By Max Luckan
If there’s an advantage to playing a Thursday night game, it would have to be the fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to get a few extra days of rest after the previous short week in order to get healthy. While the Bucs haven’t had to deal with long injury lists this season, the team has definitely had to cope with missing key players such as guard Davin Joseph and defensive end Adrian Clayborn.
As the Bucs prepare to head to the West Coast to take on the Oakland Raiders, they aren’t expecting any major injuries or surprises in terms of who will be ready to go on Sunday.
Cornerback Eric Wright was limited in practice earlier in the week because of an Achilles injury suffered in the game last Thursday against the Minnesota Vikings, but participated fully later in the week and head coach Greg Schiano thinks that he will play. “Yeah, I think Eric’s going to be good. Good to go,” Schiano said. “He did a lot the last couple days, and I think he’s going to be fine.” Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan later confirmed that he would, indeed, be out there on Sunday against the Raiders. As for the reported suspension, the league has not informed the Bucs of any suspension at this time, meaning that Wright is eligible to play.
Likewise, corner Brandon McDonald had been dealing with an ankle injury this week, but is listed as probable on the injury report and should play. The availability of both Wright and McDonald is crucial because the Bucs traded CB Aqib Talib to the New England Patriots on Thursday and the Bucs need all the depth they can get in the struggling secondary.
On the defensive line, Michael Bennett nursed an ankle injury, sustained on the last play in the game against the Vikings, earlier in the week, but is also listed as a full participant and probable for Sunday’s game. Left tackle Donald Penn, who lost his fellow lineman on the left side, Carl Nicks, to a season-ending toe injury, was listed with a wrist injury, but will be available to play this weekend. Even though the Bucs lost Nicks, Penn’s availability means that running back Doug Martin and quarterback Josh Freeman will have to chance to continue their high level of play.
Meanwhile, the Raiders have already ruled out tackle Khalif Barnes (groin) and CB Shawntae Spencer (foot). Second-year man Willie Smith will start in place of Barnes and Pat Lee is expected to take over for Spencer. Linebacker Keenan Clayton (shoulder) is listed as doubtful on the injury report, which means that he likely won’t suit up. The only other concern for the Raiders is the status of MLB Rolando McClain, who was limited all week because of a toe injury and is listed as questionable. The Raiders will have to deal with a few injuries on the defensive side of the ball, which should favor the Bucs’ offensive attack.
In short, fantasy owners shouldn’t hesitate to start Doug Martin, but keep in mind that the Bucs suffered a huge blow to the offensive line with the loss of Nicks.
Probable: Player typically has a 75% chance of playing in the game.
Questionable: Player typically has a 50% chance of playing in the game.
Doubtful: Player typically has a 25% chance of playing in the game.
Out: Player has been ruled out and has a 0% chance of playing in the game.
Full Injury Report
DE Michael Bennett (ankle)
CB Brandon McDonald (ankle)
CB Eric Wright (Achilles)
LT Donald Penn (wrist)
DT Desmond Bryant (elbow)
RB Mike Goodson (toe)
RB Darren McFadden (shoulder)
DE Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder)
T Jared Veldheer (elbow)
LB Travis Goethel (back)
K Sebastian Janikowski (groin)
DT Richard Seymour (knee)
T Willie Smith (ankle)
DE Dave Tollefson (shoulder)
C Stefen Wisniewski (ankle)
RB Taiwan Jones (knee)
LB Rolando McClain (toe)
LB Keenan Clayton (shoulder)
T Khalif Barnes (groin)
CB Shawntae Spencer (foot)
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Max Luckan is a freelance writer covering all things Tampa. Hia work can be found on Examiner.com.