This is probably the most unconventional season-ending injury since Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg.
Bill’s running back and returner Nyheim Hines suffered a season-ending knee injury today as he was struck by a jetski. As first reported by Tom Pelissero, Hines was sitting on a non-moving jetski when a fellow rider crashed into him. Though the injuries were thankfully non-life threatening, he will require surgery to repair his knee.
Losing Hines may turn out to be a crushing blow to the Bills. While second year rusher James Cook is slated start following Devin Singletary’s departure to Houston, Hines was expected to see more touches than last year.
The Bills traded for Hines at the deadline last season, sending Zack Moss and a fifth-round pick to the Colts. In his short time in Buffalo, he accumulated just 50 total yards on offense, but was able to find his way into the endzone. Despite lack of touches, Bills GM Brandon Beane stressed Hines becoming a bigger tool on offense this upcoming season.
“I think it will be easier in an offseason to get in the whole playbook, get the feel,” Beane said at the end of last year. “You kind of install a lot more things than you do in season. So, yeah, I mean, in a perfect world, would have loved to get him more touches and hopefully that will happen next season.”
Though Hines provides pass catching out of the backfield, the Bills have Damien Harris and Latavius Murray to backup Cook. However, where they will truly miss him is on kick returns.
As Buffalo’s key returner, Hines handled both kickoffs and punts last season. In a mere 35 attempts, he racked up 707 yards in the return game, running two kicks back for touchdowns. Most notably, Hines scored his first touchdown on the opening kickoff of week 18 against the Patriots — the first game back since Damar Hamlin’s world-altering injury.
Hopefully Hines’ surgery goes smoothly and he can get back on the field next season. In the meantime, Bills receiver Deonte Harty will replace Hines in the return game. Maybe he can run back one for Hines just as he did for Hamlin.