Alex Smith could play this week
Bucs tight end Alex Smith ''has a chance to play this week'' against the Detroit Lions, head coach Jon Gruden said during a news conference Monday at One Buc Place.
Smith was taken off the field on a cart after spraining an ankle in the second half of Sunday's 13-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans.
"We don't believe it's as serious as Mike Pittman's (ankle injury),'' Gruden said.
X-rays on Smith's ankle and defensive end Patrick Chukwurah's injured shoulder appeared negative, Gruden said. He called both players "questionable'' for Sunday's game.
Pittman was lost for 6-8 weeks with a high ankle sprain sustained during a loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 7. With Pittman out for the foreseeable future, and Cadillac Williams (knee) and Mike Alstott (neck) done for the season, Gruden said the Bucs will be active as the league trade deadline approaches Tuesday at 4:15 p.m.
"We are certainly investigating the possibility of a trade,'' Gruden said. "Again, it takes two to tango.''
Gruden also addressed the decision on Saturday to release running back Kenneth Darby and promote Lionel Gates from the practice squad, saying the Bucs believed Gates' performance in practice gave them more options in the running game and on special teams.
"We felt, in all fairness, Lionel Gates outperformed Ken Darby on the practice field,'' Gruden said.