ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills running back Damien Harris was taken off the field in an ambulance and transported to a local hospital after suffering a neck injury Sunday night against the New York Giants.
Coach Sean McDermott said it was his understanding that Harris has full movement in his body and that his scans are good so far.
“So, things are heading in a good direction right now for Damien,” McDermott said following Buffalo’s 14-9 win.
Harris was rushing the football on third-and-1 from the Buffalo 34-yard-line in the second quarter when he took a hit to the neck area into the back of Bills right guard O’Cyrus Torrence and into the arms of Giants linebacker Bobby Okereke. Harris then took steps to try to continue running as Okereke brought him to the turf.
Harris lay on the field for several minutes as medical personnel and Bills athletic trainers tended to him. The entire Bills sideline came out to surround and support him. Left tackle Dion Dawkins shared that he made sure Harris was breathing but had to then take steps away as Harris received care.
Harris gave a thumbs-up sign with his left hand from the stretcher as he was loaded into the ambulance. The Bills announced shortly thereafter that he had movement in his arms and legs and was undergoing further testing at the hospital.
“It’s really an emotional thing, and people be trying to act like we’re unhuman like … that stuff is real,” Dawkins said. “It’s very real, and Damien’s our brother. He’s our friend, and we know him personally. To see him laying down … he just found out two days ago that he was having a boy. They said that it was a neck injury. Imagine if he can’t hold his son off of one play? That’s scary, man. It’s scary. And I take it for what it is, and I take it with respect of God, but like any moment, it could be it.”
Harris, an upbeat member of the locker room who often talks excitedly about his growing family with his wife, arrived at the game wearing a blue sweater with a goose emblazoned on it and pants with blue accents.
“You never want to see that. That’s the ugly part of the game,” Bills quarterback Josh Allen said of Harris being taken off the field in an ambulance. “He’s been so great, Damien, coming here, and I know he’s only been here for a few months, obviously this training camp, but the juice that he brings and the tough-nose running that he brings to this offense, you can’t really replace it, you know? And I’m hoping he’s all right … praying for him, him and his family.”
Allen injured his right throwing shoulder earlier in the second quarter with just over five minutes remaining on first-and-10 play when he was taken down by Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence. Allen’s shoulder hit the turf after an incomplete pass.
Allen went into the X-ray room following the game, and he said he was not impacted by the injury. McDermott said all the scans on Allen’s shoulder were “normal.”
The carry Harris was injured on was his first of the game and his only offensive snap of the contest. He was also the team’s lead kickoff returner Sunday night.
Harris, 26, is in his first season as a Bill after signing in free agency. After spending his first four years with the New England Patriots, he quickly adjusted to his new team and had what he described as the best offseason of his career. He has played as a backup in a room that includes second-year back James Cook and veteran Latavius Murray, who started the game versus the Giants and played two fewer snaps than Cook.
Entering Sunday’s game, Harris, who was selected in the third round of the 2019 draft out of Alabama, had recorded 22 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown, in addition to two receptions for 16 yards.
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