The Buccaneers have officially activated running back Leonard Fournette off injured reserve, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Fournette will be active and presumably assume his duties as Tampa Bay’s No. 1 tailback in the NFC Divisional matchup against the Rams at 3:00 p.m. on NBC.
OutKick’s Dr. David Chao (ProFootballDoc), has given Fournette a 63 Sports Injury Central (SIC) score. That would indicate that while Fournette will give it a go, he will likely not be 100%.
“The Tampa Bay starting running back was not available for the Wildcard win over the Eagles because of a significant hamstring injury he suffered in Week 15,” Chao wrote. “He has a better chance to play this week, but will likely have limited burst and cutting ability.”
Fournette, 27, has been out since Week 16 with a hamstring injury. He wrapped up his 2021 campaign rushing for 812 yards and eight touchdowns on 4.5 YPC. Quarterback Tom Brady used him as a weapon in the passing game as well, as Fournette hauled in 69 receptions for 454 yards and two scores.
Without him and Ronald Jones, who’s been out of action since Week 17 with an ankle injury, Tampa Bay has relied on second-year running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn and veteran Giovani Bernard. Vaughn rushed for 53 yards on 17 carries and a score in the Buccaneers’ 31-15 victory over the Eagles in the NFC Wild Card Sunday. Bernard recorded 83 total yards and a touchdown.
The Rams’ run defense has been stout all-year long, conceding just 99 YPG. In the Buccaneers’ 34-24 Week 3 loss to the Rams, Fournette rushed for just eight yards on four carries.
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