The Buccaneers released the first Injury Report on Wednesday prior to the season opener. As of Wednesday the following players were listed on the report:
DE Da’Quan Bowers (#91) : Abdominal injury – Did not participate in practice
DE William Gholston (#92) : Shoulder injury – Did not participate in practice
RB Mike James (#25) : Shoulder injury – Limited participation in practice
CB Mike Jenkins (#24) : Hamstring injury – Full participation in practice
FB Jorvorskie Lane (#46) : Hand injury – Limited participation in practice
S Bradley McDougald (#49) : Knee injury – Did not participate in practice
CB Rashaan Melvin (#28) : Ankle injury – Did not participate in practice
WR Louis Murphy (#11) : Bank injury – Did not participate in practice
Including RB Charles Sims‘ (#34) designation to injured reserve, the Buccaneers running back corps has taken a hit due to injury. If James is still out on Sunday, the Buccaneers will be left with only two running backs as they battle division rivals the Carolina Panthers. Lane’s potential absence even furthers the blow as he is the only full back and could have provided additional assistance to the dwindling running back corps.
James’ injury could also have an impact on special teams as he is #2 for kick returns. PR Bobby Rainey (#43) is the only player at that position, and is also listed as #3 for kick returns. With James out, that leaves only Rainey and KR Chris Owusu (#80) on returns. Questions about special teams arose when the Buccaneers released assumed shoe-in WR Solomon Patton (#86), who excelled at returns due to his speed and looked like the team’s answer at the position.
Injuries to Gholston and Bowers left the two largely unavailable during the preseason, and was rumored to put Bowers’ future with the Buccaneers in jeopardy. These injuries raise additional questions about depth on the defensive line.