Bills HC Gives Key Update on $44 Million Star’s Return From Injury

Matt Milano

Getty Bills linebacker Matt Milano at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2023.

After Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane sparked some concern among fans with a cryptic update on injured linebacker Matt Milano last month, head coach Sean McDermott is providing more clarity on when he’ll be able to return to the field.

Milano suffered a fractured leg in October, missing the rest of the season. Beane gave an update on Milano at the team’s voluntary workout in April, but raised some new questions after saying the linebacker was “still working through his deal” without providing more specifics or delving into the extent of the injury.

McDermott’s update this week provided a more definitive timeline while stressing that Milano will need a bit longer to return to full health.

Matt Milano’s Rehab ‘On Schedule’

Speaking to reporters during the team’s OTAs on May 21, McDermott said Milano has been working hard at rehab and on track with his progress. While McDermott shied away from putting a hard date on his return, the Bills head coach hinted it would not be until later in the summer.

“The word I’ve gotten from our training staff is that he’s on schedule,” McDermott said, via the team’s official website. “Matt’s here every day. I can tell you that he’s working hard. It’s probably going to be more closer to training camp until we see him out there, maybe some drill work before that, maybe not. It’ll just be how he continues to progress at this point.”

The team had already faced scrutiny for the secrecy surrounding Milano’s injury, with Jay Skurksi of the Buffalo News writing in November that the team shied away from full details on how much additional damage he suffered beyond the leg fracture. Skurski noted that if Milano had ligament damage, it would cause him to miss a much longer stretch than the broken leg alone.

“With Milano, the question of just how much damage was done to his knee in addition to the broken leg he suffered has yet to be answered,” Skurski wrote. “If he tore his ACL, forget it, he’s done for the year.

“The Bills haven’t said that, though. Why they’re treating it with such secrecy is a bit of a mystery – welcome to the world of covering the NFL – but the longer that goes on, the more hope builds that he might be able to return at some point.”

Milano, who signed a $44 million contract extension in 2021 and added another two years in 2023, had been on pace for a career-best season before going down with a fractured leg, making 30 total tackles with two interceptions.

Bills Added Depth at Linebacker

While McDermott’s estimated timeline seems to put Milano back in time to start the season, the Bills may have brought in some insurance. The team signed linebacker Deion Jones to a one-year deal, a move some saw as hedging in the event that Milano is not back at full speed by the start of the season.

Jones is coming off a productive season with the Carolina Panthers in 2023, making 35 total tackles with six passes defended, one sack, and one interception.

The Bills made another addition to their linebacking corps, drafting linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio in the fifth round.

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