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Accuracy of Bills injury reports is questionable

By Tim Graham

After the NFL popped the Buffalo Bills with a $20,000 fine for being deceptive about Mario Williams' wrist, their injury reports grew like Pinocchio's nose.

Williams had surgery on his left wrist during the bye week. While he didn't miss any games, the injury was at least that serious.

The Bills, meanwhile, loaded up their injury reports with anybody who had an owie. But how can we determine the veracity of their lists?

Deadspin.com used injury data compiled by ProFootballReference.com to examine how truthful teams are with their injury reports.

Buffalo fared poorly.

The Bills reported the fourth-most injuries behind the New York Jets, Houston Texans and New England Patriots. But of players who appeared on the injury report and did not play, the Bills ranked 10th.

The NFL's injury policy classifies four types of injury statuses: out (no chance to play), doubtful (25 percent chance of playing), questionable (50 percent chance of playing) and probable (virtual certainty of playing).

Buffalo overshot those percentages.

Bills designated as questionable played 75.0 percent of the time, second-highest in the NFL behind the Minnesota Vikings at 75.3 percent.

Only three Bills were classified as doubtful this season, and one of them -- running back C.J. Spiller in Week Four -- played.

Bills designated as probable played 97.5 percent of the time, 11th in the league.

The Patriots are notorious for their inflated injury reports, but they were slightly more calibrated to the NFL's specifications than the Bills were.

The Patriots were at 97.5 percent for probable players, 70.8 percent for questionable players and 28.6 percent for doubtful players.

The Jets came in at 94.6 percent for probable players, 66.7 percent for questionable players and 30 percent for doubtful players.

Rounding out the AFC East, the Miami Dolphins were 94.2 percent with probables, 71.2 percent for questionables and 25.0 percent for doubtfuls.

That's a lot of gamesmanship taking place in the division.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | tgraham@buffnews.com


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | mgaughan@buffnews.com


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | jskurski@buffnews.com

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