It’s not very often that a seemingly minor injury derails a player’s entire season. But for wide receiver Antonio Brown, that’s exactly what seems to be happening. After finishing a 9-catch, 93-yard performance against the Eagles on a sore ankle, Brown was held out of practice the following week. Originally diagnosed with a sprained ankle, Brown has now missed six weeks and five games. And it doesn’t sound like the All-Pro receiver is coming back anytime soon.

“I doubt it,” Arians said when asked if Brown would return to practice this week. “I doubt it.”

Arians was then asked if Brown had experienced a setback in his recovery from the Week 6 injury.

“It was more a different injury than originally thought,” Arians said. “A sprain, but there’s some issues in the heel. That’s what he’s having problems with.”

Bucs WR Antonio Brown

Bucs WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: USA Today

During previous interviews, Arians has mentioned that bone spurs are an issue in Brown’s recovery as well. In hindsight, Arians admitted if the Bucs had known the extent of the injury, Brown might have gone to injured reserve after Week 6. Through his first five games, Brown caught 29 passes for 418 yards and four touchdowns. He was on pace for one of his best ever seasons, despite playing as the team’s third receiver.

At this point, it’s fair to wonder when Brown will be back. Arians typically begins to hint at optimism when a player is close, but he’s quickly ruled out the receiver the past few weeks. It’s possible Brown returns before the end of the regular season with six games left. But I think Tampa Bay wants to be sure he’s healthy for the playoffs.

In Brown’s place, Tyler Johnson has struggled to produce. After a 5-catch, 65-yard performance against the Saints, Johnson looked ready to take a step. But he’s been invisible the past three games, catching five passes for 34 yards. 10 games into Johnson’s second season, and the Minnesota product has yet to score a touchdown this year. The Bucs did get Scotty Miller back from injured reserve last week. His presence should lighten the load on Johnson.

The Bucs return to action against the Falcons on Sunday at 1pm.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

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
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bucballer
bucballer
7 months ago

Need to get him back ASAP. He’s an important cog in the wheel of our offensive attack. His presence creates additional mismatches.

eaustinyoung
eaustinyoung
7 months ago

I think the Bucs have under-reported injuries all season. Shannon Sharpe repeatedly mentioned how he was surprised that SMB was out for as long as he was. No one really knows what’s going on with Carlton Davis. AB should’ve been on IR at this point. It’s strange.

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  eaustinyoung
7 months ago

Look up and see how Bill Belichek handles injured reports and players. It’s not awe inspiring.

Emilio
Emilio
7 months ago

Need him. Best Tampa wideout by far. As a Brady transplant fan (yes, one of many) I really don’t get the Evans love. I’d gladly roll with AB & Godwyn next year.

bucballer
bucballer
Reply to  Emilio
7 months ago

Without Evans, AB’s production will drop as he will be getting double teamed. AB can almost always win the one on one battle. AB has his own Hall of Fame numbers as well. Yes! He’s good. But this is so dynamic as an offense because u just have to pick ur poison when playing the Bucs. It works because of ALL the talent. Evans, Godwin, AB, Gronk, Brate, Miller, FOURnette, RoJo. and Brady as the Director of Footballs.

PissedOffBuc1988
PissedOffBuc1988
Reply to  Emilio
7 months ago

Mike Evans was a great wr before Brady got here. Evans battles through injuries and is a red zone nightmare for defenses. You don’t get the Evans love because you are a transplant fan. Mike Evans is a HOF player. Period.

Last edited 7 months ago by PissedOffBuc1988
eaustinyoung
eaustinyoung
Reply to  Emilio
7 months ago

Evans is one of the best red zone receivers in the entire league.