While he’s participated on a limited basis at practice all week and was seen hitting the bags and catching passes on Friday, it’s still uncertain whether Austin Seferian-Jenkins will play Sunday in Atlanta.
The second-year tight end has been out since injuring his shoulder in Week 2, after catching seven passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games of the season.
Considering the Bucs are now without Louis Murphy, who’s done for the year with an ACL, and Vincent Jackson, who will likely miss Sunday (though Smith didn’t officially rule him out), one would think the Bucs would try to speed up the process and get one of their top receiving threats back on the field as soon as possible. But Tampa Bay will be cautious not to risk a set back.
For now, Smith said they’ve seen progress but he’s still not completely healthy.
“If you have an injury that takes a little bit of time, you have to measure that progress and we have,” Smith said. “(Seferian-Jenkins is) taking the next step, doing things on the football field and is going in the right direction, but he’s not 100-percent yet.”
If Seferian-Jenkins is able to go Sunday, the Bucs could still keep him on a “pitch count” like they did with Mike Evans in Week 2 when he returned from a strained hamstring. At that point, however, Tampa Bay wasn’t missing two of their top three receivers. Now more than ever the Bucs could use Seferian-Jenkins’s presence in the passing game, even if it’s on a limited basis.
Update: Seferian-Jenkins is officially listed as doubtful for Sunday, along with Vincent Jackson (knee)