Even as some prominent Bucs appear set to return from injury, some promising ones may be replacing them on the figurative shelf as the playoffs commence.
Following his team’s walk-through Wednesday morning, coach Bruce Arians said receiver Cyril Grayson (hamstring) and Ronald Jones (ankle) are “doubtful” for Sunday’s home playoff opener against the Eagles. Outside linebacker Anthony Nelson, who has recorded a sack in each of the last three games, also is dealing with an ankle injury, Arians said.
“I’ve got my fingers crossed (on Nelson), because he’s been really, really good,” Arians said.
The news on Grayson, Jones and Nelson — all of whom played significant roles down the stretch for an injury-besieged lineup — coincided with the team’s announcement that veterans Shaquil Barrett (knee), Leonard Fournette (hamstring) and Lavonte David (foot) have begun their 21-day practice window. All are eligible to come off injured reserve at any time during that span.
Arians said Monday he was hopeful of Fournette and Barrett returning this week, with David’s status more iffy.
“It was just a walk-through, so I really don’t know anything about any of them yet,” Arians said Wednesday. “We’ll know more (Thursday).”
Arians also indicated edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul remains set to play for the first time in nearly a month. Pierre-Paul, who turned 33 on New Year’s Day, has been playing with a torn rotator cuff most of the season. Even on weeks when he has played, the former USF star rarely has practiced, logging only mental reps to preserve his shoulder for Sundays.
“He’s not totally healthy, but he’s healthier than he would’ve been playing,” Arians said. “That was the plan all along, to get him as healthy as we possibly could for the playoffs.”
Contact Joey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls
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