The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' injury report on Friday listed four players as 'out' and two more as 'questionable.' Fortunately, by kickoff on Sunday the 'out' list had not grown any longer.
The Buccaneers will be without wide receiver Antonio Brown, inside linebacker Lavonte David, tight end Rob Gronkowski and cornerback Richard Sherman due to injuries when they play the Chicago Bears in Week Seven. However, tight end O.J. Howard and outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul – the two players on the aforementioned 'questionable' list – were cleared to play.
Howard is dealing with an ankle injury but was a full participant in practice on Friday. Pierre-Paul did not practice at all this week due to the shoulder and hand injuries he's been playing through for much of the season. Head Coach Bruce Arians said he held Pierre-Paul out of practice on Friday in order to increase his chances of playing on Sunday.
Gronkowski will be out for the fourth week in a row due to fractured ribs while David will miss a second straight game thanks to a high ankle sprain. Both Brown (ankle) and Sherman (hamstring) sustained new injuries in Week Six at Philadelphia. Howard and Cam Brate will continue to see increased action in Gronkowski's absence while Kevin Minter will once again start in David's place. Brown's injury likely means significantly more playing time for Tyler Johnson, while Sherman's starting spot is expected to go to Dee Delaney or Pierre Desir.
The Buccaneers and Bears submitted their list of inactives at 2:55 p.m. ET on Sunday, 90 minutes before the scheduled kickoff of their Week Seven meeting at Raymond James Stadium. After elevating wide receiver Cyril Grayson and tight end Deon Yelder from the practice squad on Saturday, the Buccaneers carried 55 active players into Sunday, meaning they had to declare seven of them inactive to get down to the game limit of 48.
The Bears also elevated three players – defensive tackle Margus Hunt, guard Dieter Eiselen and tackle Arlington Hambright (COVID replacement) – from the practice squad for Sunday's game. However, with tackle Elijah Wilkinson, inside linebacker Caleb Johnson, outside linebacker Robert Quinn and tight end Jimmy Graham on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Chicago only had 52 players on the active roster heading into Sunday's kickoff and thus had to name just four inactives.
Two of those five are defensive starters, as neither safety Tashaun Gipson (hip) nor defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (groin) were able to suit up against the Buccaneers. Gipson was ruled out on Friday's injury report and the Bears later downgraded Hicks from questionable to out on Saturday after the veteran defender did not travel with the team to Tampa. Deon Bush has started two previous games this season for Gipson while Angelo Blackson is likely to step in for Hicks on the line. Wilkinson, meanwhile, was slated to start at right tackle for the injured Germain Ifedi, so the Bears will be moving farther down the depth chart at that spot.
- WR Antonio Brown
- ILB Lavonte David
- TE Rob Gronkowski
- OL Nick Leverett
- DL Steve McLendon
- CB Richard Sherman
- QB Kyle Trask
Brown, David, Gronkowski and Sherman are out due to injury.
- QB Nick Foles
- S Tashaun Gipson
- DT Akiem Hicks
- WR Breshad Perriman
Gipson and Hicks are out due to injury.