The runner most everyone seems to have forgotten about in the Buccaneers battered backfield in recent weeks is Charles Sims.
It’s not hard to see why.
Sims was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury a month ago and many thought at the time that he was done for the year.
That may not be the case, though.
In fact, Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said twice on Monday that he is still hopeful Sims can return before the season is out.
How can that be? Well, keep in mind that the Bucs still have not designated anyone for a return from injured reserve.
The reason they haven’t done that is because the rules regarding who can be designated for a return from IR have changed.
Teams can still only designate one player for a return from IR. What’s different is when they can make that designation.
A year ago, the player designated for a return had to be so designated when he was first placed on IR. That’s not the case this year.
Teams can now wait until a player is actually ready to return from IR before designating him for return.
So when might Sims be ready for a return? Well, he was placed on IR just ahead of the Bucs Week 5 game at Carolina. Since the rules for players placed on IR say a player designated for return cannot begin to practice for at least six weeks and cannot return to the active roster for at least eight weeks, the earliest Sims could come back is early December.
At the rate the Bucs are going that would probably prove to be too late for Sims to make an impact. However, if the Bucs can turn things around in the short term and not just win some game but get either Doug Martin or Jacquizz Rodgers back, they could throw a very formidable running attack at their last few opponents.
Again, that could all prove to be a case of too little too late, but if Sims and Martin are running the ball for the Bucs at end of the season, that final month could prove to be a very interesting one indeed.