While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers walked away from Week 1 with a huge road win in Minnesota, not everything went right.
There are adjustments the team still needs to make on offense, mistakes need to get cleaned up, and the Bucs committed some dumb penalties. One of the things that did go right was the defensive performance, but even that unit suffered a setback early on in the game.
After announcing himself with a big hit on Kirk Cousins, Bucs rookie defensive end Calijah Kancey left the game in the first quarter and did not return.
It's unclear whether or not he hurt himself on this play or not, but at some point soon after he left the game.
Kancey’s injury flew under the radar for the most part, and fans weren’t tipped off to it until the CBS broadcast made mention of his absence after halftime. The injury that held Kancey out was to the same calf that held him out of action during the preseason, which sent Bucs fans into a bit of a panic given the limited action he saw on Sunday.
Latest Calijah Kancey injury update after leaving Week 1 early
While Todd Bowles was mum after the game on Kancey’s status, Bucs insider Scott Reynolds managed to find out that there doesn’t seem to be much concern over its seriousness. In fact, it sounds like the Bucs rookie might be in line to return as soon as next week’s home opener against the Chicago Bears.
“The Bucs do not think it’s a set back or a re-strain of his calf,” Reynolds reported. “The team thinks the calf just tightened up on Kancey and the trainers did not want to risk further injury, so he was held out of the rest of the game.”
Kancey isn’t out of the woods, but that’s not nearly as bad as it could have been given how long the same calf held him out of action in August.
What makes it such a bummer is how good Kancey looked out of the gate, as he looked every bit the first round talent the Bucs identified him as back in April. He drew comparisons to Aaron Donald when he was drafted, which is a bit much, but he was also questioned in terms of whether the Bucs made the right pick given the other needs the team had.
It’s a small sample size but Kancey looked good and getting him back for Week 2 against the Bears is something that will only make an already great Bucs defense even better.
More Tampa Bay Buccaneers news and analysis