The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have placed back up running back Giovani Bernard on short term injured reserve Tuesday. Bernard suffered a second degree MCL sprain as well as a stretched tendon in his hip during Sunday's win over the Buffalo Bills.
According to ESPN Bucs reporter Jenna Laine, the Bucs hope to have Bernard back in time for the playoffs. The injuries are expected to take 4-5 weeks for Bernard to recover from.
Giovani Bernard has been placed on Injured Reserve. It's a second-degree MCL sprain in his knee and a stretched tendon in his hip. The injury will not require surgery, the source said. Recovery will be 4-5 weeks. He could be back in time for the playoffs.
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) December 14, 2021
The injury came late in the first half with the Bucs in control. On a play that did not involve Bernard, a short incompletion to Chris Godwin, Bernard went down when he knee appeared to buckle.
The loss of Bernard will hamper Tom Brady when under duress. Although Bernard only has 23 catches for 123 yards receiving, he has turned three of them into touchdowns and one of Tom Brady's emergency dump offs.
It's for that very reason that Tom Brady and Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians recruited Giovani Bernard during the off season.
Bernard has made a career out of being one of the best running backs catching passes out of the backfield. For his career, he has 365 catches for almost 3,000 yards receiving. He also has almost 4,000 yards rushing in his career.
Without Bernard in the lineup, the Buccaneers might lean even more on Leonard Fournette out of the backfield. Back up running back Ronald Jones II is not known for his catching ability. Meanwhile, Fournette already has 62 catches this season for almost 400 yards through the air. He also has almost 800 yards rushing and 10 total touchdowns.