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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Buccaneers' Stovall seizes opportunity, now faces familiar obstacle



Receiver Maurice Stovall was one of the bright spots in last Sunday's demoralizing defeat at Buffalo, coming up with a career-best 80 yards on three catches, including a 38-yard catch that set up a touchdown.

His contributions were welcomed in the absence of injured starter Antonio Bryant.

But, come Wednesday, Stovall showed up in a familiar place: the injury report.

Turns out, he injured a knee at Buffalo and hasn't practiced this week. Coach Raheem Morris, pressed to characterize the injury on Thursday, called it "significant," but we don't really have a good sense of what Stovall is dealing with.

The hope at One Buc Place is that this is a minor setback. But if it's more than that, it wouldn't be unprecedented for Stovall. Despite what coaches believe is tremendous upside, Stovall has not proven he can stay healthy. Even his coaches readily admit that's become his reputation. It's been the biggest impediment in his now four-year career since Tampa Bay took him in the third round out of Notre Dame in 2006.

Last year he went on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. In 2007, he suffered a broken arm in the final month of the season that, perhaps, hampered his offseason work. And his rookie season was interrupted by a back injury that sidelined him for three games.

Now, with Bryant still a serious question for Sunday, the Bucs really could use Stovall. But unless he practices today, it's unlikely he would play. That would press little-used Brian Clark into action, possibly as a starter. 

Stovall has ability and ideal size. But unless he can stay on the field, will that even matter?

We'll update you on his status this afternoon, following today's workout.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:42pm]


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