Several OL In Question For Divisional Playoffs

One of the few units that had been healthy for the Bucs all season was their offensive line. So it figures that as soon as the playoffs start, they’d drop like flies too. Right tackle Tristan Wirfs was knocked out of the game early with a sprained ankle. Shortly after, center Ryan Jensen and Wirfs’ backup Josh Wells both were injured as well. Jensen didn’t miss a snap despite getting bent back in a pile-up, while Wells gutted it out on an injured quad.

Unfortunately, all three players are in question for Sunday’s divisional playoff game.

“As tough as [Wirfs] is, I think there’s a chance,” Arians said when asked if the All-Pro tackle could play Sunday. “He’s in a boot right now. Probably he and Ryan (Jensen) are gonna go all the way to Friday before we know anything true. So we’ll just have to wait and see. And we’ll have to wait and see on [Josh Wells’ injury] too. He’s got a pretty good quad problem. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Bucs C Ryan Jensen – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Jensen was down in agony for several minutes, before walking off under his own power. He was in the blue tent on the sideline for awhile, but emerged and went back in for the next possession. The Pro Bowl center was seen limping several times, but never came out of the game.

“His mental toughness is off the charts,” Arians said. “He’s as tough a dude as there is playing this game. That thing was gonna have to be broken for him not to go back in.”

Arians was clear that the questions at tackle are a huge worry going into this Sunday’s game.

“Very [concerned] today,” Arians said. “Hopefully not as much Wednesday and Thursday. But very, very concerned about it today. We were going to have to put [Alex] Cappa at tackle and [Aaron] Stinnie at guard early in the first quarter of that game. Thank God, Josh [Wells] just gutted it out.”

The Bucs also aren’t sure if Leonard Fournette or Ronald Jones will be able to return in the divisional playoffs. Fournette’s hamstring injury has kept him on injured reserve longer than expected. He was originally injured in Week 15 against the Saints. Meanwhile, Jones sprained his ankle in Week 17, and has been out ever since.

“Again, we gotta wait and see if Lenny can open up full speed,” Arians said. “RoJo still isn’t cutting. We’ll know more by Thursday on both of those guys.”

Good Injury News

The good news is that the majority of Bucs players who entered Sunday’s game less than 100 percent are healthy. Linebacker Lavonte David and edge defenders Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul all played less than usual. But the outlook for all three is positive moving forward. The same can be said of several injured defensive backs, including Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean and Mike Edwards.

Bucs S Mike Edwards

Bucs S Mike Edwards – Photo by: USA Today

“They all played good,” Arians said. “Shaq didn’t look hurt when he was running with that ball (after his interception). Lavonte is not as sore as he thought he’d be today. JPP is fine. They all had a good rotation going. They all played about 30-35 plays. Except Lavonte played more.

“[Mike Edwards] has a shoulder/elbow issue,” Arians said. “Got stung pretty good on that one punt protection. But he’s tough too. He’s not gonna miss any time. But Mike had one of his best games too. [Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean] have big smiles on their faces. That was probably Jamel Dean’s best game as a Buc.”

This Sunday, the Bucs will host the winner of Monday night’s Rams vs Cardinals game.


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