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Photo: Sean Murphy-Bunting; Credit:

He's yet to have been activated from the injured reserve, but Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has seen enough to believe cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting can return to play against the New York Giants on Monday night.

Murphy-Bunting's 21-day practice window was opened during the team's Week 9 bye, and has made "really good progress" according to Arians in the two weeks since. 

"I think Sean has shown me that he's probably ready to go," Arians said on Saturday. "We'll just see if we're going to make that roster move yet."

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Activating Murphy-Bunting from the injured reserve would require a corresponding roster transaction.

Although Arians is confident that Murphy-Bunting is ready to return to the gridiron, he is prepared to play the third-year cornerback in a limited fashion once he finally suits up. GIven the team's long list of injuries this season, especially at Murphy-Bunting's position, the last thing the Buccaneers could afford is a re-injury.

"Sean has been out a long time, so we can't overload him. But there are spots if we can get him back in there, he can help us for sure, and gradually get his role back. The same thing when Carlton [Davis III] hopefully comes back – don't throw him out there so fast that he re-injures himself."

In less than one half of football this season, in Week 1 against Dallas, Murphy-Bunting tallied two tackles. In 16 games last year, Murphy-Bunting recorded 70 tackles, including three for loss, one interception, three defended passes and a forced fumble. He also picked off three passes and broke up five throws in the 2020-21 playoffs.

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