Koetter: Vita Vea's injury is better than we thought

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Vita Vea left Sunday's practice with a lower left leg injury, prompting concern that he might have suffered a serious injury.

Two day later, however, the Buccaneers can exhale knowing Vea suffered a calf injury and isn't as severe as initially feared.

"It's better than we thought," coach Dirk Koetter told reporters Tuesday, via the Buccaneers' official website. "What he described -- what Vita described when it happened -- was what you would think if a guy tore his Achilles, which would be a year-long injury, so thankfully it was not that.

"It's a calf injury and he's going to be out for right now, but it's not what it could have been. So, in that respect, we're better off than we thought we were."

Koetter wouldn't lock down a specific timetable on Vea's return, but knowing the first-round pick isn't out for the year provides good news for the Buccaneers' defense.

Vea was spotted during Tuesday's practice on a scooter wearing a walking boot, according to ESPN's Jenna Laine.

After a productive collegiate career with the Washington Huskies, where he was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2017, Vea joined the Buccaneers as the 12th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

The 6-foot-4, 347-pound Vea was part of the team's heavy offseason investment on the defensive line.

In addition to Vea, the Buccaneers brought in Jason Pierre-Paul, Beau Allen, Vinny Curry and Mitch Unrein during the offseason to bolster a defensive line group that already included Gerald McCoy, William Gholston and Noah Spence, among others.

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