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Put to rest the notion that second-year Tampa Bay tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is soft.

He’s not. Multiple Bucs sources tell PewterReport.com that he has a legitimate shoulder injury that has kept him out of action on game days since Week 2 at New Orleans.

While the Bucs are anxious to see him return to game action – possibly this week at Philadelphia – his shoulder injury was severe enough to require a significant period of time to recover as PewterReport.com documented in the most recent SR’s Fab 5 column. To inform as many Bucs fans as possible about the severity of Seferian-Jenkins’ injury and recovery timetable, PewterReport.com has chosen to re-publish a part of that SR’s Fab 5 regarding the injury-prone tight end.

Many Buccaneers fans – and some fantasy football players – have grown frustrated with the fact that Seferian-Jenkins has missed the last six and a half games with a shoulder injury. Tampa Bay’s second-round pick in 2014 missed seven games during his rookie season with ankle and back injuries. His back injury required surgery and he ended the season on injured reserve.

Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

After a dazzling season-opener in which he caught five passes for a career-high 110 yards and two touchdowns, Seferian-Jenkins raised expectations for a breakout year, but after landing hard on the carpeted concrete in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome he suffered a significant shoulder injury. When Seferian-Jenkins returned to practice three weeks ago prior to the Atlanta game there was speculation and some guarded optimism that he might return to action against the Falcons – or at the very least last week against the Giants.

But when neither happened questions surfaced about Seferian-Jenkins’ toughness.

“That’s where we made our mistake a little bit,” Bucs head coach Lovie Smith said last week. “You might have made that mistake a little bit of assuming that when we put him out there in pads that he was ready to go. [When] you talk to a player he is always going to tell you that he is ready to go. I don’t think there has been a setback. I think he’s been on schedule. This is the schedule he’s been on. Again, we had him go out and practice a few weeks back, but that was just running around. He didn’t have any contact or anything like that. We can’t wait to get him back on the football field. He is making progress, but he’s not there yet. As far as this week on whether [he’ll play or not], when a player is ready to go and he is good to go we’ll get him out there. He’s not there yet.”

On Thursday, Seferian-Jenkins addressed his shoulder injury and why it’s taken so long for him to get healthy.

“I’m doing my part, coaches are doing their part, everyone is doing their part, the medical staff is doing their part,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “We have to make sure everyone is healthy and make sure it’s safe for people to go out there. I understand that people want to be out there and all that, but you have to make sure you are healthy and you can, first of all protect yourself, and then protect you teammates. I’m not going to go out there if I can’t protect myself and can’t protect my teammates.”

That’s not Seferian-Jenkins being a prima donna, according to Bucs sources. He’s had a legitimate shoulder that has taken a good deal of time to recover from.

I spoke with PewterReport.com’s resident sports medicine expert Dr. Jason Hunt of Kaizen Orthopedics about shoulder injuries so he could put Seferian-Jenkins’ injury – the exact nature of which hasn’t been revealed to the media – and recovery time into context.

“Inside the shoulder is a labrum – it’s a lining of the shoulder,” Dr. Hunt said. “Your biceps tendon actually connects to the top part of the labrum. That’s an injury that is very susceptible to linemen, who are pushing off on every play. If their arm gets turned a certain way they can have a labrum tear. An injury to the top part of the labrum is called a ‘slap tear.’

“For people who have sublux or dislocate their shoulders there is a capsule at the front of the shoulder, so having a shoulder sprain or a stretch of that capsule can cause some pain and create difficulty in raising the shoulder.”

Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins had 2 TDs and 110 receiving yards against the Titans – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

From what PewterReport.com has heard, Seferian-Jenkins had a dislocated shoulder at New Orleans, but hasn’t been able to confirm that. Dr. Hunt said that shoulder injuries can take longer than some knee injuries to recover from and noted that the Bucs put running back Doug Martin on injured reserve in 2013 with a shoulder injury and he missed the final 10 games of that season.

“The shoulder is a complicated joint and the potential for injury there is probably higher than a knee, especially in football,” Dr. Hunt said. “Your arms are often prone and you’re raising them throughout the play. You are in-line blocking and pushing off on it. A lot of shoulder injuries go unnoticed. It’s not like a knee injury where you are cutting and you fell down to the ground. Sometimes it’s ‘I don’t know what happened yesterday, but my shoulder hurts.’

“When you fall directly on your shoulder the most common can be an AC sprain or dislocation. Depending on the degree of the injury it can be a three-to-six week recovery time. Getting back the full range of motion without pain is the key. It can be up to six weeks, and people with a Grade 2 sprain it can be up to 12 weeks. It’s a long recovery in some cases.”

When Smith said Seferian-Jenkins is on schedule the guess here is that he had a Grade 2 sprain because he’s missed the past seven games and was out of commission during the bye week. Bucs officials confirm that Seferian-Jenkins’ injury was severe and the extended recovery time was definitely legitimate. He is itching to get back on the field and put his injuries behind him and pick up where he left off, catching touchdown passes and putting up 100-yard games.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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jme0151
jme0151
6 years ago

Isn’t there a IR move where he could have been put on that would let him come back in 8 weeks???? Seems wrong to just keep him active when we could use his spot for another player…receiver…DE…etc.

