TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without starting outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul and kick returner Jaydon Mickens for Sunday’s game at the Los Angeles Rams, coach Bruce Arians announced Friday.
He also called wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week, “very questionable,” although it’s unlikely he will play. Brown would need to be completely asymptomatic for 24 hours and pass two COVID-19 tests 24 hours apart before he’d be permitted to travel, per NFL rules.
Pierre-Paul has been dealing with hand and shoulder injuries. Mickens has been dealing with an abdominal injury. Neither practiced this week. Rookie first-round draft pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, whom the Bucs selected with the 32nd-overall pick out of Washington, will get his first NFL start, having served in a rotational role in the first two games.
Mickens’ injury may pave the way for rookie wide receiver Jaelon Darden, a fourth-round draft pick out of North Texas, to see his first NFL action.
Arians did express optimism that Brown, along with backup inside linebacker/special teams captain Kevin Minter, could return next week, when the Bucs travel to Foxborough to play the New England Patriots in one of the most anticipated matchups of the season for the entire league.