TAMPA — The Bucs may not have to worry as much about how they plan to protect Tom Brady in Sunday’s NFC division playoff game against the Rams.
All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs, who could not finish the 31-15 wild-card win over the Eagles due to an ankle injury, was suited up and had no discernible limp when he walked out with a group of offensive linemen for practice Friday.
That group included center Ryan Jensen, who also injured an ankle last Sunday.
Coach Bruce Arians conveyed cautious optimism about the pair’s status after practice, indicating he likely won’t make a final decision on the two until 90 minutes before kickoff, when both teams must release their list of inactive players for the contest. Both are listed as questionable on the team’s final injury report.
“They both moved around in individual drills,” Arians said. “We didn’t put them in team stuff so they wouldn’t get tripped or anything. It’s still 48 hours and they’re progressing nicely.”
Jensen played every snap against the Eagles and seems the more likely of the two to remain in the lineup against the Rams. Wirfs was the bigger concern; he had a boot on his ankle earlier this week and had not practiced until he showed up Friday.
Running back Leonard Fournette, who has been on injured reserve the past four games due to a hamstring issue, practiced again and looks as if he may play Sunday. The Bucs have until 4 p.m. Saturday to remove Fournette from IR.
Backup Ronald Jones (ankle), however, still has not practiced, joining receiver Breshad Perriman as the only two not to participate in Friday’s workout. Arians said Perriman has “a torn muscle in his side.” Jones and Perriman were ruled out of Sunday’s game.
That means the Bucs will have to return to Cyril Grayson, who is questionable with a hamstring injury, or practice squad receiver John Brown.
“(Fournette) looks fine, he looks good,” Arians added. “He didn’t have the setback he had last week, so we’ll wait and see.”
Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, who was a full participant in practice Thursday, continued to work with a trainer during the portion open to the media Friday.
Murphy-Bunting and Jason Pierre Paul, who was excused from practice for a personal matter, both are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.
“John Brown has looked really good,” said Arians, who coached Brown for four seasons in Arizona. “He fit right in, we knew he had a lot of recall of what we were doing. So yeah, we’ll see if we’re going to make that move, because Cyril practiced today some and looked OK.”
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