Buccaneers suffer blow as Brown ruled out of Packers clash

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Miami (AFP)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown was ruled out of this weekend's NFC Championship game with the Green Bay Packers after failing to recover from a knee injury, head coach Bruce Arians said Friday.

Brown tweaked a knee during the Bucs 30-20 NFL divisional round win over the New Orleans Saints, and was kept on the sidelines for much of the game.

Although a subsequent MRI scan revealed no serious damage, Arians said the 32-year-old was not fully recovered for Sunday's game at Lambeau Field, where the Bucs will battle the Packers for a place in the Super Bowl.

"Antonio is out for this week," Arians told reporters on a video press conference call on Friday.

"To put him on the plane and fly up there and have it swell more doesn't make any sense," Arians added. "He wasn't as close as we had hoped, so we'll get him ready for the next one."

Brown's fitness had been under a cloud after he sat out practice this week, with the Bucs saying he was "day to day".

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who had been instrumental in helping Brown resurrect his career at Tampa Bay, challenged his teammates to overcome the loss of the receiver.

"It obviously sucks for Antonio," Brady said. "We all wish he could be out there with us. Other guys are going to have to step up and do a job.

"We're going to have to go up there and find a way to win."