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When the Bucs host the Giants on Monday Night Football, there’s a chance they’ll be closer to full health than they’ve been in weeks. Head coach Bruce Arians had ruled out wide receiver Antonio Brown for Week 11, but several other injured Bucs seem close to a return.

“The only guy out is Antonio Brown,” Arians said. “Got a couple game time decisions. But the arrow is trending up for a couple guys, that’s for sure.”

The most notable pending return is tight end Rob Gronkowski. The big tight end practiced fully on Thursday and Friday, but was held out of Saturday’s walk-through for rest. Despite missing six games with fractured ribs, Gronkowski is still tied for second on the team with four touchdowns. Gronkowski is listed as questionable for Monday night.

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“He’s a hell of a player in all those phases,” Arians said. “Third down, red zone. His energy [has been missed]. Just a playmaker. When you take those guys out of the lineup, they’re hard to replace.”

Two other potential returns are wide receiver Scotty Miller and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting. Both players have been on injured reserve for weeks now, but are nearing full strength. The Bucs will either activate them to the roster before the Giants game or on Tuesday.

“I think Sean has shown me that he’s probably ready to go,” Arians said. “We’ll just see if we’re gonna make that roster move yet. Scotty, it’s just a matter of need, really. Because we have enough receivers. We have BP (Breshad Perriman) for another week. So we’ll wait and see where that one goes. But he’s ready.”

Murphy-Bunting will almost certainly play against the Giants, but how much he’ll play remains to be seen. The Bucs won’t want to overwork him, considering he’s been out since Week 1. As players on injured reserve, Murphy-Bunting and Miller don’t receive a status designation for Monday’s game.

“Getting him back is one thing, but playing 60 plays is another,” Arians said. “They haven’t played very much football. Sean’s been out a long time. So we can’t overload him. But there are spots, if we get him back in there, that he can help us for sure. And gradually get his role back. The same thing when Carlton [Davis] hopefully comes back. Don’t throw them out there so fast that they re-injure themselves.”

Bucs CBs Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean

Bucs CBs Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The return of Murphy-Bunting is aptly timed, considering the Bucs are decimated at cornerback. Carlton Davis remains on injured reserve with his quad injury. A few days ago Richard Sherman joined him following a calf injury. Backup cornerback Dee Delaney is in concussion protocol, but is questionable for Monday night. Delaney practiced fully on Saturday, a sign he could be available against the Giants. Veteran Blidi Wreh-Wilson is on the practice squad if the Bucs need him in Week 11.

“[Wreh-Wilson] is on the decision for if Dee Delaney is gonna pass the protocol,” Arians said. “If Dee passes the protocol, probably not. But if he doesn’t, Blidi would probably be up [from the practice squad].”

The Bucs may be getting healthier in the secondary, but they are hurting a bit at defensive tackle this week. Vita Vea is doubtful to play after a knee injury against Washington in Week 10. His replacement, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, popped up on Friday’s injury report with an ankle injury. Nunez-Roches was limited for two straight days in practice, leading to a questionable designation.

As for the Giants, they’ll be without a couple defensive starters on Monday night. Safety Logan Ryan (COVID protocols) and OLB Lorenzo Carter (ankle/illness) are out. Offensively, wide receiver Sterling Shepard (quad) is out. Running backs Saquan Barkley and Devontae Booker are questionable, but expected to play.

Here are the full injury reports for both teams:

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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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1 month ago

This Davis injury is really killing Bucs D. Starting to wonder if he will come back or go on IR or what’s going on. Long time for hamstring unless it’s so severe going to require surgery. Way Bucs been playing and all injuries not healing I’d say this team will be on road for playoffs again.

Mb Nfl Double Your First Deposit Football Team Vs Bucs Pewter 728x90 Jpg