Bills' Alonso has successful surgery, won't be at camp
by Joe Buscaglia,posted Jul 18 2014 5:24PM
Right in the middle of the final lull and time off throughout the summer, the Buffalo Bills received some of the worst news that they could have. Defensive rookie of the year runner up and stud linebacker Kiko Alonso tore his ACL, likely ending his season before the team ever got to training camp.
"It's nothing you want to hear on your vacation," general manager Doug Whaley told reporters Friday. "Absolutely it was a shock."
Since the injury was discovered and the team announced that he was likely lost for the year, the Bills set Alonso up for surgery as soon as possible. Whaley updated the linebacker's status post-operation.
"[He] had his surgery and from all the reports we're getting it was successful surgery," he said. "We're expecting him to be back after camp, let the swelling go down, do some rehab there, but he'll be back in Buffalo when we break camp."
Whaley was mum, however, on how the injury happened. The GM simply said that he wasn't there, and that he was going to let Alonso's camp handle the explanation of the injury.
The news leaves a big hole at linebacker in the team's switch back to the 4-3 defensive scheme, eliminating their starting weakside linebacker, and likely the man that was going to lead the defense in snaps for the second straight season. Whaley mentioned the young trio of rookie Preston Brown, Nigel Bradham and Ty Powell as candidates to get time on the field in Alonso's absence.
"This happens, injury is a part of the game. It's not an excuse for us, it can't be an excuse for the team and it won't be," he said. "It's exciting times for those guys and exciting times for us to say, alright, what we saw on these guys is true and they can play."
The player that will have the most on his plate due to Alonso's injury? Free agent acquisition Keith Rivers, who was initially signed to be the team's strongside linebacker. Now with Alonso out, there's no telling where Rivers will slot in, but he'll be seeing a lot more time on the field.
"He's going to have to step up and take the lead, between him and Spikes and whoever takes the other one," the GM replied. "But I think he can play on special teams and on passing downs and nickel situations."
More clarity will be had when the Bills have their first official practice at St. John Fisher College on Sunday night. The first of many practices will be held on July 20 at 6 pm.