Antonio Brown injury: Bruce Arians provides telling update on Buccaneers WR's return date

Miami Dolphins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Miami Dolphins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
LeRon Haire

During Antonio Brown's nine-year tenure as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the star receiver rarely missed a game. Besides earning a reputation as arguably one of the greatest wide receivers of all-time, Brown was extremely durable in helping the Steelers to five AFC North division titles during his Steelers' playing days.

Now in his second year as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brown still has his reputation as a great receiver but his durability has now come into question. Brown has missed the last four games with an ankle injury and it remains to be seen when he will return.

#Bucs coach Bruce Arians told us on @SiriusXMNFL he’s hopeful WR Antonio Brown (ankle) will return next week against the #Falcons. “He’s moving around a lot better. He’s able to put more weight on the heel and bounce around on it some. We’ve got our fingers crossed …”

Antonio Brown Injury: Bruce Arians provides update on receiver's return

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians recently spoke with SiriusXM NFL Radio and provided this update on the possible return date of Antonio Brown:

"I’ve got my fingers crossed for hopefully next week against [Atlanta]. He’s moving around a lot better. He’s able to put more weight on the heel and bounce around on it some. So we got our fingers crossed...maybe we get him back out next week."

The receiver has been ruled out of this week's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

.@BruceArians says the only player who has been ruled out this week is WR Antonio Brown.

The Buccaneers have been bitten hard by the injury bug this season and on both sides of the ball. Just this past Sunday, Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski made his triumphant return to the team in a Monday night victory over the New York Giants.

In that game, Gronk finished with six catches for 71 yards, including a key 35-yard play that helped spark the offense early in the game.

Antonio Brown's return will most certainly give quarterback Tom Brady a chance to have one of his primary weapons back for the final stretch run of the season. Prior to his injury, Brown amassed 29 receptions for 418 yards and four touchdowns.

Will Antonio Brown's return jolt the Bucs to the front of the NFC race?

Whenever Antonio Brown takes the field again with the Bucs, the team will just about have all of their offensive weapons in tact. With Brown and Gronkowski joining Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Brady and Leonard Fournette, the Bucs are ready and willing for an offensive explosion.

But the real question as to whether or not the team can jump to the front of the NFC depends on the health of the defense. The secondary alone has seen an excessive number of injuries to cornerbacks Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean, as well as newly acquired Richard Sherman.

Linebackers Jason Pierre-Paul and Devin White have also nursed injuries along with star defensive tackle Vita Vea.

The Buccaneers visit the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday at 1:00 PM EST (FOX network).

Edited by Henno van Deventer

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