Will Bucs C Hainsey be available for the playoffs?
Bucs center Robert Hainsey injured a hamstring in the 30-17 loss to the Falcons in Atlanta in Week 18 and played just 13 snaps before exiting the game. Tampa Bay moved left guard Nick Leverett to center to fill out the remainder of the game, but what is Hainsey’s availability for the Bucs’ playoff game against the Cowboys?
Pewter Report has learned that Hainsey’s hamstring injury is not serious and the team is hopeful he can start against Dallas in the Wild Card round of the playoffs at Raymond James Stadium. The fact that the game is Monday night instead of Saturday or Sunday increases the chances that Hainsey will be ready. Hainsey started every game at center this season as a sophomore player.
Hainsey’s hamstring injury is considered a tweak rather than a serious strain, helping his cause – and the Bucs’. Hainsey’s departure forced Tampa Bay to put John Molchon on left guard to replace Leverett in Atlanta. Molchon, who has been in Tampa Bay for the past three years mostly on the practice squad, saw his first regular NFL season action in Sunday’s loss.
The Bucs got rookie Luke Goedeke off with a good tackle for Tristan Wirfs, who was out of the game with an ankle sprain he played on for the past two weeks. Tampa Bay was already without left tackle Donovan Smith, who was inactive with a foot injury. Brandon Walton got the start at left tackle for Smith.
If Hainsey can make a successful return for the Bucs vs. Cowboys, the offensive starting line would remain intact. Smith and Wirfs are both expected to start against Dallas, and Leverett would move back to left guard with Shaq Mason at right guard.
Update on Bucs C Jensen
The Bucs offensive line could potentially receive a boost from injured starter Ryan Jensen, who began practice with the team on December 28. The Pro Bowl center has been injured since day two of training camp when he hurt his right knee. He was placed on injured reserve in September and missed the 2022 regular season.
Jensen still has eight days in the Practice window of 21 days to either be added to the active roster or remain on injured reserve for the remainder of the 2022 postseason.
It’s uncertain if Jensen has progressed enough to be activated from IR, and if he’s healthy enough to dress — even as a backup lineman for Tampa Bay’s playoff game against Dallas.
Bucs head coach Todd Bowles is expected to address the media at noon on Monday regarding Hainsey’s injury and the potential availability of Jensen.
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