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Buffalo Bills Injury Update: Jordan Poyer & Isaiah McKenzie Ready for Season-Opener vs. Rams?

Buffalo Bills’ safety Jordan Poyer and wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie both suffered notable injuries during training camp practices.

As the Buffalo Bills prepare to kick off their season on Thursday night against the defending champion Los Angeles Rams, it appears that they will do so with the services of two of its most productive members.

On their inaugural injury report of 2022, the Bills have officially listed safety Jordan Poyer (elbow) and wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (groin) as full participants; lending strong credence to each player suiting up for their season opener.

Poyer hyperextended his elbow during a team practice on Aug. 2. Poyer was attempting to stop Buffalo's rookie running back James Cook on a red-zone running drill. The 31-year-old walked off the field, but was later carted off to the team’s locker room. While he returned to practice on Aug. 27, Poyer had yet to take the field without a red non-contact jersey until Sunday’s session.

Prior to practice, Bills coach Sean McDermott seemed cautiously optimistic regarding Poyer’s projected status for Thursday’s game.

"We're trending in that direction," McDermott said, "I'll be surprised if he isn't [playing Thursday]. I plan on him being out there today and we'll see how he does."

Poyer had a stellar season in 2021, compiling 93 total tackles (eight, for loss), 9 passes-defensed, five interceptions and three sacks. For his efforts, was named First Team All-Pro for the first time in his career.

Since joining the Bills as a free agent in 2017, Poyer has been one-half of arguably the best safety tandem in the NFL alongside fellow safety Micah Hyde. Hyde is also dealing with a minor injury after injuring his hip/glute early in training camp. Hyde, however, has remained on the practice field.

Poyer is in the final year of his contract and requested an extension through his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, this offseason. Despite having yet to strike an agreement, the Bills’ safety is intently focused on 2022.

"I want to continue to play football and play my best football in Buffalo for as long as I can, however long that may be," Poyer told reporters last week. "But, I'm here with the guys right now, and I'm ready to attack this season."

The Bills have also seemingly dodged a potential void on the offensive side of the ball, as wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie was also a full participant during Sunday’s practice. McKenzie suffered a lower-body injury during practice on Aug. 27

"I think it'd be hard to hold him out," general manager Brandon Beane said of McKenzie. "He's going to push and push. Now we got to make sure he can medically do it. So, we'll see."

Though signing a two-year, $4.4 million extension in the offseason would seem to solidify one’s place on the team, McKenzie does have some expectations to satisfy in 2022. Following the departure of receiver Cole Beasley, the 27-year-old is expected to be Buffalo’s primary option in the slot for the upcoming season. McKenzie’s versatility makes him a good fit for the role. Since joining the Bills in 2018, he has amassed 893 yards on 95 catches, with seven touchdowns.

His numbers in 2021 were less-than groundbreaking, logging just 178 yards on 20 receptions with one touchdown. Still, the Georgia product demonstrated an ability to be quite effective out of the slot. His breakout performance came in week 16 against the New England Patriots, McKenzie hauled in 11 catches for 125 yards and one touchdown. Though he had some success against the Pats zone coverage, he thrived against New England’s man coverage, especially on the inside. Should he carry some of that momentum into 2022, Buffalo may have found a significant slot weapon for the foreseeable future.

The Bills and Rams are set to face-off on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 8:15 p.m. ET (5:15 p.m. PT) as they begin Week 1 of the 2022 NFL Season at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA.