Monday, February 6, 2023

Bucs expect Russell Gage to play Week 1, Tristan Wirfs trending toward being available but not certain

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp
Julio Aguilar / Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have dealt with a variety of injuries throughout training camp, but they may be getting a few of their injured players back in time for the season-opening game against the Dallas Cowboys next week. 

Head coach Todd Bowles told reporters on Friday that star right tackle Tristan Wirfs is trending toward being available for that game. Wirfs himself was a bit less optimistic, noting that his oblique injury has been frustrating and that, “I’d rather make sure I’m good to go than come back and have it tweak again,” and then turn into a multi-week injury, according to the Tampa Bay Times

Meanwhile, wide receiver Russell Gage is back in practice after suffering a hamstring injury last week. “He’s getting better and better every day,” Bowles said of Gage. “We expect him to be on track to play and trending in the right direction.” With Chris Godwin somewhat unlikely to play Week 1 as he works his way back into shape after last season’s ACL tear, Gage figures to operate as Tampa’s slot receiver in the early going. 

Bowles also said that passing-down back Giovani Bernard is “moving around well,” and that the team hopes he can also be ready to play against Dallas. Leonard Fournette seems likely to be the lead dog in the backfield with rookie Rachaad White picking up some of the slack, but Bernard’s experience in passing situations and the two-minute offense could still earn him a role if he can get back on the field.

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