Bucs activate C Ryan Jensen from IR for NFC wild-card game

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated center Ryan Jensen from injured reserve to the active roster ahead of their NFC wild-card playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.

Jensen missed the entire regular season after hurting his left knee on the second day of training camp. He has been practicing with the team since Dec. 28, when the Bucs designated him to return from IR.

The ninth-year pro’s injury, combined with losing guards Ali Marpet to retirement and Alex Cappa in free agency, has forced the Bucs to rely on a largely young, inexperienced offensive line to protect Tom Brady this season.

Jensen’s return comes as his replacement, second-year pro Robert Hainsey, is dealing with a sore hamstring and backup center Nick Leverett, a starter at left guard the past 10 games, is listed as doubtful for Monday night with knee and shoulder injuries.

A first-time Pro Bowl selection last season, Jensen spent the first five years of his career with the Baltimore Ravens. He signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent in 2018 and has started 65 regular-season games, as well as six playoff contests for the Bucs.

To make room on the roster, linebacker J.J. Russell was waived.

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The Associated Press