TAMPA – That mini-bye week the Buccaneers got this past week did the team good. Not only did it give them a chance to rest up, it gave at least two key players a chance to heal up.
Linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander were both back at practice for the Bucs on Wednesday, when the team began preparing for its game Sunday against the Cardinals in Arizona.
David has missed the each of the last two games with a left ankle injury while Alexander has missed all but the Bucs season opener with a hamstring strain.
The Bucs have marveled at the way rookie Kendell Beckwith and reserve Adarius Glanton have filled in for their top two linebackers but the team admits it’s better off with its top players in the lineup.
“Anytime you get your top-level players back it’s a jolt to the defense and probably a jolt to the entire team,’’ Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith said. “We want our best players out there and we haven’t been able to have that the last (few) weeks.’’
David and Alexanders were both officially listed as “limited” participants on the Bucs injury report, but the fact both were practicing on Wednesday is significant in that Wednesday is a padded practice day for the Buccaneers.
That’s a strong indication that barring a setback for either player, both should be able to resume their regular roles in the Bucs starting lineup come Sunday at Arizona.
The same may hold true for safeties Keith Tandy and T.J. Ward, both of whom have been nursing hip injuries that forced them to sit out the Bucs game against the Patriots last week.
Like David and Alexander, Tandy and Ward were both limited in practice on Wednesday but the fact they were back on the field at all is a sign both are making progress toward a return.