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Bucs Had Significant Return At Practice On Thursday

A closeup of two Tampa Bay Buccaneers helmets.

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 16: Helmets and an NFL football set behind the bench as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Atlanta Falcons at the Raymond James Stadium on December 16, 2007 in Tampa, Florida. The Bucs won 37 - 3 and clinched a playoff berth. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Leonard Fournette is progressing toward a return.

After missing last Sunday's overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns with a hip injury, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back fully participated in Thursday's practice.

That bodes well for the 27-year-old playing Monday night against the New Orleans Saints.

Fournette has struggled in his third season with the Bucs, averaging a mediocre 3.4 yards per carry with 777 scrimmage yards in 10 games. But he scored six touchdowns in his last seven games before hurting his hip in a Week 10 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

Even if fully healthy, Fournette might not return to a featured role.

The Bucs started Rachaad White against Seattle before Fournette's injury, and the rookie responded with a career-high 105 rushing yards in Germany. White accrued 64 rushing and 45 receiving yards with Fournette sidelined last weekend.

Tampa Bay could at least deploy a timeshare to ignite the NFL's bottom-ranked rushing attack. 

Despite still leading the NFC South, the 5-6 Buccaneers must get back on track by beating the Saints on Monday Night Football.