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  • Writer's pictureDr. Bruce

The Injury Report: what’s wrong with Von and other updates

It’s been a frustrating year so far with our beloved Bills. The injury bug has taken out multiple key players which has left the defense undermanned for most games. We are starting to get some players back now that they have had a bye week to continue to heal or just recover from the routine dings of playing football. However one big question has been “What’s wrong with Von Miller?” So let’s get into it


Von Miller suffered an ACL tear Thanksgiving week last year and had corrective surgery a week later. He underwent an extensive rehabilitation and there were hopes he’d be ready to play early this season. He was placed on IR and eventually started playing limited snaps week 6. Since then he’s played limited snaps and does not seem to be able to effectively rush the passer or make just about any routine plays. Sooooo what’s wrong? In my opinion watching games and practices his knee has healed well but he doesn’t play like it. He doesn’t seem to have the confidence to push and lean the way he used too. This I think has more to do with his lack of confidence rather than his physical condition



This leads me to sports psychology. This became a regular feature in athletics in the 90s and now every professional sports team has at least one psychologist and many teams have several or have affiliations with several. The psychologists fall into several categories. There are educational psychologists,clinical psychologist, and exercise psychologists. Each group uses different techniques and methods to help an athlete. Educational psychology deals with improving performance by increasing goal setting, using self talk and imaging. Clinical psychology deals with anxiety and depression and the stressors involved with sports. They work with reducing performance anxiety, fears of failure/losing etc.. Exercise psychology deals with motivational techniques and the rigors of the training process etc. All of these techniques help an athlete improve their mental focus and reduce distractions during training and games. They also help improve mental toughness by improving self belief, the desire to succeed and the ability to bounce back from an injury or a bad performance. In Von’s case I believe he hasn’t quite got the confidence that he can play at the same level that he has previously. this can lead to increased frustration and anger at himself or others. This frustration could possibly be a factor in the events that happened last week with his girlfriend. Now with the additional stress of those events and the social media outcry he may have an even more difficult time to stay focused on the field. I also believe that with positive support from the team and the fans he may finally start to get on track. Probably the best thing for Von is to get on the field and play. He may be able to finally use his anger/ frustration positively and have some positive plays. One big sack may be all it takes for us to see the old Von reappear and become the player we hoped to have at this time of year. He’s had another week of recovery and has always played well against KC. Fingers crossed for him on Sunday.

Other injury updates: Dawson Knox has returned to practice. This is a very good sign and he’s got a full practice designation. This suggests that his wrist injury has healed and he could potentially be activated for Sunday. Kair Elam come off the IR also. He has be struggling with a high ankle sprain since the preseason. I suspect this was one of the reasons he has been a scratch multiple games before being put on the IR. He may require another week or two of practice before playing but if fully recovered he may finally show some of the traits that got him drafted so high. Don’t forget that last year he had a game covering Tyree Hill in Miami and basically shut him down. The potential is there!

Taylor Rapp was a full participant in practice. That suggests his neck injury was just a severe burner/stinger and he has fully recovered. Dane Jackson has fully cleared his concussion and is back to full participation. At least the secondary is starting to look healthy again. The only other injury report of note is Josh Allen is listed with a shoulder injury but is a full participant at practice. The team has to list him as an injury if he is getting additional treatments from the training staff. There is no evidence of a new injury or any limitations on his throwing arm or mobility. Let the Beast loose!


I hope all my fellow Mafia had a great Thanksgiving and are looking forward to a great mont of December football. I’m confident that the Bills can make the playoffs and they can beat any team on any given day. I will be willing to offer counseling or some stress relieving liquid (usually in 12-20 ounce servings) to those who might need it. Let me know your thoughts or questions. As always GO BILLS!


Dr. Bruce

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2 Comments


Rob Mullen
Rob Mullen
Dec 08, 2023

Very good and in depth article about the psychology of "football" and what it might mean towards Von Miller....although your article tends to lean in a direction that Von might not have the confidence he should have to this point, I honestly believe his on camera demeanor, sideline presence, and body movement says something even more than a lack of confidence and the psych-eee of the guy.


IMHO....he has already "checked-out". As in 'done'. Maybe not with football all together....but his time as a Buffalo Bill is already contractually paved a way for him to walk away in 2024 with the "bulk" of his contract in guaranteed money when he re-structured in March 2023 "after" the surgery.


And in that…


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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce
Dec 08, 2023
Replying to

Thanks for the comment Rob. You make very valid points about his mental state and what may happen over the next few weeks and months. I agree this free agent has not lived up to the money but the glass half fulll part of me hopes that he’ll turn it around. Dr. Bruce

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