Less than 48 hours after snapping a two-game skid, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sidelined two key players in Mike Evans and Devin White for practice on Wednesday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians confirmed the news among other injury updates. White injured his quad, Arians told the media on Wednesday, though the linebacker finished Monday’s game against the New York Giants. Evans’ status didn’t come as a total shock since the wide receiver said his back felt “tight at the end (of the game)” during Monday’s postgame press conference.
Evans and White remain questionable for now for Sunday’s game at Indianapolis per ESPN, but three more days remain until the game. The Athletic’s Greg Auman noted that Evans and White’s status for Wednesday “doesn’t mean too much” since the team only had a walkthrough practice.
Arians also said wideout Antonio Brown and offensive lineman Ali Marpet were also sidelined. Brown hasn’t played since Week 6 due to an ankle injury, and Arians said Brown is “making progress” on Tuesday. Marpet sustained an oblique injury against the Giants, according to the Bucs on Monday, and Arians said on Tuesday it’s “wait and see” for Marpet in terms of playing at Indianapolis.
Of all the injuries, White may be the most urgent going into Week 12 because of the veteran’s run-stopping ability. Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor has been on fire of late with 473 yards and seven touchdowns in the past three games.
“He’ll be a hell of a challenge for our run defense,” Arians said on Tuesday.
Three Key Players Coming Back for Bucs
While a few injuries linger, the Bucs have signs of getting healthier, too.
“Vita should be ready to go. He was real, real close. With not having any practice last week, I didn’t really want to put him out there,” Arians said on Tuesday.
The Bucs also activated wide receiver Scotty Miller on Tuesday and designated cornerback Carlton Davis III to return from injured reserve on Wednesday. Miller endured a turf toe injury in Week 3 at Los Angeles, and Davis injured his quad in Week 4 at New England.
Arians said he wants to get Miller “rolling again” while Davis begins the 21-day practice window.
“Doubt he’ll be ready to play,” Arians said on Wednesday about Davis. “He needs to get some volume work.”
Recent Returning Players a Boost for Bucs
Tampa Bay received boosts from tight end Rob Gronkowski and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting returning from injury against the Giants. Gronkowski caught six passes for 71 yards on Monday, and Murphy-Bunting posted seven tackles and forced a fumble.
“‘Gronk’ is such a good blocker, but what he does in the middle of the field is huge for us,” Arians said on Tuesday.
Arians likewise enjoyed what he saw in Murphy-Bunting’s return.
“He used his arm, punched the ball out with that hand (and) created a fumble, so I think he should have a ton of confidence going into this week,” Arians said.