Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans is still dealing with a hamstring strain suffered in Week 15, but at least he won't be kept out of action in Week 17 by COVID-19.
On Friday, the Buccaneers activated Evans from the reserve/COVID-19 list, where he had originally landed on Monday. Evans missed the team's Week 16 win at Carolina due to the hamstring injury. The team also placed punter Bradley Pinion on the COVID list Friday.
Those two moves leaves the Bucs with four players on the COVID list: Pinion, wide receiver Jaelon Darden and cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting. Wide receiver Breshad Perriman was activated from the list on Monday and defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches came off it on Thursday.
Evans is the Buccaneers' second-leading receiver behind Chris Godwin, who is on injured reserve and will not return this season. Evans has caught 64 passes for 899 yards and a team-leading 11 touchdowns. Those 11 scoring catches rank second in the NFL to the 14 by the Rams' Cooper Kupp. Already the first player in NFL history to begin his career with seven straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons, Evans is just 111 yards shy of making it eight in a row.
Pinion handled the Bucs' punting in each of the first 14 games but has recently been dealing with a right hip ailment. In Week 16, the Buccaneers elevated punter Sterling Hofrichter from the practice squad and handed him the punting duties against Carolina, with Pinion on the game day inactive list. Pinion has a gross average of 42.4 yards and a net average of 38.5 yards on 53 punts this year, with 23 kicks downed inside the 20 and just two touchbacks.