Charles Clay’s injured knee causing concern

Sep 27, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Buffalo Bills tight end Charles Clay (85) stiff arm Miami Dolphins player during a game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Buffalo Bills tight end Charles Clay (85) stiff arm Miami Dolphins player during a game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

Sean McDermott shared some concern over Charles Clay’s knee, which has been ailing the Buffalo Bills’ tight end for quite some time.

Under Rex Ryan, the Buffalo Bills were constantly limited by injuries, making it difficult to find any kind of consistent play. With Sean McDermott taking over as head coach, keeping players healthy and in a position to succeed seem to be top priority.

At OTA’s this week, the Buffalo Bills got a couple of updates on some key injuries the team is currently dealing with. Sean McDermott originally broke the news of Charles Clay’s knee causing concern, noting that it will be something the team monitors moving forward.

Here’s what McDermott had to say:

"“We are concerned with Charles’ knee situation,” McDermott told reporters Thursday before the Bills took the field for an OTA workout. “It’s something we have to manage moving forward in order to have him on the field for us, which is important moving forward. He’s a weapon for us.”"

It wasn’t a secret that Charles Clay had knee issues since joining the Buffalo Bills in 2015. In fact, he started experiencing knee and hamstring issues in 2014 while with the Miami Dolphins. It didn’t take long before he found himself on the injury report the first week of the 2015 season.

Clay would end up missing the end of the 2015 season due to a back injury, but 2016 was really a tough year. The tight end was on the injury report practically every week last season with a lingering knee injury. Clay would end up missing just a total of three games, though.

There’s no doubting what Clay is capable of. When healthy, he is one of the more dangerous tight ends in the league. He can handle a lot of looks on the receiving end and is a staple to the Bills’ run-blocking. His big body can make him a target that can’t be missed.

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Unfortunately, his injuries have limited him and it’s a reality no player wants to deal with. Clay’s career year came in 2013 with the Dolphins, finishing the season with career-highs in receptions (69), targets (103), yards (759), touchdowns (6) and first downs (36). That was after combining for 34 catches, 445 yards and 5 touchdowns the previous two seasons with the team.

When the injuries began in 2014, his numbers started to drop off. He would finish with 58 catches, 84 targets, 605 yards and 3 touchdowns in his final season with the Dolphins.

Coming to Buffalo, his numbers remained around the same, but saw a little decrease in his first year. He finished the 2015 season with 51 catches, 77 targets, 528 yards and 3 touchdowns. Last season, despite having his most injured year of his career, he saw his numbers increase a little. Clay finished the 2016 season with 57 catches, 87 targets, 552 yards and 4 touchdowns.

The increase in his numbers last season should show you how much of a force Clay can be — especially if healthy. In fact, the Buffalo Bills haven’t had a chance to see Charles Clay perform in a healthy state. With that being said, Buffalo possibly hasn’t seen the best of Clay.

Unfortunately, they may never see the best of Clay if they can’t get him healthy.

It’ll be important to watch how the team handles his knee moving forward. It’s encouraging to hear the coaching staff is concerned and easing him back into action would be the best way to handle this — which is what McDermott is prepared to do.

McDermott did comment on what Charles Clay has done up to this point, as far as practice goes.

"“He’s participated in most all of it,” the coach said. “That said, just like with all of our players, we have to put them in position to be successful, Charles no different. So if managing his reps, if that’s what we have to do, then we’ll continue to do that.”"

Being cautious with this injury will be the best thing for the Buffalo Bills and it will be a mindset that will have to be followed with every injury the team is presented with.

Which brings me to the other injuries the Bills are dealing with right now. Let me give a quick update on those:

Zay Jones – still week-to-week with a sprained knee that was suffered a week ago. The Bills will likely ease him back to avoid a repeat of what happened to Watkins.

John Miller – one of the new injuries we learned about on Thursday, Miller was listed with an ankle sprain and considered day-to-day. He will need simple rest and rehab before returning.

Michael Ola – another new injury to the offensive line, Ola is also dealing with a knee injury that will keep him out day-to-day. Ola will be fighting for a backup role.

Eric Wood – we all remember the broken leg suffered in Week 9 vs. the Seahawks last season. Wood is progressing with his return, but has been worked into some of the drills so far.

I said this earlier and I’ll say it again. With players hitting the field, the main thing moving forward is keeping the Bills’ players healthy. McDermott seems intent on making that a priority.

We’ll be hoping for a speedy recovery from all.

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Are you concerned about any of these injuries or do you see them being ready to go Week 1? Leave your thoughts below!