ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Just over 10 months ago, Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White made his return to football a year after tearing his left ACL. On Sunday, just four games into the 2023 season, White suffered yet another noncontact injury.
Bills coach Sean McDermott said after the game that White is still being evaluated. An MRI is set for Monday.
"He's been through a lot. And sometimes you wonder, right? Why things like that happen twice, you know, to someone," McDermott said. "I'm not saying what it is, what it isn't. I'm just saying like, you know, you just wonder why.
"Because you watch him and how hard he's worked to get back. And yeah, you know, I just, I know he's a man of faith. And I know how strong he is. And you know, he will, he will rebound."
White was attended to by athletic trainers and threw his helmet in frustration. The entire Bills sideline surrounded him before he was carted off into the locker room.
Safety Micah Hyde said that they were all around White just trying to talk to him.
"Sometimes, at that point, there's really nothing you can say," Hyde said. "It's kind of one of those situations that words can't really help Tre'Davious at that point. He understands we're there for him. We love him. And like I said, 2-7 is a big part of this team."
The crowd at Highmark Stadium shouted "Tre" as he was driven into the tunnel.
The injury comes less than two years after White tore his left ACL on Thanksgiving in 2021. It took the cornerback exactly a year to return to a game from that injury, but he has started every game this season after six regular-season and two playoff games last year. White had an interception in last week's victory over the Washington Commanders. Per Next Gen Stats, White allowed eight receptions on 15 targets, two touchdowns, two passes defensed and just 3.2 yars per attempt as the nearest defender in coverage this season.
"This game, people really don't understand, weighs on you," wide receiver Stefon Diggs said. "... With everything he's already been through, it's kind of tough. Keep him in your prayers. It's easy to say it's unfortunate, but football means the world to him. You can tell by how he works, how he grinds, how he approaches each and every day. He really doesn't care about the limelight; he cares about being the player and teammate he can be. ... At a time like this, it's rough."
McDermott's first draft pick with the Bills was White in 2017. Since then, White, 28, has started 81 games, totaling 18 interceptions and 67 passes defended. He is a two-time Pro Bowler and was named first-team All-Pro in 2019.
Being back to healthy to start a full season was a big and exciting step for the cornerback after a tough recovery.
"He personifies what it is to be a Buffalo Bill. His family is tremendous," an emotional McDermott said. "And he works as hard as anybody I've ever been around. And I love him.
"I mean, to see him on that field, the way he was hurting, is hard. It's hard to watch. But I'm so proud of the team and the way they rallied around him. And I know, like I said earlier, I know that he will rebound. He's just, he's too tough."
Bills cornerback Christian Benford also suffered a shoulder injury in the game and received an X-ray but was able to return in White's absence. Dane Jackson filled in for Benford when he first went out with injury and then played the rest of the game after serving as a backup and special teams contributor through the first three games of the season.
If Benford is healthy, he will be expected to continue to start alongside Jackson.
Kaiir Elam, the team's 2022 first-round pick, has been a healthy scratch through the first four games. He will be in position to get opportunities on the active game-day roster with White's injury.
The Bills' secondary is dealing with a variety of injuries as safety Jordan Poyer (knee) missed the game and an entire week of practice. Nickel corner Taron Johnson left briefly in the fourth quarter.
Despite the injuries, the defense kept the Dolphins in check and adjusted well after giving up back-to-back touchdown drives to start the game. Miami had four straight three-and-out drives after its early success. The Bills forced two turnovers -- a fumble forced by linebacker Matt Milano and recovered by linebacker Terrel Bernard and an interception by Hyde -- and sacked Tagovailoa four times.
Miami was successful on just 3 of 10 third-down conversion attempts and scored only six points after the first drive of the second quarter. The Dolphins gained an average of 6.8 yards per play, down from a 7.6 average over Weeks 1-3.
"Ultimately, we're a defense that tries not to give up big plays," Hyde said. "Everybody can say that around the league, but we've been successful doing that since 2017. So, you know, we're going to stick to our DNA. And from there, let's roll the ball out and see what happens. So that's kind of our mindset."
While answering a question about his own return to game action Sunday, safety Damar Hamlin made a point of talking about White.
"In Cincinnati, I was in the hospital [recovering from cardiac arrest], watching [White] sit at this same podium and speaking so highly of me. I watched him come in the building every day and, you know, work his ass off," Hamlin said. "He's probably the hardest worker on the team.
"And just being a young player, they always tell you, find some older guys to find yourself through about routine, about the way they carry themselves, by just who they are, who they become over the league. ... From a distance, I admire his work ethic, I admire who he is as a person, his consistency, his discipline, everything. So we're with him, for sure."