TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers weakside linebacker and arguably one of their top players on defense, Lavonte David, will return to practice this week and is expected to play against the 49ers, coach Bruce Arians said Friday.

“Lavonte’s fine — he’ll be practicing Tuesday,” Arians said when asked about his status for Week 1.

David suffered a slightly torn meniscus in his left knee one week into training camp and underwent a surgical procedure on the knee, sidelining him for the rest of camp and the entire preseason.

Arians also said that defensive tackle Vita Vea is “progressing nicely” from the sprained LCL in his left knee and is a possibility.

Vea, the Bucs’ first-round draft pick in 2018, suffered the injury Aug. 6 and has been in a metal brace ever since. Sources said that the original timetable was four to eight weeks, but they’ve been hopeful for an early return.

“I’ll know more by Tuesday, and he’ll be here all weekend working out,” Arians said. “It’ll be close, but I think he’ll be there.”

The Bucs also placed Jason Pierre-Paul on the reserve/non-football injury list, a source told ’s Adam Schefter.

Pierre-Paul suffered a fractured neck four months ago in a South Florida auto accident. He was present for the first time at the Bucs’ facility for Tuesday’s practice this week, and after undergoing examinations by both team and independent doctors, he was given the green light for rehabilitation.

This move, which was expected, means Pierre-Paul will not be permitted to practice with the team for the first six weeks of the regular season. The earliest he could be back is at the end of October, although the team is treating this with great caution due to the nature of the injury.


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