Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting safety Jordan Whitehead’s recent return to the practice field ended quickly at training camp, and head coach Bruce Arians had few but concerning words to say about it.
“Still day to day,” Arians said in Monday’s press conference.
Whitehead being out nearly a week “with an undisclosed injury” raises concerns according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Stroud noted that Whitehead previously recovered from his shoulder injury in the playoffs and offseason surgery.
Whitehead missed the start of the training camp on the COVID/Reserve list and returned to practice on July 31, but he began sitting out practice again on Aug. 10. Arians similarly said it was “wait and see” regarding Whitehead’s injury status at that point per Sports Illustrated’s All Bucs. Whitehead didn’t play in the preseason opener on Aug. 14 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Depending on the severity of Whitehead’s injury, any snaps he misses beyond the preseason could hurt the Bucs secondary. He played a key role last season with 74 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
The Bucs also missed rookie center Robert Hainsey due to injury on Monday, and Arians announced the bleak injury status of rookie guard Sadarius Hutcherson.
Robert Hainsey’s Injury Lingers
Injured Bucs rookie center Robert Hainsey went viral with quarterback Tom Brady taking snaps from him on the sideline of the preseason opener.
Hainsey hasn’t returned to snapping the ball on the practice field yet as of Monday though. The third-round draft pick has been out with an injury since Aug. 6 when Arians said Hainsey is “day to day” per Pewter Report.
Arians’ tune didn’t change on Tuesday regarding Hainsey.
“He’s still day to day,” Arians said.
Hainsey’s absence hurts the Bucs’ offensive line depth. Formerly a tackle and Notre Dame, Hainsey showed the versatility to play any position along the offensive line. The Bucs had him working at center before the injury to back up starting center Ryan Jensen.
Arians liked what he saw in Hainsey right away in training camp.
“He was solid and did a really fine job a couple of times pulling and getting up on people,” Arians said in an early training camp press conference per Pewter Report. “Identifications were good. It was a really solid day for him. He’s getting better and better.”
Sadarius Hutcherson Out for Season
The Bucs lost Hutcherson for the season after he sustained a knee injury against the Bengals.
Hutcherson tore his ACL according to The Athletic’s Greg Auman. The Bucs placed him on injured reserve.
“He was having a good camp,” Arians said. “It’s a shame he injured his knee, and so, we’ll see how bad it looks. It looks like it could be severe, but he was having a good camp.”
The 6-3, 321-pound former South Carolina standout signed with the Bucs as an undrafted free agent in May. With Hutcherson on injured reserve, the Bucs only need to cut one more player to get the roster down to 85 before Tuesday’s deadline per All Bucs.