The Bucs haven’t even met this week to prepare for the upcoming game against the Packers, but two key starters are ruled out for Sunday’s Green Bay game. That’s not good news considering that star wide receiver Mike Evans is suspended for the Packers game and wide receiver Chris Godwin is expected to miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury. Evans appealed his suspension on Tuesday, and appeals judge James Thrash will make his verdict known on Wednesday.
Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and offensive tackle Josh Wells, who was starting in place of the injured Donovan Smith, will not play in the Bucs’ home opener, according to head coach Todd Bowles. Those comments were made on Tuesday’s Bucs Total Access show. Both were injured at New Orleans with Hicks suffering a foot injury and Wells injuring his calf.
#Bucs HC Todd Bowles said DT Akiem Hicks and LT Josh Wells are out this Sunday against the Packers on Bucs Total Access
—JC Allen (@JCAllenNFL) September 20, 2022
That news doesn’t come as a surprise, as Bowles discussed those players’ injuries on Monday.
“They’re banged up pretty good,” Bowles said. “Their availability right now is unknown but both got hurt pretty good.”
On Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Hicks suffered a torn plantar fascia and is expected to be sidelined for a month.
Bucs’ DT Akiem Hicks tore the plantar fascia in his foot and is now expected to be sidelined a month, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 20, 2022
Rookie Logan Hall could get the start at defensive tackle in place of Hicks in base defense on Sunday against the Packers. Or the team could opt for backup nose tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches to start instead.
The Bucs have a couple of defensive tackles on the practice squad that the team could sign to the 53-man roster if Hicks goes on short-term injured reserve. Veteran Deadrin Senat could be called up from the practice or the Bucs have two younger players in second-year player Willington Previlon and rookie Mike Greene.
Walton Could Get First Start For Bucs At LT
At left tackle, there is a chance Smith could start on Sunday against the Packers if he can practice. Smith missed practice all week after hyper-extending his elbow after being hit by Cowboys pass rusher Micah Parsons in the Bucs’ 19-3 win at Dallas in Week 1.
If Smith is missed to force his second straight game, Brandon Walton is expected to receive his first start at left tackle against the Packers. Walton filled in for Wells, who was injured in the second quarter last week, and played well.