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Bucs WR Mike Evans 'closer' to playing this week

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After sitting out the Week 1 shellacking, Mike Evans feels ready to return to the field, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to be cautious with their young, stud receiver.

Every game, all season

"Mike Evans has been able to do more and more each day, which is a good thing," coach Lovie Smith said, via the Tampa Bay Times. "You want them to say they're ready to go, but Mike wasn't ready to go last week. He's closer this week, and we have a little bit of time before game time."

Evans practiced on a limited basis all week and is officially questionable with a hamstring injury when the Bucs face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

"The training staff did a great job -- my hammies feel better than they ever have," Evans said this week. "I'm looking forward. Hopefully I get to go this week."

While he believes he can play, the young pass-catcher deferred to coaches and training staff on his availability.

"They've been around this game longer than I have, and they've seen funny things with hamstrings," Evans said. "They want to make sure I'm all the way, 100 percent. They're being cautious, and I understand. ... We'll see what happens Sunday."

Facing a depleted Saints secondary, rookie quarterback Jameis Winston could use the big-bodied Evans on the field to bail him out and stretch the defense vertically on Sunday.

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