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No surgery for Sean Murphy-Bunting, Bucs coach Bruce Arians says

But another cornerback, Carlton Davis III, is a late addition to the injury report
Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (23), who dislocated his right elbow in the season opener against the Cowboys, isn't expected to need surgery, coach Bruce Arians said Friday.
Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (23), who dislocated his right elbow in the season opener against the Cowboys, isn't expected to need surgery, coach Bruce Arians said Friday. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Sep. 17
Updated Sep. 17

TAMPA — Turns out, the dislocated elbow Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting suffered in the season opener only looked season-ending.

Reality is, he could return at some point this fall.

Coach Bruce Arians said Friday that Murphy-Bunting likely won’t need surgery, though he wouldn’t speculate as to when the third-year starter will return.

“It’s anybody’s guess as far as how long,” Arians said. “But there’s not going to be any surgery involved. We’re hoping we can get him back some time.”

In terms of the secondary, the uplifting news ended there. The Bucs’ other starting cornerback, Carlton Davis III, was added to Friday’s injury report with a hamstring injury, and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s home game against the Falcons.

Arians didn’t mention Davis’ injury during a brief Zoom session with reporters Friday. He did say, however, that edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul, who didn’t participate in Thursday’s practice due to an unspecified hand injury and got a predetermined day off Friday, is good to go for Sunday.

“He’s fine,” Arians said. “He took a veteran day off (Friday) with three or four other guys.”

Murphy-Bunting suffered the injury in the first quarter of last week’s 31-29 win against the Cowboys. His right arm appeared to get entangled between Dallas receiver CeeDee Lamb and Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. on Lamb’s touchdown catch from Dak Prescott.

Jamel Dean replaced him and struggled against a Cowboys attack that exploited the perimeter at will. Dean is expected to remain Murphy-Bunting’s replacement, with utility secondary player Ross Cockrell, safety Mike Edwards and even Winfield available at slot corner.

If Davis can’t go, the Bucs could turn to NFL journeyman Dee Delaney, who made the team out of training camp despite being out of football in 2020. Former Florida Atlantic standout Herb Miller, solid down the stretch of the 2020 season, remains on the practice squad, and veteran Pierre Desire was added to the practice squad recently.

“It’s a week-to-week thing, so we’ve been in positions like this before,” said safety Jordan Whitehead, who makes his 2021 debut this week after rehabbing a pulled hamstring.

“Next guy steps up. We’ve got ... a lot of players who can do a lot of things and we know that are going to make plays. We’re definitely going to miss Sean out there; there’s only one Sean. But this is the NFL, you’ve got to come in and you can’t miss a beat.”

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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