Bucs' Vea out; Bengals' Boyd, Higgins on track

by Ricardo Gutierrez - The Buccaneers have ruled several starters for Sunday's game against the Bengals, including defensive tackle Vita Vea, while Cincinnati "feels good" about the chances of receivers Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins playing this weekend.

Bucs' Vita Vea out; Bengals' Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins on track 1:29 PM ET Jenna LaineESPN Staff Writer Close Covered the Buccaneers since 2009 Joined ESPN in 2016 TAMPA, Fla. - Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles ruled out defensive tackle Vita Vea , outside linebacker Genard Avery , outside linebacker Carl Nassib and cornerback Jamel Dean for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals , while Bengals coach Zac Taylor said he "feels good about" the game status for wide receivers Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins . Boyd suffered a dislocated finger in the team's Week 14 23-10 win over the Cleveland Browns , while Higgins played just one snap with a lingering hamstring injury. At 6-7, the Bucs are one game ahead of the Carolina Panthers for first place in the NFC South, while the Bengals (9-4) are looking to break a tie with the Baltimore Ravens for first place in the AFC North and are on a five-game winning streak. Editor's Picks Bowles: Time for Bucs to buckle down, decide fate 5d Jenna Laine Burrow lauds Brady, resists comparisons to GOAT 1d Ben Baby What is every NFL starting QB's biggest weakness? Where Tom Brady, Joe Burrow, Aaron Rodgers, 29 others struggle 7h Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders 2 Related The Bucs finished last week's 35-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers with just five starters on defense and may be even more short-handed, while Cincinnati will be without two key defensive starters. Defensive end Trey Hendrickson was ruled out with a wrist injury, while insider cornerback Mike Hilton will miss the game with a knee issue. Hilton's back-up, Jalen Davis , did not practice all week with a finger injury on his right hand. For the Bucs, Vea, arguably one of their best players on defense, suffered a calf strain in that game, while Dean suffered an injury to his big toe, with both players leaving the game and not returning. Nassib, who suffered a pectoral injury in the game, and Avery an abdominal/oblique injury, continued playing. Bowles said Friday that outside linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka , who left last week's game with a hip injury at the beginning of the third quarter and did not return, will "probably be a game-time decision," offering some hope as Anthony Nelson is their lone healthy outside linebacker. The Bucs lost Pro Bowler Shaq Barrett earlier in the season to a torn Achilles. Bowles said safety Mike Edwards , cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting and nickelback Antoine Winfield, Jr. - who have all been out the last two games -- will be questionable. Edwards has been dealing with a hamstring injury, Murphy-Bunting a quadriceps injury and Winfield Jr. an ankle injury. Murphy-Bunting, a starter last year, was a full participant in practice this week. "He's still questionable," Bowles said. "He's trending forward. We'll see how he reacts the next two days." Edwards was limited Wednesday but upgraded to full participation Thursday. "Probably a game-time decision," Bowles said. "He did some things. Gotta see him do a little bit more." Winfield Jr. has been limited all week but looked comfortable running and jumping on his ankle Friday during the portion of practice open to the media. "He's been making a lot of progress as well - he'll be a game-time decision," Bowles said. Bowles said earlier this week that All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs , who has missed the last two games with a high ankle sprain, would likely not play Sunday. Bowles didn't rule him out Friday though. Wirfs returned to practice Thursday as a limited participant.