A play after making NFL history as the first to begin a career with seven straight 1,000-receiving-yard seasons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Mike Evans suffered what appeared to be a potentially serious non-contact injury in Week 17. The Bucs finished the job on Sunday, topping the rival Atlanta Falcons to enter the playoffs on a four-game winning streak, but Evans left and did not return. On Monday, however, Tampa Bay got good news regarding Evans' injury, with coach Bruce Arians telling reporters the receiver suffered no structural damage to his knee and will be day-to-day ahead of Saturday's wild-card game.
An MRI revealed a hyperextension of Evans' knee, per Sara Walsh, with the Pro Bowler battling just mild swelling after Sunday's victory. While this week's injury reports will reveal the veteran's status for the team's upcoming postseason battle with the Washington Football Team, Arians indicated that if Evans is even 80% recovered, "we'd have to fight to keep him off the field." The coach cited Evans' willingness to play through a previous leg injury this year as evidence a wild-card return is very much on the table.
It's not as if the Buccaneers lack weapons to potentially fill in for Evans, should the receiver miss the start of the playoffs. Tampa Bay, which has scored at least 30 points in three straight games, got gaudy numbers from both Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown in Week 17. The latter led the team in his most explosive performance as a member of the Bucs with 11 catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns, while Godwin wasn't far behind with five catches for 133 yards and two scores of his own.
The Bucs are scheduled to kick off against Washington on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. Eastern.