Bucs take advantage of new injured reserve rule
The Bucs’ decision to place cornerback Anthony Gaitor on a new injured list on Tuesday was the first of its kind for the team, allowing the club to take advantage of some much-needed flexibility introduced by the NFL this season.
With Gaitor classified as injured reserve-designated for return, it means the second-year player will spend at least eight weeks on the sideline but may return to practice after six weeks. The move also implies that Gaitor’s hamstring injury is considered “major” according to league guidelines, meaning he is incapable of playing for at least six weeks from the date of his injury.
Gaitor practiced on Monday, the first workout for the Bucs since their return from the bye week. But it’s not clear how much he actually did. It’s also possible coaches and trainers determined from his return to practice that he was still far from ready to play. Gaitor had been rehabbing up until Monday, so there hadn’t been an effort made to gauge his readiness in football activities.
Another element of this new rule is that it can be used just once per team per season. So, if the Bucs have any additional major injuries in the coming weeks (there are 12 weeks left in the season), they’ll be unable to take advantage of this again.
Overall, the rule has been well-received in the NFL. It addresses a shortcoming of the PUP list, which is only available to players who enter the season with an injury. For those injured during training camp or after the start of the regular season, teams must make the difficult decision either to carry such players for weeks on end on the active roster or place them on injured reserve with no chance of return.
But this rule provides a nice middle-ground option that the Bucs saw fit to avail themselves of.