Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen was carted off the field during a July 28 training camp practice with a knee injury. Jensen is still undergoing tests to determine the severity of the injury, but NFL Network initially reported that the fear is that he has suffered a season-ending injury.
Weeks after the injury, the team is still unsure how severe it is, due to swelling of the area.
On Sunday, head coach Todd Bowles said, "The swelling hasn't gone down and they're not exactly sure on the timing. He may or may not come back, if at all. They said in the next week — we should know something by this week.
Bowles explained why he did not give much information on Jensen's status, saying, "Because we didn't have an answer, I didn't give a comment. I wasn't trying to be mean or anything. They just told me to wait until the swelling goes down because it could go one of two ways and we are just waiting for it."
Bowles told reporters days after the injury that he does know his center will miss several months, but apart from that, nothing has been decided yet.
"I don't know the severity of it per se, but I do know he will miss some significant time, up to a couple of months," Bowles said via The Athletic. "Whether he'll be back later in the season, November or December, that depends on what they find in the knee, but he won't be available anytime soon."
CBS Sports' Pete Prisco reported that Jensen threw his helmet in frustration after he went down.
Ryan Jensen just went down for Bucs and being carted off. He threw his helmet, which is not a good sign.— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) July 28, 2022
If the injury does end up being as serious as it's reportedly feared and Jensen misses time, it will be a major loss for quarterback Tom Brady's offense. As for a replacement, 2021 third round pick Robert Hainsey would be the in-house option.
The 31-year-old signed a three-year, $39 million contract extension with the Buccaneers this offseason. He has been with the Bucs since 2018 and in the 2020 season helped lead them to a Super Bowl victory in their home stadium. He made his first Pro Bowl in 2021, allowing just two sacks throughout the regular season and helping the Bucs reach the playoffs, where they were knocked off by the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams.
Tampa Bay is the front-runner in the NFC (+750, according to Caesars Sportsbook) to challenge for another Super Bowl title thanks in part to the return of Brady, following his very short 40-day retirement from the NFL.
SportsLine's Stephen Oh projects that if Jensen were to miss the season, it would drop Tampa Bay's Super Bowl aspirations from 11.8% to 8.7%.