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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs monitoring Amobi Okoye's troublesome knee



Bucs Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph’s season-ending knee injury on Friday night was a sudden reminder of the importance of depth.

An area where the Bucs thought they had addressed their depth is defensive tackle, especially after adding Amobi Okoye and Gary Gibson in the offseason. Gibson is starting to get going after an undisclosed injury in training camp, playing his best game on Friday night.

The news on Okoye, however, is not as promising.

The bothersome knee that required what we thought was a minor arthroscopic surgery late in the offseason continues to be a problem. Okoye played in the first preseason game, at Miami, but hasn’t made it onto the field in the two games since. And he has been mostly limited during practice, with even coach Greg Schiano admitting the knee is a concern.

“It’s not just one surgery,” he said. “He has a history with that knee. We knew when we decided to (sign him) that there was a chance that it was going to have to be handled. . . The way he practices, how much he practices -- we are kind of just trying to feel our way through it, see what he can and can’t do.”

That hardly sounds optimistic. And it makes it sound as if the signing of Okoye was seen by the Bucs as a bit of a gamble.

It’s unclear whether the knee is improving or worsening. And the Bucs haven’t said whether the problem is long-term or temporary. But if the issues are likely to persist, it’s not out of the question the Bucs will consider if it’s prudent to move on without Okoye.

Yes, that’s a big “if” given the severe lack of depth on the defensive line. But Okoye’s 1-year, $2 million contract could be of some significance in that decision, too.

The Bucs want this to work out. In fact, they kind of need it to work out. But based on what we’ve seen so far, this situation bears watching and nothing should be assumed.

[Last modified: Monday, August 27, 2012 10:19am]


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