TAMPA — Turns out the Bucs may benefit from playing the last NFC wild-card game on Monday night.
Although overall the healthiest they have been since the start of the season, the team could use the time to heal up some important players in the center of the offensive line.
Starting left guard Nick Leverett missed a second day of practice Saturday nursing knee/shoulder injuries. Center Robert Hainsey has been limited this week after leaving last Sunday’s loss at Atlanta with a hamstring strain. And there has been no decision on whether to activate center Ryan Jensen from injured reserve in time for Monday’s game against Dallas.
“Haven’t ruled anybody out,” coach Todd Bowles said of the center position. “Everybody is available. We’ll see what the health is and we’ll talk about it and make that decision.”
As for Leverett? “They’re all sore,” Bowles said. “They’ve got two more days, or two and a half more days to go, we’ll give it time and we’ve probably got to make that decision (Monday).”
Bowles was asked whether the Bucs could activate Jensen from injured reserve and move Hainsey to guard if Leverett is unable to play.
“Still too early,” Bowles said.
The Bucs have been fortunate to get most of their injured players back this week, a list that includes tackle Donovan Smith, defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis, safety Mike Edwards, receiver Julio Jones, safeties Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal, and outside linebacker Carl Nassib.
Monday will mark the seventh playoff game in three seasons since Tom Brady took over as quarterback in 2020.
“Playoffs are never calm,” Bowles said. “You always get up for them. You’re always energized about them and you go from there.”
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