Wide receiver Adam Humphries missed one game due to a concussion he suffered in San Diego in Week 13, the first concussion of his football career. It looks like he won't miss a second game.
On Thursday, Humphries confirmed that he has finished and been cleared by the NFL's concussion protocol, a process that began on December 4 when he was first injured. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' third-leading receiver returned to practice the next week after missing the team's Wednesday workout but was not cleared in time to play in last Sunday's win over New Orleans.
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"Adam's out of the protocol, so it's good to have him back," said Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter. "Adam's a valuable member [of the offense], so good to have him back out there."
Humphries was hurt in the second quarter of Tampa Bay's win over the Chargers when he absorbed a hard hit on a seven-yard pass over the middle. That ended his day but the catch did successfully convert a third down. Humphries has 42 catches for 467 yards and one touchdown and has been particularly good at gaining yards after the catch on short screens and similar plays.
As Koetter notes, the Buccaneers will be pleased to get that dimension back in their offense on Sunday, assuming Humphries is ready to go as he clearly believes he will be. He has been full-go in practice this week, which has helped him be assimilated back into the offense.
"It's definitely going to help to have these three days of practice, just getting back into the tempo of play," said Humphries. "I'm just excited to play Sunday."
Humphries obviously didn't enjoy missing a game due to injury for the first time in his young NFL career, but he appreciates that the current system is aimed at protecting players with concussions.
"I think it's awesome what the NFL is doing with all the steps you have to go through," he said. "[You] pass the baseline [test] and then practicing, how you feel, and then finally going to the neurologist and getting cleared by them. I think it's cool what they 're doing and I think in the long run it's going to help out."
While Humphries week of practice has gone well, the Buccaneers did add two players to the official injury report on Thursday. Linebacker Lavonte David and defensive tackle Sealver Siliga both were limited in practice due to hamstring and calf injuries, respectively. David's importance to the defense is obvious and the team doesn't have much experienced depth behind their starting trio of linebackers. The Bucs do have a relatively deep group of defensive tackles but there was a chance the massive and strong Siliga might see a higher percentage of snaps this week against the run-heavy Cowboys.
"You see him at practice or during the game, he just takes two grown men and holds them in place," said fellow defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. "It's like, how can you do that? He just [doesn't] get moved, man; he's always in place and he's really intelligent. He picked up on the defense within a couple days. He's really intelligent and he's just a big help for us."
McCoy is also on the injury report, but he returned to practice in a limited fashion after sitting out on Wednesday. He has played the past two games through a foot injury that prompted the coaching staff to rest him for most of those two weeks of practice. The team seems to be following a similar pattern this week.
"Gerald's been playing banged up the last few weeks, I wouldn't read too much into that," said Koetter. "[We're] just at that point in the season where some guys need a couple extra days to get back."
Tight end Luke Stocker, who suffered an ankle injury on the first play of the San Diego game and did not practice or play last week, progressed from limited to full participation on Thursday. Safety Chris Conte (chest) also practiced without limits for the second straight day but starting right tackle Demar Dotson remained out due to a concussion.