By Max Luckan
Even when they try to stay out of the spotlight, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cannot find a way to do it. The Bucs finally released quarterback Josh Freeman recently and ended the drama that was brewing between him and Head Coach Greg Schiano. And let’s not forget, Bucs General Manager Mark Dominik appeared to be fully behind Schiano throughout the situation with Freeman.
Coming off a bye week, the Bucs were hoping to get healthy as they get set to take on the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday. That isn’t quite the case, though. Left guard Carl Nicks had a setback on Wednesday with his foot injury. Meanwhile, the Eagles appear to be on the upswing despite a key injury at quarterback.
Nicks thought everything was normal when he reported to practice on Wednesday, but he then noticed some discomfort in the same foot that has been bothering him for a while.
Late Wednesday, cultures were taken from Nicks’ foot and doctors discovered that the MRSA staph infection had returned, which often happens with this serious infection.
“Same place, same location,” general Dominik told reporters.
The interesting thing is that Nicks has not yet been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Eagles, but Schiano said more tests will be done.
“From everything we’ve been told and understand, this does happen, which is why MRSA is … hard to treat,” Schiano told the media. On Friday, Ted Larsen was taking most of the reps at left guard, which means that Larsen will probably take Nicks’ place if he can’t play on Sunday, which is looking more and more likely.
On Friday, another, unnamed Bucs player contracted MRSA, which indicates that there is a bigger problem in Tampa concerning player safety.
Wide receiver Mike Williams, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday and wasn’t spotted at practice Friday in the portion that was open to the media. And cornerback Johnthan Banks was also not present at practice. The interesting thing with Banks is that he wasn’t listed on the injury report, so he could be the unnamed player, but that is not confirmed.
Safety Dashon Goldson is dealing with a foot injury and was limited on Wednesday and Thursday, as was defensive end Steven Means, who has a shoulder injury. Their statuses are uncertain for Sunday. Tight end Tom Crabtree was a full participant and he should play against the Eagles after recovering from a serious ankle injury.
The Eagles are currently one of the healthier teams in the NFL. Quarterback Michael Vick has a hamstring injury and is unlikely to play against the Bucs, but backup Nick Foles played extremely well last week against the Giants.
Cornerback Brandon Boykin is dealing with a groin injury, but he was able to participate fully on Thursday and is expected to play. The Bucs, however, could still go after Boykin with wide receiver Vincent Jackson.
Eagles punter Donnie Jones has been limited in practice because of a foot injury, but his status for this week is unknown. Jones probably will play, but if not, it shouldn’t affect Philadelphia’s game plan too much.
And linebacker Connor Barwin has a knee injury, but he will play against the Bucs. Barwin could be hampered by that knee injury though, so look for the Bucs to run in his direction. Finally, starting safety Patrick Chung is still dealing with a shoulder injury, but he hasn’t been limited by it, so all signs point to Chung playing against Tampa Bay.
For more Bucs news and updates, visit Bucs Central.
Max Luckan lives in Tampa, FL and is a sports writer covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL. Luckan has been covering the Buccaneers for a few years now. Max is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.