The injury bug struck the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp again on Wednesday, August 10, with two starters going down.
Wide receiver Russell Gage sustained a leg injury amid running a route, and he walked off the practice field with help as shown on video by MrBucsNation. Bucs head coach Todd Bowles had no further update on Gage’s status after practice.
Tampa Bay had another injury scare in practice with center Robert Hainsey going down and getting carted off the field per Pewter Report. Hainsey only had cramps and began walking again according to a source via ESPN’s Jenna Laine.
“I think he’s going to be alright,” Bucs running back Leonard Fournette told the media on Wednesday. “I mean, its camp. [It’s] not going to be perfect. You get nicks and bruises, but I’d rather have them now than going into the season later on in the season and guys get like that. We went through that last year, so [we’re] definitely not trying to go down that path again.”
For Gage, he came into training camp off an undisclosed injury that caused him to miss minicamp in June. The Bucs acquired Gage in free agency for a three-year, $30 million deal after his 770-yard, four-touchdown season in 2021 with the Atlanta Falcons.
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How Gage Loss Could Impact Bucs
Gage going down could hamper an already injury-riddled Bucs receiving corps.
Mike Evans injured his hamstring on August 5, and Bowles called it “day to day” on August 6. Breshad Perriman left practice with a leg injury on August 2 and hasn’t practiced since. Chris Godwin just returned to practice following his ACL tear from last year.
The Bucs signed Gage to help with depth amid Godwin’s injury and Antonio Brown‘s departure. Gage delivered early in training camp with Bowles impressed by his progress.
Bowles said Gage is “a guy that flashes and shows quickness and fluidity and everything else that I’ve seen” during a July 29 press conference.
Tampa Bay has more depth beyond the aforementioned players with the addition of Julio Jones and returning veterans Cyril Grayson, Scotty Miller, Jaelon Darden, and Tyler Johnson. Newcomers Vyncint Smith, Jerreth Sterns, and Deven Thompkins have also impressed at moments.
Brady on Gage: ‘He Has to Have a Big Year’
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, who returned to the Bucs in March after a 41-day retirement, has high expectations for Gage.
“He has to have a big year,” Brady said about Gage on June 9. “That is a very important role for an offense that throws the ball as much as we do. … Russ, when he is out there, there is a lot of work that needs to go into the next six weeks to be ready. We’re challenged right out of the box this year. We’ve got really good teams [ahead].”
Gage caught up to speed when he finally took the field at training camp on July 27.
“It helps so much just being out there on offense, learning what Tom does, what he expects out of me and just kind of hitting the ground running,” Gage said on July 29. “Playing and getting that experience with guys is always the best way to learn and to get ahead of the game, ahead of the system. That’s been the biggest thing so far, I think.”
For now, Gage’s lofty expectations face a setback.