Two days before the Bucs play host to the Patriots, they're still without starting linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, who were not practicing Tuesday and will likely miss another game.
Alexander (hamstring) has been out since the Bucs' season opener, while David (ankle) was injured late in the second game, at Minnesota, with both missing Sunday's win against the Giants. In their continued absence, the Bucs will again rely on rookie Kendell Beckwith and backup Adarius Glanton, who both played every defensive snap against New York, combining for 15 tackles.
One promising development Tuesday had safety T.J. Ward practicing for the first time after missing Sunday's game with a hip injury. Ward said the week off helped his recovery, and he'd know better about his chances to play Thursday after seeing how he felt after testing the hip in practice Tuesday.
Safety Keith Tandy, who has started the first three games, did not practice Tuesday, still limited by the hip he injured in the third quarter Sunday. Tandy had said Monday that he could have returned to the game and felt fine to play this week, but is unlikely to if he hasn't practiced.
If both Tandy and Ward can't play Thursday, the Bucs would likely need to make a roster move to have a third healthy safety available -- that would likely mean promoting Isaiah Johnson from the practice squad to make his NFL debut. The Bucs could also use special-teams captain Josh Robinson, who played one snap Sunday at safety.
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