The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will allow Da'Quan Bowers to resume practicing with the team this Wednesday, head coach Greg Schiano has announced. Bowers has missed all of the season so far with a torn Achilles tendon, having been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of training camp. The Bucs now have three weeks to move Bowers to the active roster, or place him on season-ending injured reserve.
Da'Quan Bowers was the Bucs' second-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft, but had been projected to be one of the top picks in the draft before news of a possibly chronic knee injury surfaced. Bowers barely played in his rookie season, collecting 1.5 sacks in 16 games and six starts, but showed off some incredible physical talent and a raw skillset when he did get on the field.
The Bucs will hope he can bring some of that talent to the table during the rest of the season, as they've already lost former first-round pick Adrian Clayborn for the season with a knee injury. The Tampa Bay defensive line has been outstanding against the run, but hasn't made a big impact against the pass the past few games, collecting just eight sacks on the season but still leading the league in negative plays.
If Bowers did return this season, he would likely be eased back, but could take over the starting right end job from Daniel Te'o-Nesheim when he's fully healthy. The Bucs will have to be careful not to hurry the defensive end back, however. Achilles injuries can be career-ending, although recent results suggest treatment has improved. Panthers linebacker Jon Beason returned from an Achilles tear this season, for instance, and has looked as good as he has in previous season. Whether Bowers can return to form remains to be seen.