Da'Quan Bowers to start on PUP list

TAMPA, Fla. -- Although he suffered a torn Achilles tendon in May, there's growing hope that Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers might be able to play in 2012.

Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik said the team plans to place Bowers on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list at the start of the regular season. That means Bowers will miss the first six games, but Dominik sounded optimistic about the possibility of Bowers returning after that.

"He's ahead of schedule in terms of his surgery was very successful," Dominik said. "His rehab has been very successful. The only thing we're doing now is limiting what he can do to try to keep him from overexerting himself because he feels so good."

Prior to the injury, Bowers was considered a strong candidate to start opposite fellow second-year defensive end Adrian Clayborn. When Bowers suffered the injury, there was widespread speculation that he would miss the entire season. Dominik isn't ready to make any guarantees, but said a return by Bowers this season is a possibility.

"He'll end up on the PUP list and we'll have to make a determination sometime in October," Domink said. "But it's encouraging to know that that's at least going to be up for discussion. Instead of worrying about 2013, we're still talking about 2012."