After losing to the Atlanta Falcons 43-28 Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers expect to be without running back Antone Smith (knee) and defensive end Howard Jones (knee) for the rest of the season according to Bucs coach Dirk Koetter.
“Unfortunately, Antone suffered a significant injury and I think that would probably be a season-ending injury, it looks like,” Koetter said Friday. “That would be the same for Howard Jones, a season-ending injury.”
During Smith’s reunion with the Falcons who he played with from 2010-2014, he ran five times for 25 yards. He also added three receptions for 27 yards. Those touches were exactly half of his production for the season after playing in three games.
Smith spent part of last season with the Chicago Bears and only had one carry. While with the Falcons, he had a breakout season in 2014 with 366 total yards and five touchdowns that came within the first six games of the year.
The Buccaneers have already suffered a litany of injuries in the backfield. Doug Martin (hamstring) has not played since Week 2. Third-down back Charles Sims (knee) is on the injured reserve and has not played since Week 4. Jacquizz Rodgers (foot) was held out of Thursday’s game and is questionable to return against the Chicago Bears in Week 10.
Jones’ injury doesn’t have the same impact as he’s the only defensive end currently on the injury report. He has only been on hand for 84 snaps this season according to Pro Football Focus. The bulk of plays has been handed to William Gholston, Noah Spence, and Robert Ayers.
Fearing another knee injury, the Bucs also feared losing starting center Joe Hawley. An MRI on Friday showed no ligament damage but his return for Week 10 remains in question.