Report: Bucs' Lavonte David to Miss Rest of Regular Season Because of Foot Injury

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 22, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Lavonte David (54) reacts to the play during a NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Dec.12, 2021 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)
AP Photo/Alex Menendez

Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Lavonte David is expected to miss the rest of the regular season with a foot injury suffered against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

The Bucs are hopeful David will be ready for the playoffs, per Stroud, who also noted that the 31-year-old is a "likely candidate" to land on injured reserve.

Per ESPN's Jenna Laine, David suffered a foot sprain that forced him to leave the Bucs' 9-0 loss to New Orleans in the fourth quarter.

A source told Laine "it's possible" David could be back for the Bucs' regular-season finale against the Carolina Panthers on Jan. 9 but that his recovery time could take "as long as four weeks."

David, a 10-year veteran who has played his entire career in Tampa, has amassed 97 tackles (63 solo), four quarterback hits, two sacks and two forced fumbles for the 10-4 Bucs, who lead the NFC South.

Without David, the next man up for the Bucs figures to be Kevin Minter, who took over for inside linebacker Devin White against the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 28 when he left with a hip injury.

The 31-year-old Minter has played nine NFL seasons, and this is his fourth with the Bucs. He has 23 tackles (14 solo) and two quarterback hits this year.

David was one of five players who suffered significant injuries against the Saints.

Wide receiver Chris Godwin, who leads the team in receptions and receiving yards, suffered a season-ending torn ACL after a hit from Saints safety P.J. Williams.

Wide receiver Mike Evans, who is second in catches and yards, suffered a strained hamstring and is considered week-to-week, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Running back Leonard Fournette, the team's leader in rushing yards and total touchdowns, is expected to go on injured reserve with a hamstring injury that would keep him out for the rest of the season, according to Schefter.

Key special teamer Patrick O'Connor is out for the season with a knee injury, per Schefter.

This is all in addition to a secondary ravaged by injuries all season. Of note, cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Richard Sherman and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. were out Sunday.

The Buccaneers will somehow forge ahead despite the losses, with the team facing three more regular-season games. They haven't clinched a playoff berth yet, but getting one is a near-lock given the team's current 10-4 record.

One more win (or one more loss from the 7-7 Saints) would clinch the NFC South and home-field advantage in the NFC Wild Card Round at minimum.

Up next for the Bucs is a road date with the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.