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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could get a significant boost to their defensive line before the NFC Championship game next Sunday as defensive tackle Vita Vea is expected to start practicing again on Wednesday, according to Rick Stroud.

Vea fractured his right ankle in Week 5 on Thursday Night Football in the Bucs’ 20-19 loss to the Chicago Bears, and has been on injured reserve ever since. Vea, who is in his third-season with the Bucs, is considered to be Tampa Bay’s best interior defensive lineman due to his combination of size, quickness and power.

Even in the absence of Vea, the Bucs defense still led the NFL in fewest rushing yards allowed with 80.6 yards per game, thanks in part to a defensive front led by Ndamukong Suh, Will Gholston, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Steve McLendon. While Nunez-Roches and McLendon have played well in replacement of Vea, but there’s no substitution for what he brings to the team up the middle.

If Vea is able to go for Sunday, it could be a game-changer for a Bucs’ defense that is coming off a four-turnover performance in their 30-20 win over the Saints in the divisional round of the postseason.

Vea had 10 tackles, two sacks and three quarterback hits in five games on the season before his injury.

The Bucs head to Lambeau Field for their next game against the Green Bay Packers at 3:05 on Sunday in the NFC Championship as they look to become the first team in NFL history to play in the Super Bowl at their own stadium.

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About the Author: Matt Matera

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nybuccguy
8 months ago

Unbelievable news. What a time to be a Bucs fan!

Madman
8 months ago

WOWZERS! That would be huge. Literally.

PiratePete71
8 months ago

Just in time for the big dance in Green Bay the Battle of the Bays!! And Mr. Vea’s return which I was quietly hoping for, has now happened. Much to the dismay of loser Greenbay fans lol

GrayBalls
Reply to  PiratePete71
8 months ago

He has not returned quite yet. He’s allowed to start practicing, that doesn’t mean he’ll be ready to play. Fingers crossed, though. That’s for damned sure

Lawdy
8 months ago

LFG!!!!!

chefboho
8 months ago

That’s huuuuuge news! I didn’t think we’d see him tell next year! Let’s go big guy! Missed you in this line up.

bucballer
8 months ago

Wow! What a shot in the arm this would be. I have faith that the Buccaneers would not be risking his future availability if he weren’t healthy enough to be reactivated!

ScottC543
8 months ago

I LOVE CHEESE!

76Buc
Reply to  ScottC543
8 months ago

I bet you love the kind that stinks.

ScottC543
Reply to  76Buc
8 months ago

Cheese. It’s what’s for dinner.

^^mtn^^
^^mtn^^
Reply to  ScottC543
8 months ago

Frumunda cheese?
Cheese from under

Ja'crispy
8 months ago

Just in time!!! this would be HUGE if he can go on Sunday.

fredster
8 months ago

Great news! If he comes back he won’t be 100% but I’m sure will help in the rotation. Would think be 100% if we advance to super bowl. Go Bucs!

NaplesFan2.0
8 months ago

If his conditioning isn’t 100%, I would love to see him put into pure pass rushing situations. I doubt he plays the entire game, but I think that’s where he would have the most impact. Amazing news!

Eddie
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
8 months ago

So about 10 weeks after surgery to fix fracture ankle. I think both ankle and his strength will not be 100%.

cobraboy
Reply to  Eddie
8 months ago

15 weeks.

I’m not sure he had surgery.

A bone heals in 6 weeks MOL.

GrayBalls
Reply to  cobraboy
8 months ago

6 weeks for most people. Most people don’t weigh 350

Alan Collingwood
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
8 months ago

Even just 15 or so snaps could make a difference

BigSombrero
8 months ago

Modern medicine is amazing. Glad to hear Vea is coming back to get in on the action!

TBChucky
8 months ago

Missed the big fella! He’s one of my favorite Bucs!! Even on limited snaps his presence will be felt!

MikeJ813
8 months ago

Inject this into my Veins! Could be big in this potential snow game. Our run game vs the packers, our run defense vs the packers run defense, advantage us

Naplesfan
8 months ago

As if Aaron Rodgers and the Packers weren’t already worried enough getting rematched this Sunday with the GOAT and the team that kicked their asses and took numbers back in Week 6 – BEFORE we became the much better team we have now.

Buc76
8 months ago

NFC is the home team so if we do get there we sit on our own bench wearing red. Would have been weird if we had to use the visitors side

bEubanks11
8 months ago

This is great news!! Nothing gets you in football shape like playing football but have to believe just his presence alone would be a boost. Looking at the photo at the top. Anyone who can make a guy named nacho look small will make an impact! Didn’t know how much I loved the dude till just now. Welcome back Vita!

