The Buffalo Bills’ 2023 season has been dealt a significant blow before it even began. The team’s versatile running back, Nyheim Hines, has suffered a severe knee injury that will sideline him for the entire upcoming season, according to NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.
The incident occurred off-site, with Hines sustaining the injury in an unfortunate jet ski accident. Pelissero reported that Hines was stationary on the watercraft when another rider struck him, leading to a serious but non-life threatening injury. The injury was later identified as an ACL tear in his left knee, with surgery expected to take place this week.
Hines, a dynamic player known for his agility and pass-catching abilities, joined the Bills last year in a midseason trade from the Indianapolis Colts. In a show of commitment to his new team, Hines reworked his contract this offseason, agreeing to a pay cut to remain with the Bills.
The Impact of Hines’ Absence on the Bills’ Strategy
The loss of Hines is a significant setback for the Bills. He was projected to be a key pass-catching option out of the backfield, providing support to James Cook, Damien Harris, and Latavius Murray. With Hines now out for the season, the Bills will need to reassess their strategy for third-down passing situations.
Hines’ absence will also be felt in the special teams department. He made a name for himself last season by returning two kickoffs for touchdowns in Week 18, and was slated to be the Bills’ primary kick and punt returner this season. The Bills will now look to Deonte Harty, Khalil Shakir, and Micah Hyde to fill these crucial roles.
Season-ending injuries are always a harsh reality in the NFL, but they are particularly devastating when they occur before a player even steps foot into training camp. The loss of Hines is a brutal blow for the Bills, both for his on-field contributions and his presence in the locker room. As the team regroups and refocuses, they will undoubtedly be keeping their sidelined teammate in their thoughts.