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Leonard Fournette not expected to be activated off I.R. for Wild Card round

Bucs RB Leonard Fournette is trying to return from a hamstring injury for Sunday’s Wild Card game. Here are the latest updates.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday update: It looks like Fournette is not going to suit up for the Buccaneers Sunday.

Friday update: Head coach Bruce Arians considers Fournette a game-time decision as he returns from the injured reserve, per Rick Stroud. But, as long as he can go, Arians says “he will carry most of the load.”

Wednesday update: Fournette has been designated to return from I.R. This doesn’t assure us that he’ll play, but Arians sounded fairly confident he would and he is expected to practice today, giving him a good shot to be ready to go against the Eagles.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians shared with media on Monday that he expects running back Leonard Fournette to return for the team’s Wild Card game against the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday. Fournette has been sidelined for the past three weeks with a hamstring injury suffered against the Saints on December 19.

This is positive news for the defending Super Bowl champions to get their top running back option back in the lineup for the postseason. After establishing himself as “Playoff Lenny” during last year’s title run, the veteran back out of LSU carried that production over into the regular season. Through 14 games, he accumulated 812 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground along with 454 receiving yards and two touchdowns through the air.

Following Fournette’s injury, the Bucs had to turn to former starter Ronald Jones II to handle the load. When he got banged up with an ankle injury, the team turned to backup Ke’Shawn Vaughn and late-season signee Le’Veon Bell to get them over the finish line in the regular season. Now Tom Brady will have one of his most reliable weapons back as the team begins its title defense.