ryan Tannehill’s illness was a far bigger deal than his ankle. The ankle was a big enough deal that he didn’t play in Week 9 and there’s questions here mid-week on whether Week 10 will be affected. It’s a reminder that the Official Injury Report doesn’t have to disclose injuries, just availability.

There’s even some question about whether this is an ankle sprain, or a high ankle sprain. (My sources say ankle.) What little we’ve seen of Tannehill has shown him to be nearly immobile. He’ll have to make huge progress or the medical staff will have to find a brace that doesn’t restrict him too much, and quickly. We should get some indication of this during practice, but all indications are that this will go like last week and be a game-time decision. Any setback could cause problems given the upcoming schedule, so Mike Vrabel has to factor that in as well.

There’s obviously a huge delta between what the Titans can do offensively with Tannehill and what they can do with Malik Willis. Not that it’s bad to hand the ball off to Derrick Henry a million times, but even he’s going to wear down or face a front seven or eight that shuts him down come playoff time. With the Titans playing 3 games in 11 days, this is a big issue. Unless Tannehill shows early in practice that he’s ready, the team might have to dial back and hope to get him in Week 11 instead.

The Titans showed they’re a hard under, with runs running the clock, even against a solid offense like the Chiefs. Even at a very low 38 against the Broncos, I’m not sure either team can put up any more than 20 each on a good day. Henry remains an interesting yardage play, with one big run breaking open a total. If Tannehill plays, the reverse is true on the points and spread, which we may not know until gametime.

TREY LANCE, QB 49ERS (fractured leg/sprained ankle)

A picture surfaced on Instagram that might not seem like much, but gives us a ton of information about Trey Lance. Lance was standing at a PR opportunity, without his walking boot. That’s a big progression from just a couple weeks ago and puts Lance on track for a normal return after surgery. I had long though that the bony issues would resolve quickly – six to eight weeks – which is right where we are, but given that Lance can stand and walk, does this mean he’ll be able to play soon? Will there be a QB controversy with Jimmy Garropolo?

Likely no. While the 49ers are likely to be conservative with Lance, especially with Garropolo playing well, the issue that will take longer to heal is the ligaments that were repaired in the ankle. Those are anchored to bone, near where the fracture was. Those anchors need time to heal, then the leg can start being loaded more. Think about a simple ankle sprain – people can walk (with a limp), but they’re certainly not cutting on it. That’s where Lance is – walking, not cutting, and he won’t be for at least a few more weeks.

As for the controversy, I just don’t see it. As long as the team is winning, treating this like a “redshirt year” makes more sense for Lance and could help maximize another trade possibility for Garropolo, who’ll likely get looks from several of the teams that didn’t trade for him last year. Lance is healing and the progress is good, but it’s not so unusual that we need to think about anything aside from next year. 

ELIJAH MITCHELL, RB 49ERS (sprained knee)

Trading for Christian McCaffrey should make Elijah Mitchell’s return a much smaller deal, but given McCaffrey’s own durability concerns, depth should always be front and center. The 49ers designated Mitchell to return, opening the window for his activation after eight weeks out with an MCL sprain. Mitchell’s quick shifty style will need a full recovery, but there’s no signs that he hasn’t done just that in the standard timeframe.

The Niners could activate Mitchell as soon as this week, with indications going back a couple weeks that the Chargers game was the target. We haven’t seen anything from Mitchell on field, but the Niners medical staff will have seen his progress and wouldn’t make this step without a solid idea that he would be at 100 percent in the very near future. There’s always some recurrence risk, but it’s barely more than the occurrence risk backs like this always have for knee issues. 

Mitchell won’t affect things in Week 10 or as long as McCaffrey’s healthy. Maybe he spells him a bit and helps with that, but Mitchell’s return doesn’t change anything in terms of the models I’ll use on the Niners this week or for the foreseeable future. 45.5 seems high to me given the injuries on the Chargers side, as does giving 7 points for the Niners. 

ROMEO DOUBS, WR PACKERS (high ankle sprain)
CHRISTIAN WATSON, WR PACKERS (bruised chest)

The Packers have had issues keeping their wide receivers healthy all season and that hasn’t changed mid-season. (Or at other positions, see below.) Losing Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson certainly doesn’t help depth, leaving Sammy Watkins and Alan Lazard as the WR1/2. After that, it’s way down the depth chart, or more to Robert Tonyan for Aaron Rodgers. There is some good news, so read on, Packers fans.

Doubs has a severe high ankle sprain, forcing him to be carted off the field. We’ve seen with players like Mac Jones that it can be very painful, but that even severe sprains can cost less than a month. Doubs requires more mobility than a player like Jones, so much of his rehab will be focused on when he can push off and make hard cuts. That could be as much as a month, even longer if the damage to the ligament is severe and doesn’t respond to therapy.

