Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting center Ryan Jensen carted off with knee injury; team awaits test results

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting center Ryan Jensen has undergone testing on a left knee injury he suffered in practice Thursday, but a source told ESPN that it's "not looking good" for the Pro Bowler.

The injury happened during a team period and resulted in the whole team gathering around Jensen, who has been a fixture on the Buccaneers' offensive line for five seasons. The mood immediately turned somber, and he was carted off the field.

"That usually happens when you have a player like Ryan who is obviously a very good player but also just a great person and a leader, and his toughness -- things like that, about him, that define him," general manager Jason Licht said. "When a player like that gets hurt and he's played through several injuries in his career, without missing any time, it deflates everybody. We'll wait to find out what it is and we're hoping for the best."

A source told ESPN that Jensen underwent an MRI on Thursday. Licht had said the team might not have a diagnosis for a few days because of swelling.

Jensen, 31, agreed to a three-year deal with the Buccaneers in March. He surrendered only two sacks in the 2021 regular season and postseason combined and produced a 93.1% pass block win rate from the center position -- regular season and playoffs combined -- the past two years protecting Tom Brady.

Jensen signed as a free agent with the Buccaneers in 2018, moving from guard to center as the team wanted to bring more attitude and toughness to its offensive line. Jensen immediately emerged as a tone-setter. His 4,518 snaps at center are the most of any offensive lineman since 2018.

Initially, Jensen had issues channeling his aggression, and at times it led to costly penalties, but he has improved tremendously in that department. In his first season in Tampa Bay, his 11 penalties were tied for fourth most in the league among offensive linemen. That number dropped to seven over the past two seasons.

Jensen suffered an ankle sprain during the Buccaneers' 31-15 wild-card win over the Philadelphia Eagles last season but played through it, not missing a snap. He also played through the Buccaneers' 30-27 divisional playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

The Buccaneers' offensive line -- one of the most durable in the league with Brady -- has seen a lot of turnover this year, losing right guard Alex Cappa to the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency and left guard Ali Marpet to retirement.

Originally drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round of the 2013 draft, Jensen has appeared in 100 games with 90 starts in eight seasons.