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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

With Michael Bennett down, look for more Da'Quan Bowers



Michael Bennett confirmed today what we first told you last night: The Bucs' starting left defensive end is likely to miss time with his worsening groin injury.

Bennett said he had to leave Sunday's game at Green Bay after the injury became too burdensome to play through.

"It just got to the point where I just couldn’t go," he said. "I had to go sit down. I could barely get down in my stance. I couldn’t move my legs right. . . They’ve told me I probably need to sit out a couple of weeks. That’s the only way you get healthy with this thing: rest."

It's an unfortunate development for Bennett, who was having a solid season in what has otherwise been an undistinguished career. But this news creates an opportunity for another intriguing player: Rookie Da'Quan Bowers. Coaches told him recently that he'd likely see more playing time in the weeks to come, but now it likely will be more action than Bowers bargained for.

Bowers admits he might not have been ready for this earlier, but now he feels prepared.

"Mental sharpness," was what he cited as his biggest area of improvement this season. "It's not much physical but being mentally prepared each week. That's half the battle, just knowing the ins and outs."

Bowers, a projected early first-round pick in April, slid to the Bucs in the middle of the second round after concerns about his offseason knee surgery mounted.

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 3:20pm]


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