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Bucs receiver Mike Evans returns to practice

The team’s top wideout hadn’t practiced since last Sunday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during training camp at the Advent Health Training Center at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, August 6, 2019. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during training camp at the Advent Health Training Center at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, August 6, 2019. OCTAVIO JONES | Times [ OCTAVIO JONES | TIMES | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Aug. 26, 2019
Updated Aug. 26, 2019

TAMPA — He won’t play in the Bucs’ preseason finale in Dallas on Thursday, but wide receiver Mike Evans returned to practice on Monday, signaling he should be ready for the team’s regular season opener on Sept. 8.

Evans hasn't practiced since last Sunday, when he pulled up after making a long pass down the sideline holding his left quad area.

He didn't play in last week's third preseason game against the Cleveland Browns and played in just one series in each of the first two preseason games. In those two games, he made no catches and had just one pass thrown his way.

Starters won’t play in Thursday’s final preseason game against the Cowboys, so Evans wasn’t expected to play anyway. The return to practice, however, gives him plenty of time to round in to form before the Bucs host San Francisco in Week 1 on Sept. 8

Head coach Bruce Arians hoped that two other key starters, inside linbacker Lavonte David and defensive tackle Vita Vea, would be ready by the opener. Neither has returned to practice yet, but there won't be more clarity on their statuses until the middle of next week.

David had minor arthroscopic knee surgery and Vea suffered an LCL sprain.

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.