While the Bucs saw defensive tackle Vita Vea return from a fractured ankle suffered in Week 5 against the Chicago Bears, playing 33 snaps in Tampa Bay’s 31-26 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship, they also played the game without two of their star players in Antonio Brown and Antoine Winfield Jr.
Brown suffered a knee injury in the Bucs’ Divisional Round victory over the New Orleans Saints, forcing him to miss the contest, and Winfield was held out after suffering an ankle injury in practice late last week. In an interview with 95.3 WDAE, Arians gave an update on their injuries, confirming that both will likely wait until next week to make a return to practice.
“I think it’s too early,” Arians said about whether Brown and Winfield would be ready for Super Bowl LV. “Neither one of those guys will probably practice this week and we’ll see how it rolls out next Tuesday for both of them.”
Winfield started all 16 games as a rookie for the Bucs’ in 2020, finishing the season with 94 total tackles, one tackle for loss, three sacks, six passes defended, one interception and two forced fumbles.
Brown totaled 483 receiving yards and four touchdowns on 45 receptions over the second half of the Bucs’ season but had began to hit his stride late in the year. Over the Bucs’ final three games of the regular season and their Wild-Card Round game against Washington, Brown racked up 315 yards and five touchdowns before leaving the Bucs’ Divisional Round game against the Saints with just one catch on three targets for 10 yards.