The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense may be forced to fill a key void, as linebacker Lavonte David left the team's game Sunday due to an ankle injury.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the team believes the injury is a high ankle sprain, although Monday's MRI should provide a more accurate timeline.
David made seven tackles before being carted off the field in the fourth quarter of a 34-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
The Bucs selected David in the second round of the 2012 draft, and he quickly emerged as one of the most impactful linebackers in the league. He racked up more than 135 combined tackles in each of his first four seasons. While that number dropped to 87 last year, his across-the-board impact remained high.
One of the reasons he's been able to rack up such impressive numbers is his durability. The linebacker missed just two regular-season games over the first five years of his career. They both came during the 2014 campaign as he dealt with a nagging hamstring injury.
If he's forced to the sidelines due to the latest ailment, Tampa Bay may opt to use a committee to replace him rather than lean on any single reserve. With Kwon Alexander already out with a hamstring injury, the team is now extremely thin at linebacker.
Adjust expectations for the Bucs defense, which had already posted middling numbers in recent years, accordingly until the stalwart member of the front seven is back to full strength.