One of the biggest storylines involving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ 2022 season was the loss of center Ryan Jensen, who is considered by many to be one of the best centers throughout the NFL.

Jensen suffered a brutal knee injury on the second day of training camp and was subsequently placed on injured reserve before the start of the season. No official diagnosis was ever given and the Buccaneers never gave out any extra information, which has left everyone in the dark when it comes to the Pro Bowler’s potential return.

Media and fans were finally given a concrete update when the team announced its decision to activate Jensen’s 21-day practice window on December 28. Jensen didn’t play in the Buccaneers’ final two games of the season, but he has been practicing with teammates during the week leading up to the games.

It remains to be seen if Jensen plays against the Dallas Cowboys on Super Wild Card Weekend. Many have speculated on a potential return for the postseason, which would be a huge boost to the team.

But, here we are on Monday, and head coach Todd Bowles still doesn’t know if Jensen will be able to take the field in an official capacity on game day.

“I’ll give you the same answer as last week,” Bowles said Monday. “He’s status-quo, he’s working hard and we’d like to see him out there, but we’ll see.”

It’s the same thing we’ve heard all year long: wait and see.

Things are different, now, however. The Buccaneers have to decide on whether or not they want to activate Jensen to the 53-man roster before his practice window closes. If the Buccaneers opt against activating Jensen then they’ll have to put him on season-ending IR.

Which obviously means he won’t be able to play in any postseason games.

“The window is starting to close this week, so we’ll see where we’re at,” said Bowles.

January 9, the publish date of this article, represents Day 13. Meaning the Buccaneers have until January 17 to make a decision.

And it’s a big decision. The Buccaneers lost their current starting center and Jensen’s replacement, Robert Hainsey, to a hamstring injury in the season finale. Bowles alluded to the possibility of Hainsey playing against the Cowboys on Monday, but overall, his status is up-in-the-air.

If Hainsey can’t go, it will force some pretty big moves up front. Expect Nick Leverett, the team’s current starter at left guard, to move to center and rookie second-rounder Luke Goedeke to resume his starting role at left guard. Those two moves will have a drastic effect on how the Buccaneers offensive line performs on Monday night.

But if Jensen can go, that means Leverett stays at left guard, where he’s played admirably this year. And, the Buccaneers get their tone-setter and one of their best players back on the playing field.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens because the clock is ticking. And the final result could be something that severely affects the Buccaneers’ chances of a postseason run.

For better or for worse.

Featured image via Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Will Tom Brady be a Buccaneer next season?