Coming out of Week 12, the Bucs were looking at a handful of potentially significant injuries. Once again, however, the team seems to have avoided major injuries to key players. Head coach Bruce Arians spoke to the media on Monday, providing an update on several wounded Bucs. One player the team will likely be without for awhile is backup guard Aaron Stinnie, who went down early with a knee injury.
“I doubt Stinnie [will be available this week],” Arians said. “We’ll see. He’s in an MRI this morning.”
Stinnie got his first start of the season on Sunday, replacing the injured Ali Marpet. But the Bucs guard lasted just 10 plays before bowing out. He was replaced by Nick Leverett, who saw his first ever NFL regular season action. Marpet was dealing with an oblique strain, and should have a good chance to play this week against Atlanta.
Bucs ILB Devin White – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The Bucs also lost Devin White with a hip injury in the first half against the Colts. White entered the game already less than 100 percent due to an injured quad. But the star linebacker returned in the second half to finish the game.
“Devin, we’ll see,” Arians said. “We’ll limit him Wednesday and Thursday and see what he can do. He did finish the game. He wasn’t Devin. But he did finish the game and gutted it out.”
White finished the contest with three tackles.
The most concerning injury exiting Sunday’s victory was to cornerback Jamel Dean. The third-year defensive back suffered a shoulder injury during a first quarter tackle. Dean did not return to the game. Afterward, Arians said that the injury was “not very good”. But on Monday, the Bucs head coach was singing a different tune.
“Dean, he’s a wait-and-see guy with a bruised shoulder,” Arians said. “Doesn’t look like there is any structural damage. So it’s just gonna be a pain tolerance thing.”
The Bucs could get Carlton Davis back from injured reserve this week against the Falcons. That would give the team their starting cornerbacks back in the lineup for the first time since Week 1. The Bucs still have yet to play a snap this season with their entire starting secondary on the field together.
If Dean can’t play, Murphy-Bunting would likely remain outside, leaving the nickel spot open for Mike Edwards. The third-year safety has assumed the nickel role over the past three weeks and played well, sending Ross Cockrell to the bench. But Edwards didn’t escape Sunday’s victory unscathed either.
“Mike Edwards bruised his knee on that kickoff return tackle,” Arians said. “We’ll wait and see on him.”
Tampa Bay also lost return man Jaelon Darden against the Colts as well. The rookie went down in the second half and entered concussion protocol. Last week, the Jaguars nabbed backup returner Jaydon Mickens off the Bucs practice squad. Still, Arians made it clear the team has a plan B in place if Darden can’t play.
“He’s in the protocol,” Arians said. “We’ll just wait and see how it goes. Obviously if he clears the protocol, he’ll be the guy back there. If not, Gio [Bernard] would take over the kickoff return, and Scotty Miller would probably do the punt returns.”
The Bucs return to action on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13.
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com'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
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.