The Buccaneers might be returning some key players ahead of this week's Super Wild Card matchup with the Eagles.
The team announced Wednesday morning that it is opening up the 21-day practice window for running backs Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard and linebacker Lavonte David.
The trio will not count toward the active 53-man roster until the Bucs decide that they are ready to return to action. Bernard was placed on short-term injured reserve after the Bucs' Week 14 win over the Bills and David and Fournette were both placed on short-term IR after the Week 15 loss to the Saints.
Bruce Arians said Monday that Fournette -and even Shaquil Barrett, who's not on IR- should be back for the matchup with the Eagles, but it's still unknown as to whether or not David will be able to suit up and play.
But that will all get figured out over the coming days. The Bucs will release their first injury report of the week on Wednesday, which will give outsiders some protein to digest as the week progresses.
The Bucs released the following statement pertaining to opening up the practice window:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers today announced that running back Giovani Bernard (No. 25), linebacker Lavonte David (No. 54) and running back Leonard Fournette (No. 7), who are all on the Reserve/Injured list, will begin their 21-day practice period Wednesday. They are eligible to be promoted to the active roster at any time during the 21-day window.
Bernard (5-9, 205) was placed on Injured Reserve on December 14, after appearing in 12 regular season games, tallying eight rushes for 58 yards (7.3 avg.) along with 23 receptions for 123 yards and three receiving touchdowns.
David (6-1, 233) started 12 games for Tampa Bay in the regular season before being placed on Injured Reserve on December 23. David recorded 97 tackles (five for loss), four quarterback hits, three passes defensed, 2.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Fournette (6-0, 228) played in 14 games for the Buccaneers this season, with 13 starts, prior to being placed on Injured Reserve on December 23. The fifth-year running back rushed 180 times for 812 yards and eight touchdowns, adding 69 receptions for 454 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. He led the team in both rushing yards (812) and scrimmage yards (1,266) this season.
Provided statement courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Communications Department.
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