The Buccaneers injury news has gotten worse before their opener with the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday. This is because, Tampa Bay has added veteran Pro Bowl defensive back Brent Grimes (groin) and recently acquired third-year corner De’Vante Harris (hamstring) to their Friday injured list and both are not likely to play.
UPDATE: Grimes was downgraded Saturday to out for Sunday’s game with what was apparently the groin injury suffered at some point late this week. Grimes had not been on the injury report until Friday and did not make the trip to New Orleans.
The Bucs are counting on Grimes heavily as their most established corner going into this season. His status in the short term is clearly up in the air.
This likely means that part time starter a year ago Ryan Smith will step back into the starting lineup along with former first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves. Hargreaves has been battling a slight groin injury himself earlier in the preseason, but did return to action for the third preseason game against the Lions.
As for Harris, the Saints released him during training camp after he had played two seasons in New Orleans. And on Saturday afternoon the Bucs placed him on Injured Reserve. He had played significantly for the Bucs in the preseason including all of the finale with the Jaguars a week ago Thursday night.
Harris also was not on the injury report until Friday, which likely indicates his injury was suffered during Thursday’s practice.
The Bucs announced Saturday afternoon that veteran DB Javien Elliott had been promoted from their practice squad to replace Harris on the roster. Elliott has played in 21 games in his career in Tampa Bay with two starts.
Tampa Bay also ruled out rookie first-round pick defensive tackle Vita Vea for Sunday. Vea, who has really been unable to practice at all since suffering a calf strain the first week of training camp, had not practiced at all this week.
Only good news injury front: left tackle Donovan Smith was listed as a full participant during Friday’s walk-through practice and is officially listed as “questionable” to play against the Saints. Smith has played in 48 consecutive games since being drafted in the second round by Tampa Bay in 2015.
Also second round defensive back M.J. Stewart, who Tampa Bay wants to use at not only corner, but also some at safety, has been on the injured list with a foot injury. He has no injury status for the game, which means he will play.
Stewart will be counted on more with Grimes and Adams both out for Sunday. So, too, will fellow rookie second round pick Carlton Davis, as the Bucs travel to the Bayou.
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