NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport went on the Pat McAfee show on Tuesday and lifted the spirits of Bucs fans. After watching All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs and Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen get injured on Sunday, the outlook has been grim for the divisional round against the Rams. But Rapoport seemed optimistic that both players would have a chance to play on Sunday.
“Wirfs is a question mark,” Rapoport said. “And I don’t think either of these guys are gonna be able to practice until probably Friday. So we may not know for sure. But the fact is Wirfs has more of a high ankle sprain than anything else, which can be a multi-week injury. But some of these guys are crazy.
“They were up 21 this weekend, and he was back on the field trying to see if he could go. He couldn’t, but at least that was a good sign that it’s not a major thing. So I would think there’s a pretty real chance both these guys end up playing. But when you’re playing through injury, especially to an ankle, it’s gonna be hard. I don’t think he’s gonna be 100 percent. But I do think (Wirfs) will be out there.”
That’s encouraging news from Rapoport, especially on Wirfs. Most assume Jensen will battle through an ankle injury that head coach Bruce Arians called “not as severe” as Wirfs’ issue. But knowing there is a “pretty real chance” for Wirfs’ return this Sunday is reassuring. Having said that, it’s unlikely the star right tackle is close to his normal level of dominance. Against Aaron Donald and Von Miller, that could be a real problem.
If Wirfs can’t play, Josh Wells would fill in for him again. But Wells is nursing a quad injury of his own, and won’t be 100 percent. Plan C would likely be Alex Cappa at right tackle and Aaron Stinnie at right guard.