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Ronald Jones may have fractured pinkie vs. Vikings, Bruce Arians says

The third-year tailback finished the game, running for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Bucs running back Ronald Jones (27) is pushed out of bounds by Vikings strong safety Harrison Smith (22) during the fourth quarter of Sunday's 26-14 Tampa Bay triumph at Raymond James Stadium.
Bucs running back Ronald Jones (27) is pushed out of bounds by Vikings strong safety Harrison Smith (22) during the fourth quarter of Sunday's 26-14 Tampa Bay triumph at Raymond James Stadium. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Dec. 14, 2020
Updated Dec. 14, 2020

For the second time this season, the Bucs could have a significant skill player on the fractured finger list.

Tailback Ronald Jones may have fractured his pinkie finger early in Sunday’s 26-14 victory against the Vikings, coach Bruce Arians said Monday. Jones went the distance, collecting 80 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

“It happened earlier in the game,” Arians said. “He went back and played with it.”

“Whether they have to put a pin in it or not, we have to wait and see, and I don’t know what that would do. (Receiver) Chris (Godwin) played through it, and we’ll see what happens with him.”

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Godwin had several pins surgically inserted into his fractured left index finger on Oct. 27. He missed only one game (the Monday night victory against the Giants on Nov. 2) and has totaled 26 catches in the five games since his return.

If Jones is limited in any way (or even if he isn’t), Arians still has a decision looming on the other backs he’ll activate for the game-day roster. With free-agent acquisition Leonard Fournette inactive Sunday, veteran LeSean “Shady” McCoy logged his first extensive playing time in nearly two months, totaling 32 yards on four consecutive carries on the Bucs’ third touchdown drive.

“That’s something we’ll evaluate each week and see which best 47 (players) it is for that ball game to win,” Arians said.

Arians also lauded his defense for dominating in “situational football” Sunday despite the Vikings controlling the ball for more than 39 minutes.

While tailback Dalvin Cook ran for 102 yards, coordinator Todd Bowles’ blend of coverages helped contain the Vikings dangerous receiving tandem of Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson to 78 yards. Minnesota also converted only five times on 15 third-down tries.

“One of our major goals was not let Thielen or Jefferson get over the top,” Arians said.

“We’ll give up some runs to keep guys in front of us, so yeah, defensively we whipped them in situational football. They were really good in the red zone (coming in); defense and offense, we won both battles on both sides. We won third down. We got all those sacks (six). And our defense, we missed 14 tackles, that’s the only negative thing about the whole day.”