TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have more healthy players upon returning from the bye week.
Entering the break late last week, center Evan Smith (ankle), tight end Luke Stocker (hip), wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle), safety Chris Conte (ankle) and cornerback Johnthan Banks (knee) were all nursing injuries.
With those five players back on the practice field Tuesday, coach Lovie Smith likes where his team stands.
"You're always looking to get the full group, where you have all options available each week," Smith said. "Hopefully, that will be the case. We pretty much have all of our options open this week."
In addition, right tackle Demar Dotson (knee) and defensive tackle Akeem Spence (back) returned to practice. Dotson had been on the injured reserve/designated to return list, and Spence was on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. Dotson is eligible to be activated starting Nov. 2, and Spence can be activated beginning this week.
"I don't think it's where I want it to be, but I've still got time," Dotson said of his knee. "I've got two more weeks before I can play. By the time we come around there, I should be where I want to be."
The return of Dotson and others to practice is good news for the Bucs (2-3), who will try to improve to .500 for the second time this season when they visit the Washington Redskins. Banks, who hasn't played since sustaining his injury in Week 3, said returning to the field was a welcome development.
"It feels pretty good," Banks said of his knee. "I'm ready to get out there and test it out. I'm just excited to get back out there."