Brown has been out since suffering an ankle injury in Week 6 at the Philadelphia Eagles, but Wednesday, coach Bruce Arians said the wide receiver is actually dealing with a different injury than initially thought.
Arians had said Wednesday the seven-time Pro Bowler, who led the NFL in receiving yards in 2014 and 2017 and receptions in 2014 and 2015, is doubtful to play this week at the Atlanta Falcons.
"It was more a different injury than originally thought," Arians said. "A sprain. There's some issues in the heel -- that's what he's having problems with."
It's a different tune from the one Arians had on SiriusXM NFL Radio last week, when he said, "I've got my fingers crossed for hopefully next week against [Atlanta]."
When asked, in hindsight, if the Bucs had known the extent of the injury, whether they would have placed him on injured reserve, which would have put him out for three weeks, Arians said, "Possibly."
Schefter reported that doctors initially expected it to be a six-week recovery. But this week would mark the sixth week that he's been ruled out since suffering the injury. Brown also missed the Bucs' Week 3 game at the Los Angeles Rams due to COVID-19.
In five games this season, Brown's had 29 catches for 418 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Last year, Brown had 93 receiving yards and a touchdown at the Falcons in Week 15, which marked a turning point in the Bucs' season, when they overcame a 24-7 deficit. Brown's 46-yard touchdown sealed a 31-27 victory, marking the fourth time in quarterback Tom Brady's career that he won after trailing by 17 or more points at halftime.