The 4-1 Buccaneers have been ravaged by injuries this season, but one key member might be back on Thursday night against the Eagles.
That would be tight end Rob Gronkowski, who missed the last two games with broken ribs. The Athletic Buccaneers beat reporter Greg Auman reported on Monday that Gronkowski is very close to be able to return on Thursday. That comes directly from head coach Bruce Arians, who spoke to the media on Monday.
The Buccaneers missed Gronkowski’s presence in the red zone against the Patriots in Week 4, when Tampa Bay converted just 1-of-4 opportunities. The offense had its best performance of the season on Sunday against the Dolphins, going 4-of-6 in the red zone and compiling 558 yards of offense.
In Gronkowski’s absence, neither Cameron Brate nor O.J. Howard have made a difference, combining for just five catches for 60 yards in both games. The Buccaneers are the epitome of walking-wounded right now, with more injuries coming out of the Dolphins game.
Star linebacker Lavonte David suffered a high ankle sprain, knocking him out of action for the foreseeable future. Starting cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting remain on injured reserve, while Arians said that he hopes to get safety Antoine Winfield Jr., who suffered a concussion against the Patriots, back soon.
The Buccaneers are a healthy seven-point favorite against the Eagles per FanDuel Sportsbook even with a hobbled group of players. Despite the injuries, the Buccaneers still have Tom Brady and riches at the skill positions, meaning that they should come away with a W over a 2-3 Philadelphia team that has been inconsistent this season.