Donovan Smith returns to Buccaneers practice; Tristan Wirfs says he feels ‘fantastic’

Tampa – As it turns out, see Ryan Jensen wears shoulder pads for the first time in five months That wasn’t the only encouraging image from Wednesday’s Buccaneers practice.

Several other players who have been sidelined recently with injuries also practiced in limited capacity as the team (7-8) begins preparations for Sunday’s de facto season game against the Panthers (6-9) at Raymond James Stadium. playoffs.

Among them: Veteran left tackle Donovan Smith, who missed the Christmas overtime win over the Cardinals with a foot injury; and Pro Bowl right tackle Tristan Wilfs, who played against the Cardinals for the first time in a month Team play (ankle), but visibly limped towards the end of the game.

After veteran Josh Wells went down in the first half with a torn patellar tendon, Wilfs, second-year reserve Brandon Walton and practice squad draftee Justin Schuler were the only tackles available Sunday.

“I’m great,” Wirfs said after practice. “I’ll go anyway. I’ll be fine.

Coach Todd Bowles, however, expressed a more cautious tone.

“It’s still early; we’ll see,” he said. “It’s a little bit brighter today, so once we get into it (Thursday) and Friday, we’ll see and see exactly where they are.”

Others in the game — albeit with limited ability — included cornerback Jamal Dean (toes) and outside linebacker Carnacib (chest), who both missed the final two games.Tail Leonard Fournette said on social media Monday that he is dealing with Lisfranc’s injury, Practice well.

With Nassib and Shaquil Barrett (injured reserve) sidelined, second-year rusher Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and fourth-year veteran Anthony Nelson have both played defensive tackles the past two games. Nelson missed Wednesday with an illness but is expected to be fine by the weekend.

“(Naseb) did something today,” Bowers said. “We’ll watch him over the course of the week to see how he feels, but he’s improving.”

The only notable absence at this point remains nose tackle Vitavia, who missed the last two games with a calf injury and didn’t show up for practice. Cornerback Carlton Davis participated in practice but sat out due to an unspecified shoulder injury.

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“We’ll see how (Vea) performs this week,” Powers said. “We’ll come out (Thursday) to see where he is.”

Wednesday’s all-hands scene makes sense; on Sunday, the Buccaneers won the NFC South. If Carolina wins, the Bucks will have to win in Atlanta the following weekend and hope the Panthers lose to the Saints in New Orleans to capture the division title.

Tampa Bay’s mathematical chance of making the playoffs as a wild card remains, albeit slim.

“it yes A playoff game (Sunday),” Bowles said. “They need it, we need it, so it’s essentially a playoff game. Our playoffs started last Sunday and we won, so this Sunday will be the same. “

Contact Joey Knight jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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