Watson appeared to suffer a second concussion when he left last weekend’s game, but he passed tests and was tested again, likely on Monday. This isn’t ‘strict protocol’ but caution, especially given increased worry about the optics of second concussions. Watson is said to have a bruised chest and given the hit, that seems valid. NFL players regularly take big hits and come back, so even staying out a bit shows how severe that particular one was. Watson is back at practice and while the chest is likely a bit sore, there’s likely nothing limiting or really that can be done aside from a bit of extra foam.

The Packers have played under the expectations this year, 3-6 ATS and never scoring more than 27. The Cowboys have consistently been in the mid-20s, though some of that came without Dak Prescott and last game’s 49 point explosion has to factor in. 45 seems a fair O/U, but that could be 35-10, or 24-21, and do either of those seem likely given what we know? The over comes if the Cowboys run it up again.

RASHAN GARY, LB PACKERS (sprained knee)

The Packers have a lot of issues, but one of their biggest is losing Rashan Gary for the rest of the season. The NFL is right at the expected point with ACL sprains, which are one of the bellwethers of league-wide health. Gary was the 35th player to go down with a similar injury and in a normal season, we’ll see 40-60 of these. 

That doesn’t help the Packers, who have their share of other injuries. Gary’s tackles will have to be replaced somehow, as will the scheme through the middle. I asked my co-author on The Science of Football, Tyler Brooke, who is a Packers die-hard, to explain how it will affect them: 

“Joe Barry’s scheme, while often ridiculed by Packers fans, tries to put its defense in third-and-long situations to set up the pass rush. His pass rush scheme tries to get his best players in one-on-one matchups on the edge to generate pressure, and when the Packers have been in those situations, they’ve succeeded thanks to Gary’s elite pass-rushing ability. Losing Gary is a massive blow. Not only is he one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, but the Packers also seriously lack any depth on the edge. It will be up to rookie JJ Enagabre, who has shown SOME flashes, to fill those shoes.”

Yep, that’s as bad as I thought and really puts pressure on a defense to hold even more than it has, with less. I don’t see it working in the long term, which means longer drives and less opportunities for sacks. That usually means more points, meaning they’ll have to try to outgun teams. That’s great for overs, bad for Packers. 

MARK ANDREWS, TE RAVENS (sprained shoulder/sprained ankle)

Mark Andrews has been the top target for Lamar Jackson for a lot of reasons. He uses his big body to get open, he doesn’t drop the ball, and he seems to be able to find seams when Jackson is scrambling, plus that big body makes him visible, even in purple. It’s Andrews, not the position, since Isiah Likely did little – one TD on five targets – in his absence.

Andrews continues to deal with a shoulder and ankle issue, but it’s the shoulder that’s the key limitation right now. The sprain required a brace in practice and he wasn’t comfortable with it, losing movement in both catch and block sequences. The hope is that chaining two weeks of rest together will have him back in time for the Week 11 clash with the Panthers at home. Given the bye, we may not get much in the way of looks at progress. 

The ankle injury is less concerning – he’s played through it for a while – and doesn’t affect his key skills. It should clear up concurrently with the shoulder, with continued treatment. His return (and healthy return) helps Lamar Jackson and affects the over more than most think, so there could be some value on Week 11 look-ahead lines against Carolina. 

Quick Hits

Late word that Matthew Stafford went into the concussion protocol on Wednesday. That should mean that he is unavailable this week, but there’s been some question about the timing of protocol steps. Monitor this closely! … With Jeff Saturday taking over the Colts, there’s a lot of questions. One is, does Matt Ryan come back? His shoulder is not ready yet, so we won’t know for at least another couple weeks and a lot can change by then. I don’t think it’s impossible … Better news in the short term for the Colts is having Jonathan Taylor back at practice early in the week … Aaron Jones was back at practice on Wednesday despite what looked like a tough ankle injury. It’s a very positive sign … Cordarrelle Patterson had a nice return for the Falcons, but watching the tape, he was still reluctant to make hard cuts. There’s still some upside as he gets more comfortable … The Bengals are on bye, but I’m hearing Ja’Marr Chase could be back with the team on a limited basis when they convene for Week 11. HIs hip is making good progress, per a key source …  Keenan Allen is still a question mark for the Chargers. His hamstring is making no progress and the team is considering their next steps … The Raiders still aren’t sure Darren Waller will be ready to go against the Colts. They’re very reluctant to play him at anything less than 100 percent for some reason, despite his physicality … Cameron Dantzler will be out this week with an ankle sprain. It means less if Josh Allen isn’t throwing it. 

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Will Carroll

Will Carroll has covered injuries in sports for more than 20 years, working at places like ESPN, Baseball Prospectus, Football Outsiders, and FanDuel. He’s written four books, including the upcoming “The Science of Football” and consults with several pro teams. He is currently the Director of Bioanalytics for Northstarr, a sports science startup company.

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