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Bucs Had Important Return To Practice On Thursday

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 16: Tampa Bay Buccaneers helmet sits on the field during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 16, 2022 at  Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 16: Tampa Bay Buccaneers helmet sits on the field during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 16, 2022 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have suffered many key injuries early in the season. At least one starter took a positive step toward returning.

Left tackle Donovan Smith practiced on Thursday for the first time since hyperextending his right elbow in Tampa Bay's Week 1 win over the Dallas Cowboys. According to ESPN's Jenna Laine, Smith had a "big brace" on his arm.

While Smith's return provided some good news, wide receivers Chris Godwin and Julio Jones remained out of practice.

A stalwart of Tampa Bay's offensive line, Smith started all but two of the team's games from 2015 to 2021.

Smith's replacement, Josh Well, went on the injured reserve after exiting last Sunday's game early with a calf injury. The Buccaneers are also playing without Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen and guard Aaron Stinnie.

Getting back Smith would thus be a huge relief for Tom Brady and an offense that's generated two touchdowns through as many games. (Mike Edwards returned an interception for a score in Week 2's 20-10 victory over the New Orleans Saints.)

Tampa Bay will host the Green Bay Packers in a marquee NFC showdown this Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.