Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans is expected to miss the rest of the season with a hamstring injury, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Evans broke free for a 61-yard touchdown pass from Jameis Winston late in the first quarter of Sunday's 38-35 win over the Colts but came up limp at the end and did not return.
The 26 year old had not missed a game all season. In fact, he has only missed three games since becoming the No. 7 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. Head coach Bruce Arians acknowledged that the wide receiver would have an MRI Monday and that the injury did not look promising.
"It's not good. I'll be shocked if Mike makes it back before the last week," Arians said, via ESPN.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection is in the first year of a five-year contract extension he signed March of 2018. If Evans' season is truly over, at least he eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards for the sixth time in as many years. He currently has 67 receptions for 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns.
The loss of Evans likely ensures that wide receiver Chris Godwin ends the season leading the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. The Buccaneers will count upon him to deliver even more during the final three weeks of the season. Breshad Perriman and Scotty Miller, who has exactly 10, are the only other wide receivers on the roster with at least 10 receptions this season. Tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate may take on an even larger role within the offense.
Tampa Bay, who is second in the NFC South behind the Saints, has been eliminated from the NFL Playoff race with a 6-7 record despite winning three consecutive games. Their three remaining games are against the Lions, Texans and Falcons, whom they beat in Week 12.
The franchise has gone through a significant transition in recent years with veterans needing to find employment elsewhere. They have shown a lot of promise, specifically in the run defense category, in the first year under Arians' guidance despite the general public having slim expectations.
If the season ended today, the Buccaneers would hold the No. 16 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.