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Buccaneers’ Robert Ayers ruled out with ankle injury

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have lost Robert Ayers to an ankle injury for at least the rest of the game against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Bucs defensive end was forced to leave the game in the first half after being limited several times in practice during the week. The team announced after the half that he’s been ruled out for the rest of the game.

Ayers was the team’s big free agent signing on defense this offseason, and they hoped he’d boost their pass rush. That worked in the first game of the season, but the Bucs have struggled to get a hand on Carson Palmer today. In Ayers’ absence, undrafted rookie Davonte Lambert has been getting some playing time on running downs, with Noah Spence and Howard Jones getting playing time on passing downs.

With Luke Stocker and Doug Martin also ruled out for the game, the Bucs have now lost three starters in just one half of football against the Cardinals.

We don’t know how serious this ankle injury is. We’ll know more about that tomorrrow, when Dirk Koetter should give us some updates, or on Wednesday, when the team releases its first injury report of the week.