Bucs Insiders Give Key Insight on Julio Jones’ Injury Status

Julio Jones

Getty Julio Jones showed up on Wednesday's injury report with a knee injury.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ injury report could cause anxiety for fans amid six starters and eight players overall listed on the Wednesday, September 14 report.

Bucs insider Greg Auman of The Athletic noted that doesn’t mean all of those players will sit out Week 2 at New Orleans. However, both Auman and Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times called star wide receiver Julio Jones’ knee injury on the report as one “to monitor“, especially over the “next 48 hours” as Auman noted. Jones didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice.

He played the whole game in Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, September 11. Jones looked like his old self with three receptions for 69 yards and two rushes for 17 yards.

Injuries hobbled Jones in recent years with recurrent hamstring strains in 2021 and 2020 per Draft Sharks Injury Guide. He has a relatively clean knee injury history. His only knee injury, a strain, occurred during his college career at Alabama in 2009 per Draft Sharks.

Auman noted that Bucs head coach Todd Bowles didn’t express concern over any injured receivers on the report besides Chris Godwin. The former Penn State star injured a hamstring at Dallas where he caught three passes for 35 yards amid his return from an ACL tear.

Five Bucs receivers overall showed up on the Wednesday injury report. Russell Gage didn’t practice due a hamstring injury after catching two passes for 13 yards at Dallas. Breshad Perriman practiced in limited capacity due to a knee injury after getting targeted three times against Dallas.

Mike Evans also showed up on the report as a limited participant in practice due to a calf injury. Evans lit things up against the Cowboys with five receptions for 71 yards and one-handed touchdown.

Other players on the injury report included running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring), tackle Donovan Smith (elbow), tackle Tristan Wirfs (abdomen), cornerback Zyon McCollum (hamstring). Of those players, only Smith and McCollum didn’t practice.

Bowles acknowledged a chance of Smith and Godwin returning for the Saints game.

“They’re just getting treatment and we’ll see how it goes at the end of the week,” Bowles told the media on Wednesday.

Fournette Practices Despite Hamstring Injury

Fournette showed up on the Wednesday injury report due to a hamstring injury.

He practiced in limited capacity on Wednesday. Fournette started the season strong with 127 yards rushing on 21 carries, plus two receptions for 10 yards at Dallas.

Rookie running back Rachaad White saw snaps late in the Dallas game, but Auman noted that the Bucs just wanted reps for the second-string rookie. Auman added that Fournette “seemed fine” at practice on Wednesday.

Bowles didn’t mention Fournette’s status during the press conference. Instead, Bowles doubled down on the legitimacy of Fournette’s hard hit against Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons.

“I don’t make [anything] of it. It was a legal hit,” Bowles said.

Wirfs Wants More Running Against Saints

Wirfs, who practiced in limited capacity on Wednesday due to an abdomen injury from the preseason, wants to see Fournette and company run the ball more against New Orleans.

“I think that’s a big thing. Lenny carries the rock like a freaking horse, so that’s what we want to do,” Wirfs told reporters on Wednesday. “That’s what we want to do — all it does is help us. It kind of slows down their pass rush and that’s what these guys this coming week are good at. The more we can hit the ground running, it will be better for everybody.”

Wirfs helped the Bucs garner 152 yards rushing at Dallas as he played all 62 offensive snaps. He acknowledged the challenge of New Orleans’ pass rush, and emphasized the importance of keeping quarterback Tom Brady upright.

“If we’re throwing the ball a ton, we’re just playing into their hands,” Wirfs said.

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