The benefit for a team coming off a bye like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are for Week 14 usually comes in the form of getting a bit healthier. With star wide receiver Mike Evans popping up on the post-bye injury reports this week though, it seemed the Bucs might miss out.
Reports coming out of the AdventHealth Training center on Friday were a bit better than the previous day’s versions though as Mike Evans was able to practice at the end of the week, and will be good to go for Sunday afternoon’s clash against the Minnesota Vikings.
HC Bruce Arians says WR Mike Evans practiced in full today. CB Jamel Dean did a little bit but not much and will be a game-time decision on Sunday.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) December 11, 2020
“I think he (Evans) had a scare,” Arians said about the status of his star receiver this week. “Scared me more than anybody. He’s fine. He practiced (well).”
That response from Arians stemming from a follow-on question from ESPN’s Jenna Laine pertaining to the health and availability of Tampa Bay’s number one receiver.
Laine also asked Arians about the mental impact of getting the late bye week and the ramifications it might have they get ready to play the most important four-game stretch of the year, in December.
“Oh, it’s huge,” Arians said. “I mean it’s big. Especially this year, it’s really bad on everybody. You go to work, you go home, you go to work, you go home, and there’s no real stress relief for a lot of us...It’s a grind to get through thirteen-fourteen weeks.”
As much of a struggle as it has been for the Bucs squad playing through thirteen straight weeks without a break, the post-bye slate of games gets even tougher if the team isn’t healthy coming out of it. Keeping Evans healthy enough through this latest hamstring ‘scare’ is big as the team enters a must-win game against the Vikings.
The team may not be so fortunate with cornerback Jamel Dean. The second-year defender suffered a concussion in the team’s Week 11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, and subsequently missed Tampa Bay’s Week 12 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Coming back for Week 14 Dean has been cleared through the NFL’s concussion protocols, but suffered a groin injury which had him out of most practice reps during the week, and has his status as questionable entering the weekend.
With Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson traveling to Tampa for the game, the Bucs want to have as many assets available as possible. So, while it’s great to have given Evans the green-light, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t out of the injury forrest just yet as they wait to see if Dean can rejoin his teammates on the field this Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.