Buffalo Bills: Jordan Matthews injury sums up state of affairs

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Jordan Matthews
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Jordan Matthews /

Jordan Matthews suffers a chip fracture in his sternum, during his first practice with the Buffalo Bills and has been listed as week-to-week.

The Buffalo Bills surprised their fans last Friday, trading away Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby. In the process, you could be forgiven for asking if this meant the team was going all out to tank the 2017 campaign, or at least rebuild with an eye on the future.

We don’t believe this is necessarily the case, but certainly, getting rid of two of your preferred starters from last season, raised some eyebrows. In truth though, once the initial shock had subsided, a lot of Bills’ fans were fine with the trades, as the team got rid of an injury-prone receiver, while also receiving second and third round draft picks in 2018.

Another reason for people being happy with the moves, was due to receiving Jordan Matthews, as part of the Darby trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. While you can question if Matthews is as talented as Watkins, at least he is more durable, having also recorded better numbers for receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns over the same three-year period in the NFL.

With this in mind, something happened, which you can argue could only happen to the Bills (and maybe the Cleveland Browns) – Matthews suffered an injury, during his first practice with the team on Sunday. As reported by WGR 550’s Brayton Wilson, the wide receiver suffered a chip fracture in his sternum.

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The 25-year-old has been officially listed as week-to-week, raising questions about his availability for Week 1 of the regular season. Referencing sports medical analyst David J. Chao, M.D., Wilson writes the injury is just a pain tolerance issue, but can be very painful to deal with.

Further, even if Matthews does return in time to face the New York Jets, his effectiveness will be compromised. This will be as a result of missing several weeks of practice and a lack of opportunities to build up a rapport on the field with his teammates.

The injury was sustained early on in Sunday’s practice, after a collision with Shareece Wright. However, whereas the cornerback had to leave early with a thumb injury, Matthews was able to complete practice.

It was only afterwards, the Bills realized the injury was more serious than first thought. General manager Brandon Beane spoke to WGR 550’s Howard Simon and Jeremy White about what happened, on Monday morning:

"“He played through it, but I talked to him last night after he got back from the doctors. He said something wasn’t right, he knew something was up. You have to give him credit, he tried to fight through it. That’s what it is. It’s a week-to-week deal with that, and we’ll let the medical guys [handle it].”"

In the grand scheme of things, the absence of the 2014 second round draft pick is not particularly devastating. There is no rush to bring him back, nor should there be.

It’s just that the injury is a very Buffalo thing to happen, coming just two days after trading for a player who is usually durable. If fans are looking for an omen that this is the season the playoff drought ends, Matthews’ injury doesn’t inspire much confidence.

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In light of recent events, what are your expectations for the Bills this season? Do you believe they will compete for a playoff spot, or are you already writing off the 2017 campaign? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.