TAMPA — Believed to be close to returning from an ankle injury as recently as last week, Bucs veteran receiver Antonio Brown isn’t expected back for Sunday’s key divisional game at Atlanta.
Coach Bruce Arians said he doubts Brown will return to practice before the week is over, citing foot injuries beyond the ankle sprain. Brown, the subject of an NFL investigation into allegations that he obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccination card, has been sidelined the last five games.
He wasn’t seen at the portion of Wednesday’s practice open to reporters. ESPN’s Adam Schefter, citing an unnamed source, later tweeted Brown is expected to miss the next two games.
“It was more a different injury than originally thought,” Arians said following practice. “A sprain, there were some issues in the heel — that’s what he’s having problems with.”
When asked if he would have considered placing Brown on injured reserve had he known the injury would linger, Arians said, “possibly.” In early November, the Bucs added one of its former receivers, Breshad Perriman, to the practice squad. Perriman since has exhausted both his practice-squad elevations.
Brown, 33, had 23 catches for 280 yards and three touchdowns in the three-game stretch prior to being injured. Fortunately for the team, fellow speedster Scotty Miller recently returned from injured reserve, logging eight total snaps in Sunday’s 38-31 victory at Indianapolis.
Also not practicing Wednesday were rookie kick returner Jaelon Darden (concussion protocol), safety/slot corner Mike Edwards (knee), defensive lineman Will Gholston (wrist) and guard Aaron Stinnie (knee). Stinnie, injured in Sunday’s victory, was placed on injured reserve by Wednesday afternoon.
On the encouraging side, inside linebacker Devin White, who played through a quad/hip injury Sunday, practiced Wednesday and looked fine, Arians said.
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