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Report- Bucs tight end Howard out with sprained knee

Florida Football Insiders

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Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t just a humiliating loss on the field for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, as Chicago blew them out 48-10. Now comes word there’s a significant injury to deal with as well, as the Bucs will be without tight end O.J. Howard for a little while.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport had the scoop at lunchtime Monday that Howard will be out at least a game or so with an MCL sprain in his knee.

Howard injured the knee trying to make a leaping catch from Ryan Fitzpatrick in the first half of the game at Soldier Field on Sunday and did not return.

Already this season, he had become a favorite target of Fitzpatrick’s, especially on third down, with 11 receptions for 222 yards and a touchdown through the first three games. This included a 75 yard catch and run touchdown (above) in the Bucs 27-21 win over the Eagles two weeks ago.

Howard, the Bucs 2017 first round pick, had a solid 2017 season that included 26 catches for 432 yards and 6 touchdowns in his rookie year. This included a 100 yard receiving two touchdown game in Buffalo. His season ended with a broken ankle in the Monday loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

The Bucs will now turn to fellow pass-catching tight end Cameron Brate to pick up the playing time and slack in Howard’s absence. The fifth year veteran Brate has caught a touchdown in each of the last tw0 games and has become a very effective target over the last three seasons in the red zone for Tampa Bay.

The Bucs are on their bye week and then play at Atlanta on October 14th. There is an outside shot that Howard might be able to play in that game. If not, their next game is at home the following Sunday against the Browns could be a possibility.

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