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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Calijah Kancey to Undergo MRI After Calf Strain

Rookie DL Calijah Kancey, the Bucs' top draft pick in 2023 and an early standout in training camp, sustained a calf injury early in Sunday's practice and will be examined to see if he needs to miss any time


It is an unfortunate football reality that, at some point during a hot three-week summer camp, most NFL teams will need a golf cart to help a player get to the training room. This summer, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made it five days in before bringing out the cart.

During individual position drills on Sunday morning, early in the fifth practice of the Buccaneers' training camp, rookie defensive lineman Calijah Kancey went down with a lower right leg injury. He was eventually helped to his feet and then taken inside by the cart. At the conclusion of practice, Head Coach Todd Bowles reported that Kancey had a calf strain and would undergo an MRI examination to determine its severity.

While a cart ride out of practice sounds alarming, it doesn't actually offer much information about how serious an injury will prove to be. The Buccaneers are hoping Kancey's ailment is a mild one that won't cause him to miss much time because he had already built up quite a momentum in the early days of camp.

"He's adapting to the scheme mentally, and then he was adding his physical part to it," said Bowles. "He's putting it together quicker than normal rookies do. So hopefully it's not that bad and he can get back."

The Buccaneers selected the University of Pittsburgh star with the 19th overall pick in this year's draft, and they anticipate him stepping right into the starting lineup as the three-technique tackle next to Pro Bowl nose tackle Vita Vea. The explosive get-off that allowed him to rack up 14.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss over the last two seasons at Pitt and earned him unanimous All-American honors has already been noticeably on display on the Bucs' practice field.

The Buccaneers did get some positive news on the injury front with wide receiver Russell Gage getting in his first practice work since the start of camp. Gage took part in individual drills and will hopefully graduate to full-team work soon as he seeks to solidify his spot as the Buccaneers' third receiver.

In addition, outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who is returning from the Achilles tendon tear he suffered midway through last season, got back into the mix at practice Sunday after getting a planned day off on Friday. The entire team had the day off on Saturday.

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