David Chao, MD: Bucs’ Chris Godwin To Miss Week 2 Home Opener Vs. Panthers, Maybe More

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More bad news for Tom Brady’s receiving corps. Chris Godwin is destined to miss the Week 2 home opener against the Panthers, at least. In Week 1, Mike Evans was essentially a decoy with his only reception in garbage time for 2 yards (albeit a TD).

Brady had a rather pedestrian debut with the Bucs, throwing 2 TDs and 2 INTs leading to a mediocre 78.4 quarterback rating. With Godwin now a late add to the concussion protocol, he will almost certainly miss at least the next game. 

A fourth-down hit Sunday by D.J. Swearinger of the Saints was a bang bang play and Godwin was able to make it to the sideline under his own power and his team scored before he could return. He reportedly had no symptoms on the sidelines or on Monday or Tuesday but reported to the facility today with some symptoms and the Bucs are doing the right thing by being cautious. 

When there are delayed onset symptoms, it means the clearance to return to play will be delayed as well. The league protocol calls for a 5 step return to play protocol and there is no way anyone who has late symptoms on Wednesday can be cleared by the independent neuro by Sunday. The only slim hope is if it is determined that Godwin never had head injury symptoms at all but was placed in the protocol as an extreme precaution.

In my NFL experience, I have seen players placed in the protocol on game day and then found not to have a concussion, but it would be very unusual for a player placed into the protocol three days after the game to be deemed fine. Also, consider that late developing symptoms often are associated with multi-week absences before clearance.

Let’s hope for a false alarm on Godwin but the pattern of late symptoms leads to significant worry.

Hopefully Evans’ hamstring is improved but unlikely will be 100%. Rob Gronkowski, coming out of retirement, had a lackluster 2 catches for 11 yards on 3 targets. Brady and the Bucs will need Scotty Miller and tight end OJ Howard to step up to notch their first victory of 2020.

Written by Dr. David Chao

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

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  1. That is a big loss for sure hope he returns soon but i think they have enough to handle the Panthers this week they should have had more contact in preseason get those bodies in football shape. I believe we may see more injuries than usual because of that’.

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