Bucs Get Key Updates on Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski

Brown and Gronkowski

Getty Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski both appeared at Buccaneers practice on Wednesday amid dealing with injuries.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers stars Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown both appeared at practice on Wednesday with one looking closer to a return while the other trended the wrong direction.

Gronkowski, who hasn’t played since Week 3 due to rib injuries and a punctured lung, practiced on Wednesday according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

Brown, who missed Sunday’s game due to injury, showed up with a crutch according to The Athletic’s Greg Auman. The star receiver has a sprained ankle per Auman.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians didn’t sound confident on when Brown will return.

“Shoot, with that injury, who knows?” Arians told the media per Pewter Report. “It could be [after the Week 9 bye], it could be a long time. It’s just wait and see how the foot [heals]. He’s still on a crutch. It’s still considered an ankle sprain, but it’s around his heel.”

As for Gronkowski, he was one of three injured starters who practiced. Linebacker Lavonte David and cornerback Richard Sherman were the others according to Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times.

“It was great,” Arians told the media via Knight. “They looked good, and obviously the guys that stepped in did a hell of a job, so now they’ve got to live up to their standard.”

Knight also caught a couple other promising signs on the injury front for the Bucs. He reported that injured cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, who is on injured reserve, ran sprints and that injured wide receiver Scotty Miller, who is also on injured serve, ran at practice, too.

Bucs Receiver Situation Without Brown Plus Gronkowski’s Questionable Status

Brown not playing on Sunday will make it incumbent for star receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to have big games. After those two, the Bucs have Tyler Johnson and Jaelon Darden.

Johnson, a second-year receiver from Minnesota, caught two passes for 16 yards against the Chicago Bears. He has nine receptions for 126 yards this season.

“Tyler has done a good job,” Bucs quarterback Tom Brady said of Johnson last week per USA Today’s Bucs Wire. “Everyone has a lot of confidence in Tyler. He does a good job out here whenever he gets his chance and he’s made a bunch of plays in games. It’s certainly not too big for him and I think he’s got a good attitude, a good work ethic. We’ve just got to keep all trying to get better together.”

Darden, a rookie for North Texas, just started playing in the past two weeks — mostly as a kick and punt returner. Arians expressed his confidence in the 5-8 rookie last week per USA Today’s Bucs Wire.

For tight ends, Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard stepped up in Gronkowski’s absence. Brate caught six passes for 67 yards in three of the games Gronkowski missed. Howard had a big Week 6 game against the Philadelphia Eagles with six catches for 49 yards and a touchdown.

Ndamukong Suh Among Defensive Players Out

Bucs defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh didn’t practice on Wednesday, Arians confirmed according to Auman. Arians said Suh’s sore knee didn’t seem serious, Auman noted.

Cornerback Dee Delaney ran little at practice per Knight but didn’t officially practice according to Buccaners.com’s Scott Smith. Delaney injured his ankle against the Bears but remains questionable for Sunday’s game at New Orleans.

Linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul also didn’t practice as a precaution because of nagging injuries according to Knight. Pierre-Paul played with broken fingers and a torn rotator cuff against Chicago.

“I think me and (Arians) are on the same plane,” Pierre-Paul said per Knight. “I’m out there mentally taking all the reps like I should, and that’s basically it.”