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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs rookie Brian Price facing extended absence



Rookie defensive tackle Brian Price has been playing with inflammation in his hip and is likely to miss at least several games as doctors try to determine whether rest will improve his condition.

Surgery is not required at this time, according to his agent, Chuck Price (no relation).

The Bucs' second-round pick out of UCLA has been battling injuries from the time he first arrived at One Buc Place.

It was believed a recurring sore hamstring was the problem. But Price has been unable to play himself into shape and the pain has intensified to the point that he has been ineffective as a pass rusher.

An MRI exam this week revealed that Price's pain was actually the result of inflammation and irritation near his hip, although no structural damage has been detected.

"This isn't a Bo Jackson situation because he's been able to play with it,'' Chuck Price said.

Because the Bucs still have 10 games left after Sunday's meeting with the Rams, team officials are hopeful Price will return within a few weeks.

Earlier today, coach Raheem Morris officially ruled Price out of Sunday’s game. As the team’s third defensive tackle behind Gerald McCoy and Roy Miller, Price was expected to be playing extensively. His role, for now, will be filled by veteran Ryan Sims, who has played sporadically so far this season.

On Tuesday, the Bucs traded for Alex Magee from Kansas City, putting him right into the mix at defensive tackle during his first two practices. But Morris said Magee won’t play on Sunday, though it doesn’t appear it’ll be long before he does.

“He certainly came in and had two really good practices and he certainly opened up some eyes and did some really good things,” Morris said.

But the Bucs’ injury issues don’t end with the defensive line.

The offensive line is banged up, too, especially starting LG Keydrick Vincent, who missed another practice on today with back spasms. He’s expected to be a game-time decision, leaving the Bucs particularly thin up front.

Already, backup guard Jeremy Zuttah is starting at center for a few weeks in place of Jeff Faine (quad). Now, the Bucs would be forced to turn to newcomer Ted Larsen is Vincent is sidelined on Sunday.

The Palm Harbor native and rookie from North Carolina State spent the preseason with the Patriots before being waived and claimed by the Bucs. He’s been a center throughout his career but has been working at guard since being picked up by New England.

“I played center in college,” he said. Guard “is what I played most of the preseason at.”

Elsewhere, FB Earnest Graham (hamstring) was unable to practice today after showing improvement a day earlier. He was listed as questionable for Sunday. The Bucs worked reserve RB Kregg Lumpkin at fullback this week in the event Graham misses the game. The Bucs have also been using converted defensive end Erik Lorig as a fullback, too.

Other players listed as questionable but expected to play: LB Barrett Ruud (toe) and G Davin Joseph (knee). Backup CB Elbert Mack (heel) is doubtful.

[Last modified: Friday, October 22, 2010 8:47pm]


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