Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Bucs

Bucs prepare to be without Chris Godwin, Sean Murphy-Bunting

The team will know more about the severity of their hamstring/groin injuries following MRI scans.
Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin stays on the field after an injury during the second half of Sunday's game in Denver.
Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin stays on the field after an injury during the second half of Sunday's game in Denver. [ JACK DEMPSEY | AP ]
Published Sep. 28, 2020

TAMPA — The Bucs won’t know the severity of injuries to two key players — wide receiver Chris Godwin and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting — in Sunday’s 28-10 win over Denver until they’re able to read MRIs scheduled to be performed on Monday.

But the team has to prepare for the possibility of being without both when it hosts the Chargers this weekend at Raymond James Stadium.

“We’ll know more after we get the film back on the MRIs and see how it goes,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said of Godwin’s hamstring injury and Murphy-Bunting’s hamstring/groin injury.

Hamstring injuries are unpredictable, and they typically don’t heal quickly without rest. Earlier this season, wide receiver Mike Evans didn’t practice for two weeks to ensure he’d be able to play, and last season both Evans and Godwin had their seasons cut short by hamstring injuries.

Godwin, who returned Sunday after missing the previous game against the Panthers with concussion symptoms, scored the Bucs' first touchdown. He had five catches for 64 yards before leaving in the third quarter after he was holding his right hamstring.

Godwin was primed for a 100-catch season last year before missing the final two games with a hamstring injury.

With Godwin out — and Justin Watson not playing with a shoulder injury — Scotty Miller had a team-high 83 receiving yards on three catches. The absences also meant more snaps for tight end Rob Gronkowski, who played a season-high 63 snaps after averaging 48 over the first two games. Gronkowski had his best game as a Buc with a team-high six catches for 48 yards.

Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (10) runs after making a catch as Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (23) give chase during the first half.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (10) runs after making a catch as Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (23) give chase during the first half. [ JUSTIN EDMONDS | AP ]

Murphy-Bunting exited Sunday’s game with what the team called groin and hamstring injuries after playing just 19 snaps.

Second-round pick Antoine Winfield Jr. shifted from safety to the slot to fill Murphy-Bunting’s spot at the nickel-back position, and Mike Edwards saw his first defensive snaps of the season filling Winfield’s spot at safety. Cornerback Jamel Dean also played a season-high 55 snaps in Murphy-Bunting’s absence.

“Hopefully we don’t get another injury where we start getting thinner and thinner,” Arians said. “But Mike (had) a great interception. I knew he’d play well — he’s been waiting for his shot. (Winfield) is an excellent nickel, so we don’t miss too much. Obviously, we lose a really good player in Sean, but we have capable backups there.”

Welcoming back the home crowd

Arians said he’s excited to see fans in the stands again at Raymond James Stadium this Sunday for the first time this season.

The Bucs played their first home game in front of no fans and had initially planned on playing without them again Sunday against the Chargers. But after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Phase 3 reopening last week, the Bucs decided to have a soft opening for fans this week, allowing the team’s longest-tenured season-ticket holders the chance to attend the game.

Stay updated on the Buccaneers

Stay updated on the Buccaneers

Subscribe to our free Bucs RedZone newsletter

We’ll deliver a roundup of news and commentary on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers weekly during the season.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Capacity for Sunday’s game is expected to be no more than 10,000. It will increase to about 25 percent (around 16,250) starting with the Oct. 18 home game against the Packers.

“It’s going to be great (for) the ones that can get in,” Arians said. “I know how excited our fans are. You see it all around town. To hopefully get more and more each week, keeping them safe and knowing how to keep them safe. Hopefully, the ones that come in are smart enough to keep themselves safe so we continue to add more and more fans in the stadium.”

Quote of the Day

“Once you get there, you want to stay there. We got two in a row — let’s get three in a row.”

— Arians, on his team currently sitting in first place in the NFC South with a 2-1 record

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

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge