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Bills Have 'Hope' for LB Terrel Bernard vs. Chiefs: 'Could Have Been Worse'

Buffalo Bills linebacker Terrel Bernard was carted off against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Buffalo Bills defense has dealt with its fair share of injuries, and the injury bug bit again in their 31-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday in the AFC Wild Card Round at Highmark Stadium. 

The most serious of the injuries came in the third quarter when linebacker Terrel Bernard injured his right ankle when tackling Steelers receiver George Pickens. Bernard stayed down on the field for a lengthy amount of time before getting carted off with an air cast on his right ankle. 

Terrel Bernard gets carted off the field after his ankle injury vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday.

Terrel Bernard gets carted off the field after his ankle injury vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday.

While the injury appeared to be a potential season-ender, Bills head coach Sean McDermott hopes the second-year linebacker will be available in the divisional round. 

"I think there's hope," McDermott said. "He's in meetings this morning. It looked in the way he was carted off that - thankful that it could have been way worse. So we'll just take it one day here at a time."

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Bernard's X-rays were negative as he was diagnosed with a sprained ankle, good news considering that he was carted to the locker room. Bernard has thrived in his first season leading the Bills' defense, as he led the team with 143 tackles and had 10 tackles for loss, nine quarterback hits plus 6.5 sacks.

Buffalo had other injuries on defense in the win, with linebacker Baylon Spector (back), plus cornerbacks Taron Johnson (concussion) and Christian Benford (knee) each exiting early. The Bills were also without cornerback Rasul Douglas and safety Taylor Rapp, as they were inactive on Monday. 

Buffalo's defense has managed to withstand a wrath of injuries throughout the season but if it's going to hold its own against the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes, it'll need Bernard and the defense to be as close to full strength as possible. 

The Bills and Chiefs play on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET at Highmark Stadium in the AFC Divisional round.