Two Stars Return to Practice for Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are reeling following yet another disappointing loss, but the potential returns of a couple veteran stars should provide a little bit of optimism. Wide receiver Julio Jones and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks were both spotted at a Monday walkthrough ahead of the team's Thursday Night Football matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.
Hicks has missed the previous five games with a foot injury he sustained in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints. Jones has missed all but 18 snaps since tweaking his knee in the Bucs' Week 1 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Both players were absent for the team's Week 6 21-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Hicks was one of the Bucs' biggest additions of this past offseason, signing a one-year, $8 million deal with the team. The team intended to pair him with Pro Bowler Vita Vea at defensive tackle, potentially forming a dominant inside presence for the Bucs' defense.

Jones joined the Bucs on a one-year, $6 million deal this past offseason hoping to bounce back from a couple of disappointing seasons that saw him miss 13 games from 2020 to 2021. He was acquired in part to offset the departures of wide receiver Antonio Brown and tight end Rob Gronkowski. His lack of availability has hindered the Bucs offense so far this season; the team ranks 25th in scoring through seven weeks.

If the Bucs intend to reverse their troubling spiral, they'll need to improve on both sides of the ball. Maybe Jones and Hicks can provide just the boost the team has been looking for. If not, the Bucs' season could be all but done with sooner than later.
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