Bucs' Mike Evans active for today’s opener against the Saints

After testing his sore hamstring at the Superdome, the receiver is giving it a go in the season opener.
Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans is a vital part of Tampa Bay's offense now that Tom Brady is under center.
Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans is a vital part of Tampa Bay's offense now that Tom Brady is under center. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Sept. 13, 2020|Updated Sept. 13, 2020

NEW ORLEANS — After testing out his sore hamstring at the Superdome on Sunday, Mike Evans will be in the lineup for the Bucs' season opener against the Saints.

Evans was among the first players on the field after arriving Sunday and did some stretching, high-stepping and finally about three 10- to 15-yard sprints at close to full speed under the watchful eye of Bucs trainer Bobby Slater. He didn’t appear to have any problems before heading into the locker room.

How long he is able to play is a separate issue. Evans sustained a hamstring strain last week when he “twisted” awkwardly running a route in practice. He did not work out Tuesday throughThursday, but returned to participate in individual drills in practice on Friday.

The Bucs upgraded his condition from doubtful to questionable Saturday. Evans missed the final three games of 2019 with a hamstring pull, although this injury is unrelated, coach Bruce Arians said.

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It was feared a condensed training camp, with as many as five practices without a day off, may lead to more soft tissue injuries for players who do a lot of running. In fact, rookies such as receiver Tyler Johnson and cornerback Parnell Motley experienced those injuries and missed some time.

The Bucs feel fortunate there weren’t more and credit their sports science department for preventing them. The Bucs were able to monitor players' workload and give Arians recommendations about certain position groups in order to get them recovery time.

In fact, Evans may have been the only veteran to miss time with a hamstring injury. Rookies are frequently prone to them during training camp and this offseason they had no monitored workout program.

The Bucs wanted to be careful with Evans and err on the side of caution rather than risk playing him and possibly lose him for four to five weeks if he aggravated the injury.

But they believe it was more a “tweak” than an actual hamstring pull and felt more at ease after Evans tested in Sunday.