After an off-site incident jet skiing, it was announced by NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport that Buffalo Bills running back and special team ace Nyheim Hines will likely miss the entirety of the upcoming season due to an ACL injury that will require surgery this week.

According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, the 26-year-old was “sitting stationary on a jet ski” when he was “struck by another rider,” as Hines will likely be placed on the non-football injury list for the rest of the 2023 season with a torn ACL in his left knee.


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This is just two days prior to training camp starting for each NFL team, including the Bills, this coming Wednesday. Hines thankfully suffered no life-threatening injuries and will look to make his return in 2024.

The veteran scatback was a last-minute acquisition trade prior to the deadline back in November 2022, as the Indianapolis Colts shipped him off for running back Zach Moss and a conditional sixth-round pick in 2023 that turned out to be a fifth-round pick (tight end Will Mallory) in the most recent NFL Draft.

Back in March, Hines restructured his deal to stay with the Bills, as he would “convert part of his base salary to a signing bonus to provide some cap relief” and add “incentives that give him the chance to earn more than his previously scheduled $4.79 million” per the report by NFL Network.

But with the injury occurring off the field away from the team facilities, Buffalo could void his $2.56 million base salary and create immediate salary cap space if they choose to do so with the risk of the running back filing for grievance.

Although Hines was essentially a change of pace back in the offense and not used that often even as a receiver, he was their primary returner on kicks/punts and was a threat to score when he got the ball. In his first year with the team, he was behind running back Devin Singletary, now with the Houston Texans, and former rookie James Cook.

The former N.C. State fourth-round pick from 2018 really made his name known in Buffalo with an epic opening kickoff return for 96 yards in Week 18 against the New England Patriots. This historical and emotional play was their first since safety Damar Hamlin suffered from on-field cardiac arrest against the Cincinnati Bengals a week later. The shifty return man then took another kickoff 101 yards to the house, leading to a Bills win over the Pats.

Now with the electrifying playmaker out for this upcoming season at least, Buffalo could look to add another running back, as they brought in Damien Harris from the Pats and journeyman Latavius Murray in free agency. Second-year Cook will look to take a step forward as the incumbent starter, most likely splitting starting reps with Harris and Murray spelling both occasionally.

But with the news of Hines’ injury, the Bills worked out three running backs on Monday, to then sign Darrynton Evans out of the group. Kylin Hill and Abram Smith were the two other running backs Buffalo worked out with Evans, as they were urgent to find some depth at the position right before training camp.

There is still a looming possibility for the Cook brothers to reunite, as star Dalvin Cook is still a free agent and is heavily tied to all the AFC East teams, including Buffalo. But as of now, the Pats have the highest odds to land the former Minnesota Vikings All-Pro running back, with the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets right on their tail.

With Hines gone, they will need second-year wide receiver Khalil Shakir or free-agent Deonte Harty to step up as special teamers, as Super Bowl 57 showcased why having a good return man can pay dividends.

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