The Tampa Bay Buccaneers can breathe a major sigh of relief. In what appeared to be a devastating development at the end of a disheartening loss to the Washington Football Team on Sunday, good news has emerged regarding the status of injured defensive tackle Vita Vea.
Vea exited the game on the medical cart following the Bucs' final defensive drive, one that ended in a one-yard Antonio Gibson rushing touchdown to cap off a 19-play, victory-sealing drive for Washington. Head coach Bruce Arians shared after the game that Vea had "felt something" in his knee and had no updates regarding the severity of the injury.
It turns out, the wound isn't as serious as it could have been. Greg Auman of The Athletic and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on Monday morning that Vea is dealing with a bone bruise in his knee and a "slight" MCL sprain, adding that Vea likely won't need to go on the injured reserve which would rule him out of three games at minimum.
"There was some concern there for more, and Vea may miss some time," Rapoport included in his tweet report. "But could have been much worse."
In nine appearances this season, Vea has accumulated 18 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack, a fumble recovery, two defended passes and 21 quarterback pressures (per Pro Football Focus). Amid the Buccaneers' defensive struggles and inconsistencies this year, Vea has been a bright spot, consistently contributing as a pass rusher and a key member of the team's No. 2-ranked rushing defense.
After losing Vea for 13 games last year, from Week 6 through the Divisional Round of the playoffs as he dealt with a fractured ankle, fears naturally arose that Tampa Bay could once again be without its stud defensive tackle for a long stretch of games. It appears as though that will not be the case.
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