By Max Luckan
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers still find themselves on a season-saving path. At 2-8, no one in their right mind would call this team a good football team, despite all of the talent on the roster. That’s just the way it works.
But as the Bucs appear to be somewhat close to finally figuring out how to win games, and how to play solid football collectively as a unit, there’s a chance that this season can be saved. At this point, a 7-9 record or even a 6-10 record would be a success. Now the Bucs have to hope injuries won’t derail those plans as they head into Detroit to play the Lions.
Actually, the Bucs have already suffered some very significant injuries this season that have gone largely unnoticed because of all the other drama surrounding the team. They have played well without starters Carl Nicks and Doug Martin, and limited starters such as Darrelle Revis and Davin Joseph.
For this Sunday’s game against the Lions, the Bucs could be without starting linebacker Mason Foster. Foster sustained a concussion last Sunday against the Falcons, and has to pass more tests in order to play against the Lions. Foster said he has never missed a game in his career, not even in high school. Despite not practicing on Wednesday and Thursday, Foster thinks he has a shot at playing.
“I think I’m close,” Foster said. “But you’ve got to be safe. I hate missing anything; hate missing reps. So it’s tough. At the same time, I’ve got to look out for my future and make sure I’m able to play down the road and not get seriously hurt.”
Foster has really played well this season, and head coach Greg Schiano said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that Foster will be ready to go.
Safety Dashon Goldson will miss this game because he is suspended after the league denied his appeal earlier in the week. That means safety Keith Tandy will start in his place.
Cornerback Johnthan Banks is dealing with a shoulder injury, but he was able to participate fully in practice on Thursday, so he will play against the Lions. And defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, who suffered a concussion a while back, had full participation, so it looks like Bowers will be able to play against Detroit.
The Lions are in the midst of a playoff run, so injuries at this point in the season are bad news for the team.
However, wide receiver Nate Burleson, who suffered a broken left forearm in a car crash in September, is scheduled to return and play on Sunday, so that is good news for the team and quarterback Matthew Stafford.
On defense, starting defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, who is dealing with an ankle injury, was limited on Wednesday and Thursday. His status for Sunday’s game against the Bucs remains up in the air, but the Lions will definitely need him.
Safety Louis Delmas (knee) and defensive end Israel Idonije (knee) were also limited both on Wednesday and Thursday. Both players will likely try to play, but the decision will likely be made closer to game time.
Wide receiver Calvin Johnson is still battling a knee injury, but there is little doubt that he will suit up against the Bucs. However, going up against Darrelle Revis will not be an easy day at the office for Johnson.
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.