We love football for the violence; we hate it because of the injuries.
The Buccaneers were a relatively healthy team coming into the 2017 regular season, even with all the drama surrounding Hurricane Irma. However, here we are just two games into their season and injuries are already a major talking point.
There have been some illnesses and Brent Grimes’ laceration that have just been some bad luck, but then there have been others that could be more damaging long-term.
One of those is with linebacker Kwon Alexander.
Alexander started the season against the Bears and grabbed an interception on his first series – a picture-perfect start. However, shortly after, he left the game with a reported hamstring injury. Alexander was still on the sideline in his gear cheering on his teammates as they routed the Bears at home, and many thought that him not going back into the game was nothing more than playing it safe since the game got so out of hand early and they didn’t need him.
However, here we are two weeks later and Alexander is still not in the lineup or even practicing.
The reason we’re doing this recap of Alexander’s status is because of some new hints that have come out.
Fellow linebacker Lavonte David left the end of the Minnesota Vikings game writhing in pain at an ankle injury. It was initially reported that David had a high ankle sprain and would miss four to six weeks, but that report has since been calmed a bit to say he’s more week-to-week, but realizing it’s still a pretty bad sprain.
If you take that at common sense, you pretty much knew that David had no real shot at playing this week, or likely the next against the Patriots since the team will only have three days between their match up versus the Giant and their next game.
Knowing that, and seeing that Alexander can be ruled “OUT” already on Friday for the Giants game and yet Lavonte David is ruled just “DOUBTFUL” is somewhat telling – and not in a good.
Now, instead of expecting Alexander to come back sooner rather than later, Bucs fans might have to face the fact that this might be something that continues to hold him out. For evidence on that, let’s look at his timeline since training camp.
- In week three of training camp, Alexander injured his left hamstring during the weekend of August 19-20th in a non-contact fashion that forced him to sit. Following the injury, he was held out of the team’s final two preseason games against the Browns and the Redskins.
- The target for Alexander after his hamstring injury seemed to be September 10th, the opener against Miami. However due to Hurricane Irma, we really didn’t get any kind of injury update on Alexander attempting to practice.
- So, instead, he was given an extra week to prepare for the Chicago Bears on September 17th. Alexander was not on the injury report for the team’s first practice of that week on September 13th, but was then a limited participant on September 14th because of his hamstring. On September 15th, the final day of practice that week, he was upgraded to full participant.
- Alexander started the September 17th game against the Bears, but left the game because of that same hamstring.
- After the game, Alexander said his hamstring was fine and would be good to go for the next week, September 24th. He said that holding him out for the rest of the Bears game was just precaution, something we all believed.
- However, in the following practices between September 20th and the 22nd, Alxander did not participate at all, and was ruled out before the weekend.
- The following week (this week), between the practices of September 27 through the 29th, Alexander again did not participate at all, and has been ruled out before the weekend once again.
I don’t know if I wanted to go as far as this being a red flag, but it is now more than one warning sign. Last year the Bucs got burned by Doug Martin’s hamstring injury when they lost in Week 2, tried to bring him back, only to have him re-injure it. Martin first injured his hamstring against Arizona. He was held out three weeks (not games) until the Carolina game, in which he suffered a set back. He then did not return until another five weeks (not games) after that against the Bears.
They can’t do that with Alexander.
So, what does that all mean, and when is Alexander coming back?
True be told, we just don’t know, but here are the options.
Alexander isn’t playing this week, that has been made clear. Many believe that the target game for him has been the New England game next Thursday, since it hold importance. But, if Alexander hasn’t practiced a single day in the last two weeks, bringing him back on a short week to test out such a touchy injury seems unlikely. That brings us to the trip to Arizona 11 days after the Patriots game. This makes the most sense, especially if Kwon is somewhat close to returning. However, remember, the Bucs had a few guys go down last year in the dry heat and dehydration of Arizona, including Martin because of his own hamstring – that bring up its own caution. Following that game the team is at Buffalo, then hosts the Panthers on October 29th.
Kwon Alexander will likely come back somewhere within those listed games, but the percentage of it being one of those later ones might be higher than you’d like to admit.
If he comes back on Monday, they fooled us, and it will be in the best way – that’s fine. However, realistically, don’t be shocked if you don’t see him until Buffalo or Carolina.
They know they have to win, but the Bucs need Alexander at 100 percent, especially if they plan on playing deep into January.
Whether that’s Thursday October 5th or Sunday October 29th, they will wait until he’s ready.