The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting and long-snapper Zach Triner from injured reserve on Monday afternoon, making them eligible to play a few hours later against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.
The Buccaneers had two open spots on the 53-man roster and thus didn't have to make any corresponding moves to create space for Murphy-Bunting and Triner. The Buccaneers placed cornerbacks Rashard Robinson and Richard Sherman on injured reserve on November 12 and November 17, respectively, and did not sign players to fill those spots.
Both Murphy-Bunting and Triner have been on injured reserve since suffering injuries in the Bucs' season-opening win over Dallas. Murpy-Bunting was sidelined by a dislocated elbow and Triner was lost to a finger ailment on his left hand, though he impressively played the majority of the game after sustaining that injury. Murphy-Bunting was designated to return to practice on November 2, beginning a 21-day window in which he could practice with the team without counting against the 53-man roster. Triner returned to practice this past Wednesday, beginning his own 21-day window.
Triner could return to action on Monday against the Giants, though the Buccaneers currently have two long-snappers on the roster. Carson Tinker, who handled all the snapping duties in Triner's absence, is available as well. Meanwhile, Head Coach Bruce Arians said on Saturday that Murphy-Bunting had demonstrated on the practice field that he was ready to return to action.
"I think Sean has shown me that he's probably ready to go, and we'll just see if we're going to make that roster move yet," said Arians. "We'll wait and see where that one goes, but he's ready."
The Bucs certainly had a need at cornerback with Sherman going to I.R., where he joins injured starter Carlton Davis. Murphy-Bunting could factor into the defensive plans on Monday night, though Arians said the team would be careful not to give him too much work too quickly.
"Yeah, getting them back is one thing but playing 60 plays is another," said Arians of Murphy-Bunting and Davis, both Week One starters. "They haven't played that much football. Sean has been out a long time, so we can't overload him. But there are spots if we can get him back in there, he can help us for sure, and gradually get his role back. The same thing when Carlton [Davis III] hopefully comes back – don't throw him out there so fast that he re-injures himself."