Benn and Okoye getting closer to returns from knee problems

AP

Two Buccaneers who have been plagued by knee problems could be getting closer to a return in time for the regular season opener.

According to Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times, wide receiver Arrelious Benn and defensive tackle Amobi Okoye are showing signs of progress and could be ready to face the Panthers on Sept. 9.

Benn has been out since spraining his knee on the first day of training camp, which cost him valuable installation time, though he stayed nearby to absorb as much as he could.

“The best thing I got done was just stay into it mentally,” Benn said. “That’s all I could do and I did that.”

Okoye had surgery in June which was described as routine, but his track record of injuries has created some cumulative problems.

“I came out and did the conditioning test [on July 28] and it felt good after that,” Okoye said. “I played in Miami [in the preseason opener]. But I just think the constant beating and beating on it was an issue. It had some swelling and I just needed to continue to rehab it. I’m out there practicing on and off and I’m basically just getting it ready for Sundays. Right now it’s feeling better than it was even before the conditioning test.”

Okoye’s a backup now, but figures heavily into the Bucs’ third-down packages because of his pass-rush ability.