Bucs are preparing to start the season without Ryan Jensen

The Pro Bowl center is not expected to be healthy enough to play when Week 1 rolls around.
Miami Dolphins v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Miami Dolphins v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

We’re still a handful of weeks away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers season officially starting, but the team is already encountering some turbulence.

Specifically, the injury bug is already starting to chew on the roster.

Last year the Bucs spent the entire regular season without Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen and it sounds like he’s going to miss a second consecutive season opener. Jensen suffered a serious knee injury during the second practice of training camp last year but he opted to not have surgery to repair the damage.

While that decision resulted in Jensen being able to return for the Wild Card game in January, the cost of it is turning out to be far steeper than anyone likely anticipated. It’s looking like a real possibility that the Bucs begin the season without Jensen, and it doesn’t seem as though there’s an established timeline for his return to the lineup.

Bucs Rumors: Ryan Jensen not expected to be healthy Week 1

According to Bucs insider Rick Stroud, the team is preparing as though Jensen won't be healthy and ready to play at the start of the season. This isn't terribly surprising given the fact that Jensen has yet to suit up for Tampa Bay this offseason, and is something Todd Bowles isn't dancing around addressing.

“When we go into the season, I don’t think we’re going to have anybody if they haven’t practiced,” Bowles said this week. “You always prepare if somebody gets hurt or somebody’s gonna stay hurt, so we prepare that way every day so that hasn’t changed.”

Less than ideal doesn’t begin to describe this situation.

The Bucs face a critical season ahead, with jobs on the line all over the building. The future at quaterback — and in general — is terribly uncertain, and losing Jensen would put the team behind the eight ball before the season even started.


The loss of Jensen last year set the Bucs back in a big way, and while he’s unlikely to miss as much time his absence is significant. With the quarterback battle being a hinge the season swings on, the Bucs will need as much help on the offensive line as they can get, and not having Jensen to start the season is not exactly the definition of getting the year off in the right direction.