TAMPA — Bucs running back Giovani Bernard has been designated to return from injured reserve and will begin his 21-day practice window.
Bernard, who went on injured reserve Sept. 21 after sustaining an ankle injury in the Bucs’ Week 2 win at New Orleans, has missed nine weeks. The Bucs now have a three-week window in which Bernard can practice with the team. He can be activated at any point during that time, meaning he could play as early as Sunday’s game at Cleveland.
Bernard saw no action on offense in the two games he played this season and was used exclusively on special teams.
Last year, in his first season with the Bucs, Bernard rushed eight times for 58 yards and caught 23 passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns.
The Bucs have a fairly crowded backfield with Leonard Fournette, Rachaad White and Ke’Shawn Vaughn. But Bernard’s pass-catching ability could be an asset for the remaining seven games of the regular season. Fournette suffered a hip pointer late in the Bucs’ win over Seattle and did not practice Monday. Since it was a bonus day, no injury report was released and his condition will be updated Wednesday.
Also of note Monday: Receiver Russell Gage (hamstring), guard Luke Goedeke (ankle), linebacker J.J. Russell (hamstring) participated in what amounted to a bonus practice. None of them made the trip to Germany. Fournette (hip pointer) did not practice. Safety Logan Ryan, who still is on injured reserve, worked with trainers on the side.
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