ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP)Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott said Josh Allen will miss practice on Wednesday due to an injury to his throwing elbow, but the star quarterback could play against the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings this weekend.
McDermott wouldn’t reveal the severity of the injury and stuck mostly to an opening statement in which he referred to Allen as being day to day. The coach then anticipated the next question by saying: ”Is he going to play? We’ll see.”
The injury to Allen’s right elbow is similar to the one that forced him to miss four games during his rookie season in 2018, the last time he missed a start. While Allen is lobbying to play through the injury, the AFC-leading Bills (6-2) might decide to rest the NFL’s third-leading passer for a week or two in order to have him healthy for a late-season playoff push.
If Allen can’t play, the Bills would turn the NFL’s top-ranked offense in yards gained to backup Case Keenum. The 10-year journeyman was acquired in an offseason trade with Cleveland and has a 29-35 career record, with just two starts – both wins – in his previous two seasons.
Allen was hurt while failing in his attempt to march the Bills into field-goal position on their final drive of a 20-17 loss at the New York Jets. Facing second-and-2, Allen dropped back and was in the process of throwing the ball when his arm was wrenched down and to the side by defensive lineman Bryce Huff, who also knocked the ball loose for a 19-yard loss.
Allen was spotted holding his elbow before the next play, in which he bounced a pass short intended for Stefon Diggs. The quarterback, however, showed no limitations in launching a deep pass up the left sideline, where Gabe Davis couldn’t bring the ball in on fourth down.
Following the game, Allen played down the injury.
”There’s some slight pain,” he said, ”but we’ll get through it.”
The uncertainty with Allen comes with the Bills preparing to host a surging Vikings team that has won six straight and sits second in the NFC standings with a 7-1 record.
The Bills still have a direct path to winning their third consecutive AFC East title and finishing first in the conference for the first time since 1993, but their margin for error shrunk with the loss to the Jets. Buffalo dropped to 0-2 against division opponents, including a 21-19 loss at Miami in September.
Keenum last started in the Browns’ 2021 season-ending 21-16 win over Cincinnati in which he finished 17 of 24 for 176 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Keenum had his best season with the Vikings in 2017, when he finished 11-3, and was most remembered for his 61-yard touchdown pass to Diggs as time expired to secure a 29-24 win over New Orleans in the NFC divisional round of the playoffs.
”No. 1 is he’s brought a presence and a leadership from his position that I think is unique to him,” McDermott said of Keenum. ”He’s a veteran player that’s taken a lot of snaps. He’s won games, and he’s just got a great, great disposition.”
The Bills are 1-4 in games Allen doesn’t start since he was selected in the first round of the 2018 draft. Third-string QB Matt Barkley accounts for the lone victory, a 41-10 win over the Jets in 2018.
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