Injury Update on Tampa Bay Buccaneers Starting Tackles

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will fight for their playoff lives when they host the Carolina Panthers in Week 17, and they'll have to do it with an incredibly murky offensive line situation. According to head coach Todd Bowles, right tackle Tristan Wirfs aggravated his ankle injury in Sunday's 19-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals, casting doubt over his availability for this week's crucial NFC South showdown.

Wirfs had missed the previous three games with an ankle injury suffered in the Bucs' Week 12 23-17 loss to the Clevland Browns. The Bucs also lost tackle Josh Wells for the season to a torn patellar tendon last night against the Cardinals. Starting left tackle Donovan Smith missed yesterday's game with a foot injury, and his status for this week remains unclear.

It's an awful time for the Bucs to potentially be without their top three tackles. They face the Panthers this week, potentially for all the marbles in the NFC South. The Panthers dominated the Bucs 21-3 in their Week 7 matchup, and they're on a bit of a hot streak now, winning four of their last six, including Saturday's surprising 37-23 dismantling of the Detroit Lions. If the Bucs' offensive line is compromised, their 28th-ranked scoring offense could be in for a long day against Pro Bowl edge rusher Brian Burns and the rest of the Panthers' front seven.

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