After returning to practice this week from a fractured ankle suffered in Week 5, it looks like defensive tackle Vita Vea is going to play in the NFC Championship as Peter Schrager first reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are activating him for the game.
Bruce Arians said on Friday that there was a chance that he could be activated, and that decision came rather quickly following his press conference. While Wednesday’s practice was a walkthrough, Vea could be seen getting reps on Thursday hitting the sled during a drill in the portion of practice open to the media, along with running in short bursts to test out the injured ankle.
“He’s looked real good,” Arians said. “He’s been running around for almost three weeks. He had a real good practice yesterday and a good one today.”
Though it’s uncertain how many snaps he would get in the game, Vea would provide an important upgrade to the Bucs’ interior defensive line alongside Ndamukong Suh. It could open up better pass rushing opportunities for edge rushers Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul.
“Vita was off to a hot start before the unfortunate thing happened that he got injured.” Linebacker Lavonte David said on Wednesday. “Just watching him around, he always had in his mind that if we take care of business, he’d be able to come back. We’re in this position right now, he did everything he’s supposed to do as far as treatment and getting the injury ready to go. I know he’s in great spirits and he’s feeling good.”
Vea had 10 tackles, two sacks and three quarterback hits in five games on the season before his injury.
The Bucs head to Lambeau Field to play against the Green Bay Packers at 3:05 on Sunday for the NFC Championship.