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Bucs return to Tampa with a potentially healthier offense in tow

Chris Godwin, Julio Jones and Donovan Smith all practiced again Friday.
Bucs coach Todd Bowles and the team was set to return Friday afternoon to the bay area after practicing the last three days at the Dolphins facility in Miami Gardens.
Bucs coach Todd Bowles and the team was set to return Friday afternoon to the bay area after practicing the last three days at the Dolphins facility in Miami Gardens. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Sep. 30|Updated Oct. 1

After three days of game preparation at the Dolphins facility in Miami Gardens, the Bucs Friday afternoon headed back to the bay area humbled, hopeful and perhaps a bit healthier.

“A lot of people don’t know what they’re walking back into, depending on where you live at,” said coach Todd Bowles, whose team relocated to the east coast Tuesday to avoid the effects of Hurricane Ian. “So we’re going to kind of assess that as we get there.”

Bowles’ team practiced Friday at the Dolphins complex before busing back home. The plan is for the team to hold its normal meetings and walk-through practice Saturday at AdventHealth Training Center before Sunday night’s Super Bowl 55 rematch against the Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium.

“We definitely want some normalcy,” receiver Mike Evans said Thursday.

“Guys have adjusted well during this process. We’re here in Miami practicing and doing meetings and things like that, with our families at the hotel. It’s been cool, everybody is handling it well.”

All signs continue to indicate Evans could enter that matchup with his top two pass-catching peers available.

Bowles said Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee), both sidelined since the season opener, practiced on a limited basis for the third day in a row Friday and will be game-time decisions. So will left tackle Donovan Smith (elbow), who also has worked out in a limited capacity in Miami Gardens.

All officially are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. The most iffy of the trio appears to be Jones, reportedly dealing with a torn posterior cruciate ligament that won’t need surgery.

“He did some limited things in practice and looked good,” Bowles said. “With Julio, it’s all about how he feels the next two days as to whether he’s going to play on Sunday. Sometimes he has setbacks, sometimes he doesn’t. So we’ll wait ‘til Sunday to make that decision to be sure.”

Doubtful for Sunday is veteran receiver Breshad Perriman, who had three catches for 44 yards in last weekend’s 14-12 loss to the Packers but is dealing with knee and hamstring injuries. Bowles said barring a “miraculous recovery” before kickoff, Perriman won’t play.

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