Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Da'Quan Bowers has missed over a week of practice with a groin strain, and his inability to play is hurting his chances of making the team, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
Bowers sat out Tampa Bay's second preseason game, and his status is uncertain for Saturday's game versus the Bills.
Head coach Lovie Smith said he thinks the 24-year-old has a future in the league, but that a prolonged injury could find Bowers on the outside-looking-in when it comes time to set Bucs' roster.
"I think every day you don't practice you're hurting your chances (of making the team),'' Smith said. "We've seen enough to like Da'Quan a lot. But all the reps that he's not getting, someone else is getting them. The best way to beat your competition sometimes is just to stay on the field. You can't get Wally Pipped.
Bowers missed six games in 2012 and three last season due to injuries. He reportedly showed up to offseason workouts in June out of shape.
A former second-round draft pick out of Clemson by the Buccaneers, Bowers made seven tackles and one sack last season.
- Molly Geary