Buccaneers face uncertainty if Bruce Arians needs Achilles surgery

Bruce Arians will be coaching hurt for the rest of the season. If he coaches at all.

Arians aggravated an already-injured Achilles tendon a week ago, per Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer. His Achilles is now ruptured, but the Buccaneers coach plans to continue his duties. If the Achilles completely ruptures, he could need immediate surgery.

Arians told Glazer that he plans to keep coaching as long as he can, hopefully holding off surgery until the end of the season, but that decision could eventually be taken out of his hands.

With the extra week in this year’s schedule, it’s six weeks until the Super Bowl, where Arians would like his season to end for the second straight year. What that means for the Bucs, 11-4 going into Sunday’s game against the Jets, remains to be seen.

After last season, it was reported that a succession plan for Arians stepping down included Todd Bowles being promoted to head coach. Presumably Bowles, the defensive coordinator, would be the interim if Arians was forced to miss time. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich already calls plays for the Bucs’ offense.

Arians, though, would be a key presence to miss.

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians riding a cart to the field before facing the Jets on Jan. 2, 2022.

For now, the Bucs don’t need to worry about that — he’s coaching on Sunday against the Jets after clearing COVID protocol. But one false step could change the equation.

The 69-year old Arians has dealt with a number of health issues in the past, including prostate cancer and renal cell carcinoma.

After last season he said he wouldn’t consider retirement, though he stepped away following the 2017 season with the Cardinals.

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