Spitfire
Reply to  bEubanks11
8 months ago

😂 He makes Nacho look like a Linebacker!

SappAttack
8 months ago

1st downs, third and shorts, and goal line stands. Then rest him. Play him more if we make it all the way. Go Bucs!

Spitfire
8 months ago

Dude! That’s great news! Even the possibility of him getting back in there is great! If for some reason he can’t go or only has limited participation, if and when we bring it home hopefully he will be for sure ready then! We need all hands on deck the rest of the way!

PissedOffBuc1988
Reply to  Spitfire
8 months ago

Completely agree

Horse
8 months ago

This is great news.

Jay
Jay
8 months ago

I believe that his presence will make the guys play and feel better. Goff was killing them at times in the passing game and he’s NO Brady plus we have better WR. As long as we don’t turn the ball over the Bucs are heading to the Superbowl.

gcolerick
8 months ago

Like manna from heaven……news doesn’t get much better than that.

scubog
8 months ago

My how things change with the passing of time. I seem to recall many, especially Buc Ass Bob (where have you gone?), calling Vita a “wasted draft pick” and “fat and out of shape”. Many cited a preference for Derwin James instead. Perhaps Vea should sing, “How do you like me now?”

eaustinyoung
Reply to  scubog
8 months ago

To be fair, even our own legend #99 said after Vita was drafted that he’ll need to lose 30 lbs to play at a high level in the Tampa heat. And thankfully he did. Too hot and humid to carry as much weight as he did and a risk to his knees.

Naplesfan
Reply to  eaustinyoung
8 months ago

To be fair, nobody knows how any draft pick or free agent signing or trade deal is going to play. Anybody who claims to have a lock on foreknowledge is a liar and an idiot.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  Naplesfan
8 months ago

I know. I’m just saying Sapp did say Vita came out a little too heavy. I think Sapp is an authority we can agree knows his stuff.

Naplesfan
Reply to  scubog
8 months ago

I well remember the yahoo commenters who demanded that Mike Evans get cut after his second year in the league when he suffered a rash of dropped passes (which turned out to be due to an injury he was playing through). And then that didn’t happen again. Heck, just a few weeks ago some of the yahoos here on PR were claiming that Devin White was a horrible waste of a draft pick, couldn’t cover anybody, was only the second or third best linebacker on the Bucs, etc. etc. We STILL have idiots here commenting at PR (I’m talking about… Read more »

eaustinyoung
Reply to  Naplesfan
8 months ago

Carlton Davis was Hargreaves 2.0 according to a lot of them as well LOL. I’ve been a SMB hater but he has stepped his game up the last 2 weeks.

PatrioticChief
Reply to  eaustinyoung
8 months ago

I mean the criticism of SMB, White, Donovan is all warranted. It’s to their credit that they have shown signs of overcoming it. Their ability to do so is the only reason the Bucs are in the hunt still.

Dave
Reply to  Naplesfan
8 months ago

Couldn’t agree more. We have em in bunches on here. But everything you said was spot on. The only one you forgot was Gronk. The amount of people on here who thought he was washed up, and not even worth the pick we gave up to get him, was mind numbing to me. He’s invaluable, whether he’s catching 5/80 and a TD, or he’s manhandling a stud edge rusher as a blocker. He can kill you in multiple ways

Last edited 8 months ago by Dave
eaustinyoung
Reply to  Dave
8 months ago

He’s just a baller in all areas. Bucs could’ve had 40 points if he and/or Godwin held the TDs. I think the Godwin call back was total BS.

eaustinyoung
8 months ago

Moana must’ve found his magic fish hook

GrayBalls
Reply to  eaustinyoung
8 months ago

Moana is a teenage girl

eaustinyoung
Reply to  GrayBalls
8 months ago

I think everyone knows that. I’m clearly implying that Maui/Vea are the same person.

COBRAHD
8 months ago

WOOOHOOOO!! YOU COULDN’T HAVE SCRIPTED THIS ANY BETTER!! HOPEFULLY AB IS GOOD TO GO, BUT HAVING VITA BACK IS HUUUUUUUUGE!!!

GrayBalls
Reply to  COBRAHD
8 months ago

AB has been looking quite good these past few weeks. But if he isn’t ready, I have complete faith in Scotty, Ty has looked good when given an opportunity. I think we’ll be fine

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