Da'Quan Bowers returns practice, closer to returning to games
Da’Quan Bowers didn’t toss and turn with anxiety before waking Wednesday morning.
He was confident in his ability to return to practice less than six months after rupturing his right Achilles tendon, so there was no trepidation before taking the field at One Buc Place.
“I slept great,” he said.
Wednesday was just one of many steps in this arduous process, but coming back as quickly as he has is a great indicator Bowers could be a factor for the Bucs before the season ends.
“I knew it would be somewhere around this time,” Bowers said of his return. “It’s all about how you attack your rehab, and I attacked my rehab pretty forcefully. I didn’t baby it. All I could think about was trying to get back to play this season.”
In addition to getting into football shape, Bowers faces another challenge as he attempts to acclimate himself to the Bucs’ new defensive scheme. He’s been a regular participant in meetings and has been at the facility and around his coaches every day, but not being on the field until now means he has some real ground to make up.
“I was definitely in every meeting, but there are some things in meetings you just can’t get until you have the shots fired at you,” Bowers said. “A lot of those things are just adjustments that I would miss because I wasn’t out there.”
Coach Greg Schiano won't yet commit to a timeline with Bowers, but the Bucs have 21 days to assess whether he's ready to be placed on the active roster. Schiano did make it clear Bowers won't play on Sunday versus the Saints. The Bucs have a short week after that, heading to Minnesota for a Thursday night contest on Nov. 25.
As to what ultimately will determine whether Bowers is ready for game action, the Bucs' 2011 second-round pick said he’s first looking for “consistency. I just want to be consistent with everything. The playbook, the plays, taking coaching, conditioning and most of all, my Achilles. It’s just all about how that thing feels.”