Dude
Dude
Reply to  jme0151
6 years ago

I think what your thinking about is the PUP (physically unable to perform) list. Also, I think they have to be out a certain number of weeks, like 8. I’m not 100% sure. They probably figured that he wouldn’t be out long enough to put him on that list.

e
e
6 years ago

Tough or not, the Bucs would be wise to draft another TE next year for depth. As Winston develops, I am anxious to see how he would do with a full compliment of weapons to work with. What’s the latest on VJax? Getting these guys back really opens things up for the running game as well. I wonder if Chris Matthews, who was cut by Seattle earlier this week, is worth a look in the mean time?

Dude
Dude
Reply to  e
6 years ago

They should have kept Tim Wright. I didn’t think he was all that bad, he just needed a little work. It would have served them better than that kicker that lost us some games this year they let go.

wnb0395
wnb0395
6 years ago

Two severe injuries in 2 years. It doesn’t matter how good you are if you are never on the field to show it. I would also like to see Winston next year with an athletic and reliable TE to throw to.

bucshot420
bucshot420
6 years ago

JME0151- Yes there is a short term IR with designation to return, however I think each team can only have one player on the designated to return list which Demar Dotson was taking that spot up until 2 weeks ago.

drdneast
drdneast
6 years ago

Lets see, Tony Romo broke his collarbone the same week the ASJ “sprained” his shoulder.
Romo is going to definitely play this week but we still don’t know about ASJ.
Yet we are led to believe a shoulder sprain is more severe than a broken collarbone.
Sorry, I’m not buying it.
I’m also not buying into his big game against the Titans which mainly came in garbage time where he high stepped into the end zone when we were down by 28 points.
As far as I’m concerned Myers is the better TE until this petunia proves himself.

bucsrm
bucsrm
Reply to  drdneast
6 years ago

There’s nothing to “buy” about healing times from fractures vs shoulder sprains, separations or dislocations. Fractures have definitive time tables from which we know when a player can be expected to return, which is why estimating Tony Romos’ return to play was easier than ASJ. The team has never revealed specifically what happened with ASJ, but if it was an injury to his labrum or a significant AC joint sprain than it is more than reasonable for it to take this time. Feel free to doubt his ASJ talent or call for the Bucs to draft another TE, but this… Read more »

Garv
Garv
6 years ago

I don’t think ASJ should play until he is fully recovered. Same goes for VJ. The positive is Jameis is learning to make do, to spread the ball around and to lead whateever players ARE available to play. Sure it would be nice to have the BIG THREE recievers all on the field at the same time and I very much look forward to it. But NOT at the expense of further and more permanent damage.

fredster
fredster
6 years ago

I never doubted the injury wasn’t real, I just think he’s immature and injury prone. Regardless of legit or not at some point you have to move on from guys that are never on the field. Not sure what causes some guys to always have issues. Training, diet, genetics, and just plain stupid luck all play a part. I guess will see how it plays out , but If he misses time again next year…..

drdneast
drdneast
6 years ago

Don’t think we need to draft another TE as we have more pressing needs. We have three very capable TE’s as it is and all of them are under contract including ASJ.
Sorry, but all these theories about it being a labrum injury or a sprain or dislocation are just that; theories, since the Bucs don’t give out a lot of info in regards to injuries.
I don’t expect VJax to play unless he is healthy and ready to go. He has an outstanding record of starting for this team regardless of nagging injuries.
Something ASJ doesn’t.

scubog
scubog
6 years ago

I wonder if there are Giants fans chastising WR Victor Cruz who has also had a career hampered by injury. Those of you who have no idea whatsoever about ASJ’s injury and talk about his immaturity in the same breath may need to look in the mirror. I think it’s just a tad childish to jump to the conclusion that a player is “soft” or “injury prone” simply due to some misfortune in his short 1-1/2 year career. Poor QB Sam Bradford is the only player about whom I can recollect who’s suffered injury after injury going back to his… Read more »

warren
warren
Reply to  scubog
6 years ago

Scubog, I’ve read your posts for at least five years now,,and often agree with most of them. Calling other posters “childish”, telling them to “look in the mirror”, & comparing ASJ to a spouse “falling ill” are uncharacteristic of your posts. We’re all Bucs fans & love our team. My point is that ad hominems rarely make an argument better. But I’ll just chalk this one up to your post being at 5:29 AM! I’m still one of your fans!

scubog
scubog
Reply to  warren
6 years ago

Warren: Thanks for your comment. Maybe I was a bit harsh. The point I was trying to make is that we here in Bucville are often too quick to judge and make a decision with little to no facts. There were folks actually suggesting he be replaced simply because he is unable to play right now. The “look in the mirror” remark was that we all tend to judge ourselves with a shorter measuring stick than we do others. I’m always up early so I can’t use that excuse.

watson
watson
6 years ago

I do not doubt that he has a severe shoulder injury….but with him missing significant time his first 2 years in the league, it puts in doubt how much he can help the team. As Herm Edwards used to say, “the number one ability a player has to have is AVAILABILITY”

jshumaker
jshumaker
6 years ago

It sounds like Winston/Evans are going to have to beat the Eagles by themselves.

skipper
skipper
6 years ago

Like to work Brate into the offense a bit more.

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