The Buffalo Bills drafted Shaq Lawson almost three weeks ago. Shortly after Buffalo drafted Lawson, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Lawson needed shoulder surgery that would sideline him 4-6 months. Lawson refuted that report and Bills GM Doug Whaley stated that Buffalo's medical staff cleared Lawson.
Now, close to three weeks later, the Bills have decided to have Lawson undergo shoulder surgery. A statement released by the Bills said, “The Buffalo Bills are taking measures to prevent the possibility of Shaq Lawson aggravating a pre-existing shoulder condition during the season. While he could continue to play, the Bills medical staff has determined that surgery is the best course of action for the overall health of his shoulder moving forward. He had an occurrence of the condition last week, but that would not preclude him from participating in the offseason program. Shaq is scheduled for surgery tomorrow on his shoulder with a rehabilitation program to follow. A timetable for his return is still being established.”
Getting the surgery out of the way is truly the right move for the Bills and Lawson. Having him play with a "pre-existing shoulder condition" during the season could have limited the rookie and worsened his condition. That said, waiting nearly three weeks to make this decision was a major blunder by the Bills.
If Schefter's time frame of 4-6 months is correct and Lawson's rehab goes perfectly, he's set to make his first appearance with the Bills in mid-September. Right now, four months would put Lawson back in the lineup for Buffalo's Week 3 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals. If the Bills had pulled the trigger on Lawson getting surgery immediately after being drafted, there would have been a chance for the rookie to be in the lineup in Week 1.
Buffalo knew about Lawson's pre-existing shoulder condition and hoped that the first round pick could get through his rookie season before having surgery done. Now, that decision is looking foolish as their delay is going to keep Lawson off the field for at least three weeks longer than he would have missed if the surgery had been done immediately.
No one knows just how much time Lawson will end up missing at this point due to shoulder surgery, but Buffalo dropped the ball by not making an immediate call.