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Bucs' Kendell Beckwith has surgery after car crash

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An automobile crash could cost the Buccaneers one of their starting linebackers for the beginning of the 2018 season.

Speaking to local reporters Thursday, general manager Jason Licht revealed that second-year linebacker Kendell Beckwith underwent surgery to repair an ankle that was fractured last week in a single-car accident.

Beckwith likely will miss the entirety of Tampa Bay's offseason program. In fact, Licht conceded that the former LSU star's status is in jeopardy for Week 1, per the team's official website.

"Right now it's unfair to give a timeline as well with him," Licht said. "We're very fortunate that it wasn't life-threatening for him or the [driver]. We'll probably hold him -- he'll be out of OTAs, and in training camp we'll have a better idea of how far along he is."

Due to an ACL tear late in LSU's 2016 season, Beckwith fell to No. 107 in last year's draft. He recovered in time to appear in all 16 games with 11 starts as an NFL rookie.

Capably pinch-hitting for injured middle linebacker Kwon Alexander and weakside linebacker Lavonte David, Beckwith ended up leading all Tampa Bay linebackers in snaps last season. Once he returns to full health, he's expected to start on the strong side, next to Alexander and David.

After trading for pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul and signing the former Eagles tandem of Vinny Curry and Beau Allen, the Bucs have a strong claim to the league's most improved defensive front seven in 2018. Until Beckwith recovers from his injury, though, the unit will be playing short-handed.

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