The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are fighting for their playoff lives and it seems like each week they have less to fight with than they had the week before.

Injuries have once again played a big role in Tampa Bay’s season. The team went through a number of injury issues in 2021 and they eventually helped end the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl defense sooner than desired. This year, it’s much of the same and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better anytime soon.

This is because the Buccaneers released their injury report on Wednesday and it not only included big names, but they’re big names that weren’t on Week 15’s report.

Meaning, the Buccaneers are dealing with more injuries as they head into their Week 16 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals.

Donovan Smith and Josh Wells are two of the additions from last week’s game. Smith missed practice with a foot injury and Wells was limited with a back injury.

If one -or both- players miss Sunday’s game and Tristan Wirfs is unavailable to go, then that could spell big trouble for the Buccaneers. The offensive line would have to make some serious adjustments because the team would be down to its fourth-string tackle, Brandon Walton, and practice squad elevations at that point.

Fortunately, things don’t sound too dire when it comes to the status of Smith and Wirfs. Right now, it sounds like both have a shot at playing against the Cardinals.

“Donovan was getting treatment on his foot, so he didn’t practice today,” Todd Bowles told reporters. “Tristan was limited today – he’s getting better and better. We’ll evaluate him as the week goes.”

Things don’t sound as bright for starting cornerback Jamel Dean, however.

“He needs more time,” Bowles said when asked if Dean would be available for this week’s game.

Bowles said Monday that Vita Vea was a “little behind” Wirfs and that Antoine Winfield Jr. is day-to-day with his ankle injury, so there is optimism that both will play on Sunday, as well. But, as we all know, nothing is ever guaranteed in these situations.

We’ll see how things play out, but it’s safe to say the Buccaneers are hoping to get back as many players as possible for this must-win matchup.

Featured image via Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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