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Lavonte David returns to Buccaneers practice Friday

The Buccaneers could get a huge boost on defense against the Bengals if Lavonte David is able to play.

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David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be getting one of their best players back this week if linebacker Lavonte David is able to play come Sunday. The All-Pro linebacker is dealing with a hamstring injury that's caused him to miss the previous four practices in addition to the Week 12 loss at Chicago.

David was able to practice Friday after not going Wednesday or Thursday (team was off), so to have missed the past two weeks of practice will make it tough for him to play Sunday. David shares the NFL lead in tackles with Luke Kuechly and DeAndre Levy with 116 combined tackles.

If he doesn't play Sunday, the Bucs will once again go with a nickel-heavy defense that features Leonard Johnson starting as the slot cornerback to replace one of the three linebackers in Tampa's 4-3 defense. Per Pro Football Focus, Mason Foster and Danny Lansanah were the only two starting linebackers last week, though Orie Lemon did get 27 snaps at weakside linebacker, which is David's normal spot.