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Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown is expected to miss two more games to recover from an ongoing ankle injury, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Looking ahead to Week 13’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, the Bucs had been eyeing Brown’s return from an extensive recovery timeline.
In five games this season, 33-year-old Brown has collected 26 receptions and 418 yards receiving. Sunday’s expected absence will mark his seventh missed game since Week 6’s matchup against the Eagles when Brown first suffered the injury. The upcoming Falcons game would have met the original estimate for Brown’s return, but it appears that Tampa’s medical staff is pessimistic over putting him back on the field so soon.
Brown recently caught heat for allegedly using a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to meet the NFL’s health and safety protocols, which grants upside to vaccinated players.
Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich has been exceptional at featuring the tripartite of receivers in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Brown. For the next two weeks, Leftwich’s scheme remains on track — benefiting from the team’s impressive depth, and allowing Brown to take the allotted time off to prepare for a deep playoff run.
The Bucs can also expect tight end Rob Gronkowski, 32, to show out against Atlanta. Gronk is now just one 100-yard performance away from tying Tony Gonzalez’s record of 100-yard performances by a tight end (31 games).
Tampa Bay hopes to recreate their championship formula from the 2020 postseason, and a healthy Antonio Brown’s return will certainly aid that run.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela