TAMPA — The Bucs’ latest injury report didn’t feature any new additions, but wide receiver Mike Evans (calf) didn’t participate in practice Thursday after being limited the previous day.
Receivers Julio Jones (knee) and Chris Godwin (hamstring), along with tackle Donovan Smith (hyperextended elbow), remained out of practice for a second consecutive day. Receiver Russell Gage (hamstring) was a limited participant after not practicing Wednesday.
Running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring), tackle Tristan Wirfs (abdomen), receiver Breshad Perriman (knee) and cornerback Zyon McCollum (hamstring) also were limited. Quarterback Tom Brady was a full participant after having Wednesday as a rest day.
Head coach Todd Bowles didn’t speak with reporters Thursday, as offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and pass game coordinator/inside linebackers coach Larry Foote were made available. But Bowles said Wednesday he didn’t have any concerns about injuries to receivers besides Godwin at that point.
“Hopefully, you’ve got veteran guys that know how to miss days and still show up for the games,” Leftwich said when asked about his experience with veteran players, like the current group of wideouts, missing practice. “Because as the season gets longer … there’s elements of that in football.”
For McCollum, Thursday marked a return from an injury that has sidelined him since the joint practices with Tennessee. The rookie from Sam Houston stretched with the team during the portion of practice open to media.
Which Buc helps prep for Hill? ‘Nobody’
Foote said there were a couple of suggestions for which in-house player could help the Bucs prepare for versatile Saints tight end Taysom Hill.
“But we laughed at (the suggestions),” he said, declining to reveal the options.
The reality, Foote said, is that there’s “nobody on campus” who can help. Most of the preparation for Hill, therefore, comes in the meeting room. The Bucs are used to facing Hill as he alternates between a variety of roles, so that familiarity helps with the teaching.
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Hill has thrown for 258 yards (17-for-31), rushed for 110 (4.40 yards per carry), caught three passes for 37, returned one kickoff for 12 and even made a special teams tackle in eight games against Tampa Bay. The Bucs have kept him out of the end zone, though.
“Anytime he’s on the field, he causes a problem …” Bowles said Wednesday. “Obviously, we haven’t handled him well, because they won almost every game — six out of seven, at least — and he’s gonna be a challenge.”
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