The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have quarterback Tom Brady under center against the visiting Green Bay Packers, but the availability of two other important offensive players may not be known until Sunday.
Brady, 45, is expected to regularly rest from practice on Wednesdays. However, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Brady “repeatedly shook his right ring finger” during Thursday’s practice. Brady said on his “Let’s Go” podcast released Monday that he hurt his finger during last week’s win over New Orleans.
Brady was not listed on the injury report, and coach Todd Bowles said Friday that his quarterback is “ready to go, he’s fully practicing. He’s been taking every throw.”
Bowles said wide receiver Julio Jones and tackle Donovan Smith could be game-time decisions.
Jones was dealing with a knee injury, while Smith hyperextended his right elbow in the season opener.
Bowles said Smith “tried to practice” Thursday and rested Friday to see how he feels on game day.
The Bucs will certainly be without wide receiver Mike Evans, who was suspended by the NFL for one game after his altercation against New Orleans last week. Chris Godwin also did not practice this week with a hamstring injury.
The team signed veteran Cole Beasley to add depth to a depleted receiving corps.
“I don’t think it’s affected much,” Bowles said when asked how the injuries affect the game plan. “We have guys that have played in that system. Obviously each guy has different skill sets, but a system is a system and we’re going to run it the way we use it.”
Bowles said running back Leonard Fournette, who was playing through a minor hamstring injury, “was fine.”
Fournette registered 45 of 53 carries for Bucs running backs through two weeks, with rookie third-rounder Rachad White getting the other eight. Ke’Sean Vaughn, who led the team with 109 yards on 29 carries in the preseason, has yet to get a touchdown during the regular season.
“He’s gotten better in every aspect of his ball game, and it’s going to be exciting when he gets a chance to play,” Bowles said of Vaughn. “Depending on the game plan and what we do, it depends on whether he plays more or less this week, but in the meantime, he’ll be working on special teams, and if he gets a chance to get in there, I expect to see that I saw Ke’ Shawn in the preseason.”