The blow, which came during the team’s training camp drills, is to Jensen’s left knee. MRI results have not yet been returned to the team.
“We don’t know the severity of it, per se, but I do know he’ll miss some significant time, up to a couple months,” head coach Todd Bowles said. “Whether he’ll be back later in the season, November or December, depends on what they find. But he won’t be available any time soon.”
Jensen, 31, is fresh off his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2021 after eight seasons as a pro. He signed with the Bucs in 2018 after four seasons with Baltimore, and has the most snaps of any offensive lineman since then, with 4,518.
He relinquished just two sacks last season, and has a stellar 93.1% pass block win rate in the past two seasons. He signed a three-year, $39 million extension in March.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the reality appears more murky than bright.
“The update is not a good one,” Rapoport said Friday. “The fear is that his 2022 is over before it began. He’s still getting tested, and should have a firm answer today, but this is not a good sign for the Bucs.
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of Ryan Jensen,” he went on. “He’s the bodyguard of Tom Brady, and really one of the most valuable and important offensive linemen in the NFL.”
According to Rapoport, the team has a few options to replace Jensen until he is healthy.
“There are some veteran centers on the market including JC Tretter, but I would expect this team to look at Robert Hainsey, a third-rounder from a couple of years ago. He’ll probably get the first crack at this job.”
After the injury, Hainsey sang the praises of Jensen.
“The way Ryan approaches every day and every game is a mentality that he’s the baddest dude on the field — and he usually is,” Hainsey said. “Being that guy, you see it throughout the games and I know you guys like to talk about it, but being in that locker room and I think in locker rooms all across the NFL — that means something and that carries a certain level of respect.
“I’m not Ryan Jensen, that’s not who I’m trying to be. I have to be myself. But that chip on his shoulder that he plays with — if I’m out there, I think I want to have a little bit of that myself because I owe that to him and whoever’s out there owes that to him, to continue that presence of the type of man and the type of player he is on the field.”
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