Buccaneers Receiver Update on Injured Pro Bowler

Todd Bowles

Getty Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles awaits more clarity on starting center Ryan Jensen's future.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles acknowledged a new hurdle to learning when or if Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen can return this year.

“The swelling hasn’t gone down and they’re not exactly sure on the timing,” Bowles told the media on Sunday, August 14. “He may or may not come back, if at all. They said in the next week — we should know something by this week.”

“Because we didn’t have an answer, I didn’t give a comment,” Bowles added. “I wasn’t trying to be mean or anything. They just told me to wait until the swelling goes down because it could go one of two ways and we are just waiting for it.”

Dr. David Chao of Pro Football Doc later called out that assessment on Twitter, saying that “swelling never prevented a diagnosis” for an injury. Chao, who previously served as the then-San Diego Chargers physician from 1997 to 2013, noted that the Bucs “don’t know or the team doesn’t want to say” and there’s “no obligation” on the team’s part to say everything.

Jensen injured his knee on July 28, and Bowles originally said he would miss months. The Bucs turned to second-year lineman Robert Hainsey as the starting center. Hainsey and fellow center Nick Leverett played snaps in the August 13 preseason opener against Miami, a 26-24 loss.

“We’re looking at them both,” Bowles said. “Both did a half-decent job. Both of them have got things to work on. For the first game out for those guys starting and playing together, I thought they did a good job.”

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Bucs Dealt Injuries in Preseason Opener

The Bucs sustained three injuries in the August 13 preseason game against the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium.

Linebacker Grant Stuard endured a hamstring injury and left the game. Known as “Mr. Irrelevant” from being the last pick in the 2021 draft, Stuard had a tackle in the loss against the Dolphins.

Running back Giovani Bernard injured his ankle against the Dolphins. Bernard left the game with 19 yards rushing on seven carries plus one reception on a 4-yard loss.

Linebacker Cam Gill also went down with a foot injury. Gill tallied four tackles, including two for a loss, plus a sack before exiting the game.

Backup Receivers Flash Amid Injuries

Bucs backup wide receivers made plays in the absence of injured starters Mike Evans and Russell Gage on August 13. Chris Godwin also didn’t play as the Bucs sat many of the starters in general.

Jaelon Dardon grabbed a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Blaine Gabbert in the first quarter. Rookie Jerreth Sterns caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kyle Trask in the third quarter.

Tyler Johnson led all Bucs receivers with six catches for 73 yards. Rookie Kaylon Geiger caught four passes for 52 yards, and Sterns had four receptions for 51 yards.

“Sterns and Geiger both showed up, and (Johnson) showed up in the first half,” Bowles told the media on August 13. “Those guys can play. Like I said, we got a lot of tough decisions at receiver.”

“It’s a lot of good film to watch,” Bowles added.


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