Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Lineman Jensen Unlikely to Return in Week 18

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are feeling themselves following an NFC South clinching 30-24 win over the Carolina Panthers, but there are limits to how much they're willing to push their luck. Head coach Todd Bowles said at his Monday press conference that he does not expect center Ryan Jensen to return for the team's Week 18 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. Jensen returned to practice last week, but he is not expected to play until the playoffs. With an absence in Week 18, he'll have officially missed the entire regular season with a knee injury suffered in the training camp.

The Bucs offensive line has been in disarray this season, and Jensen could provide an antidote if he can hit the ground running when healthy. The Bucs have rushed for 1222 yards at 3.3 yards per attempt; they rank last in the league in both categories. Shockingly, the Bucs have allowed an NFL-best 3.0% sack rate, but they have quarterback Tom Brady's quick release to thank for that.

Jensen signed a three-year, $39 million contract to remain with the Bucs earlier this year, so they clearly value him as a leader and a star along the offensive line. His eventual return will likely force either Robert Hainsey or Nick Leverett out of the starting lineup.
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