Buccaneers’ RT Tristan Wirfs is expected to miss “multiple weeks” after suffering a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s loss to Cleveland.
The injury occurred on the Buccaneers second overtime possession as they were trying to get past midfield. Wirfs was blocking Browns’ DE Jadeveon Clowney as OLB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah attempted to jump over RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn to get to Tom Brady. Vaughn pushed Owusu-Koramoah off and accidentally into the back of Wirfs’ legs.
Based on the video – and later confirmed by reports – Wirfs is dealing with a high ankle sprain. However it doesn’t appear to be as bad as some of the high ankle sprains suffered by other players this season given the timeline provided by the team. Most high ankle sprains require 6-8 weeks to heal, however Tampa Bay reports they expect him to miss 3-4.
It’s a surprisingly short timeline considering Wirfs has “some ligament damage” and will seek a second opinion on whether or not he needs surgery. The Bucs timeline hinges on him not requiring surgery. If surgery is required, Wirfs will almost certainly miss 6-8 weeks.
High ankle sprains are also referred to as syndesmosis ankle injuries because the syndesmosis ligaments of the ankle are sprained. Traditional ankle sprains involve damage to the ligaments – anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) and the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL) – on the outside of the ankle. Often this is the result of a “rolling” motion. Similarly, the ligament – deltoid – on the inside of the ankle can be damaged in this fashion as well.
The syndesmosis ligaments reside higher up the ankle, hence the name “high ankle sprain.” Severe high ankle sprains can require a non-weight bearing walker boot or cast for multiple weeks, and rehab can last months. As of now Wirfs’ sprain doesn’t appear severe, and head coach Todd Bowles said they plan to “see how it goes from week to week.”
Our algorithm predicts Wirfs’ Optimal Recovery Time is 21 days from injury, which aligns with the Buccaneers provided timeline. His Injury Risk is High (22%) and his Health Performance Factor is Below Average (50%).