Several Buccaneers starters took positive steps toward returning to the lineup, if Thursday’s practice is any indicator.
Most notably, Antoine Winfield Jr. participated in limited fashion after missing all of last week and Wednesday. While he remains in concussion protocol, any improvement creates optimism ahead of Sunday.
Julio Jones’s health seems to be less and less of question, as he played last Thursday and returned to full participation this Thursday after sitting out yesterday. Treating him tactfully will be pivotal as the season rolls on.
In terms of other receivers, Mike Evans remained limited with an ankle ailment but his status likely isn’t anything to worry about. However, Russell Gage remains a non-participant due to his hamstring injury, which probably means he’ll miss his second consecutive game. Luke Goedeke also hasn’t practiced this week so it should still be Nick Leverett starting at left guard this week.
Other players who seem likely to return from hiatuses include Akiem Hicks, and Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting. They’ve all been full participants this week. Shaq Mason played through an ankle injury against the Ravens and sat out Wednesday, but returned as a limited participant on Thursday so he should be fine to play as well.
Cameron Brate will likely push to play as he returns from his neck injury, but the team might choose to remain cautious. He may carry a questionable designation into Sunday.
The Los Angeles Rams come in fairly healthy as well. Cooper Kupp was upgraded from DNP to limited as he recovers from a rolled ankle, and all indications are that he will play.
Edge rusher Terrell Lewis returned to full participation after his rest day, and center Brian Allen (knee) went from DNP to limited. Running back Cam Akers returned to full participation after being away for personal reasons, presumably because of the heavy trade speculation that surrounded him. It seems unlikely he will play much, if at all, for the team given where their relationship is at the moment.
The Rams did have three new additions to the report, as two players — defensive tackle Greg Gaines and linebacker Ernest Jones — sat out because of illness and another, linebacker Jacob Hummel, was limited with a hip ailment.
Here’s the injury report in full: