The Bucs are getting healthier, but wide receiver Antonio Brown is not among those who returned to practice on Wednesday. Brown was spotted at practice with a crutch on the sideline. Head coach Bruce Arians was asked after practice if the veteran receiver could be back after the Bucs Week 9 bye week.

“Shoot, with that injury, who knows?” Arians said. “It could be [after the Week 9 bye], it could be a long time. It’s just wait and see how the foot [heals]. He’s still on a crutch. It’s still considering an ankle sprain, but it’s around his heel.”

In any event, it seems Brown won’t be available for the Bucs against the Saints on Sunday. The All-Pro receiver erupted to a hot start this season, catching 29 passes for 418 yards and four touchdowns in five games, but will miss his third contest of the year. Brown was matching Mike Evans and Chris Godwin’s production despite playing a fraction of their snaps.

Bucs WR Antonio Brown

Bucs WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: USA Today

The 12-year veteran’s injury is compounded by Scotty Miller’s presence on injured reserve. Miller was seen running on the side during Wednesday’s practice, but is unlikely to return before the bye week. Instead, second-year receiver Tyler Johnson will need to step up. Johnson has managed just nine catches for 126 yards and no touchdowns in 2021. As a rookie, the fifth rounder grabbed 12 passes for 169 yards and two scores.

Some good news for the Bucs offense is the return of Rob Gronkowski to practice. His presence should allow the Bucs to play more two-tight end sets without losing much in the passing game. Still, Brown’s loss will be tough to overcome. After Week 8, Brown will have until November 14 to recover. That’s exactly one month from the date of his original injury. Until then, Bucs fans will hold out hope for a Week 10 return for the star receiver.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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2 months ago

At this point nothing surprises me with injuries.

2 months ago

The goal is to be full strength by January 15th. That’s the 1st round playoff weekend unless we get the bye. That’s what its about. If someone gets hurts a week or 2 before that then we have a problem

2 months ago

AB’s injury is unfortunate. Luckily, we have some depth at the WR position. Would love to see WR Johnson make a splash play. Getting Gronk back will help immensely! Perhaps even WR Darden might flash a play or two. His quickness is obvious when he plays. Maybe throw him in a couple of plays on offense as well.

2 months ago

The Bucs are better when AB is on the field … but we’re still pretty damned good without him. He’ll heal up sooner or later, and then he will contribute again. But no worries that we’ll be undergunned against the Saints or anyone else on our schedule. We’ve already played the best defense well see all regular season in the Rams, on the road. TB-12 will spread the ball around as he always does, the young guys can step up for more snaps, we’ve great great pass-catching tight ends as well as running backs. We’ll be fine.

Reply to  Naplesfan
2 months ago

Already carved up a stout Bears and Cowboys defense too. Bills, Colts, and Saints will be the next tests in order of defensive skill.

2 months ago

The Saints play nasty and want you to retaliate against their nastiness. I hope Evans, Jensen, Cappa, don’t take bait. If we stay focus, we will win this game despite our injury issues. If Gronk can play, this will be a big help. Go Bucs! Keep the repeat alive!

2 months ago

This down, idle time can be dangerous for AB if he does not stay focused

2 months ago

R we really sweating the Saints? I mean really? Yes, they’re a good team. But, they r not on our level. Yes, I know, they could beat us, as can everyone else on our schedule. I just don’t think they r up to it. They r not the same team as when Brees was lining up behind center. Jameis is what we thought he was. That’s why we cut bait with him, well that and his clearly outrageous salary expectations. We will pressure, harass, and sack Jameis all game long! I hope! Ha! Ha! Ha! Go Bucs!