Bucs rule out DT Clinton McDonald for Thursday; WR Shepard doubtful
Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald will miss a fourth straight game with a hamstring injury, the team announced Wednesday in ruling him out for Thursday night's home game against the Falcons.
As expected, RBs Doug Martin (hamstring) and Jacquizz Rodgers (foot) are also out for the game, which leaves the Bucs with three backups for Thursday in veteran Antone Smith, rookie Peyton Barber, and Mike James, who was signed to the roster Tuesday.
There's encouraging progress for DE Will Gholston, who suffered a biceps injury Sunday but was upgraded to full participation Wednesday and is listed as "questionable;" less so for WR Russell Shepard, who has been limited by a hip injury and is officially doubtful, which translates to "unlikely to play." It's possible the Bucs will have to elevate Donteea Dye from the practice squad to have five healthy receivers for Thursday's game.
The Falcons will be without three injured players Thursday in RB Tevin Coleman (who had 95 receiving yards against the Bucs in Week 1), TE Jacob Tamme (their leading receiver in the first Bucs game) and DE Dwight Freeney.