Forty-eight hours before the Bucs officially kick off into their second straight playoff series, all signs continue to point to renewal in their injury-beleaguered roster.
just not totally replenished.
After Friday’s late morning practice, coach Bruce Arians said inside linebacker Lavonte David and tailback Leonard Fournette – both eligible to come off injured reserve at any time – remain doubts for the game. Sunday’s playoff opener at 1 p.m. against the Eagles.
But things look more promising for outside linebackers Shaquil Barrett (knee) and Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), out two and three games, respectively.
“I feel pretty good with Shaq and JPP,” Arians told reporters via Zoom. “Lavonte will be the most debatable, along with Lenny.”
All four trained on Friday, with David (foot) and Fournette (hamstring) starting their 21-day training window on Wednesday. Barrett trained with a right knee brace.
“(Barrett) looked good,” Arians said Friday. “These things are so light, it’s amazing with the technology.”
As for David? “He did a bit today so we still have to wait and see how badly he hurts (Saturday) and how he feels on Sunday.”
At this point, the only two to miss Sunday’s game are receiver Cyril Grayson Jr. (hamstring) and tailback Ronald Jones II (ankle), Arians said. Half-back Giovani Bernard (hip, knee), who has also returned to training and is eligible to retire from IR at any time, could be in play on Sunday.
“Gio is pretty close too, so we’ll work it out,” Arians said. “So we should have three, maybe four backs dressed and ready to roll.”
David’s absence remained glaring, coinciding with the continued struggles of fellow inside linebacker Devin White (10 tackles in the last three games). The Bucs gave up 260 total rushing yards in their final two regular season games against the Jets 4-13 and the Panthers 5-12.
Elsewhere, auxiliary outside linebacker Anthony Nelson, sidelined earlier in the week with an ankle injury, dressed and practiced for the second straight day. Nelson has had a sack in each of the last three contests of the regular season.
Receiver Breshad Perriman, slowed earlier in the week by a hip injury, is “in full gear,” Arians said.
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