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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Freeman says his thumb injury has affected him 'maybe a little bit'



Quarterback Josh Freeman says the sprained thumb on his right throwing hand has affected him "maybe a little bit" in the past three games.

Freeman injured the thumb in the Bucs 24-18 loss to the Chicago Bears in London, a game in which he threw four interceptions. The next week, Freeman said he took two hits on the thumb at New Orleans in a 27-16 loss to the Saints. On Sunday, Freeman was intercepted three times and failed to complete 50 percent of his passes in a 37-9 loss to the Houston Texans.

In the last three games, Freeman has two touchdown passes and seven interceptions.

Freeman was asked if the injury has had any effect on how he can throw or grip the football: "Maybe a little bit,'' Freeman said. "But at the same time, being out there, you can't really make excuses for anything. If you're going to be out there playing, you've got to go out and prepare to play well. 

"The Bears game, I kind of strained it. Then, right out of the gate in the Saints game, it gets hit again. Then it gets hit again and again. I'm feeling really good about it because this past week, Houston, I didn't get it hit at all. I mean it feels good. Maybe the Saints were going for it, maybe not. I don't know.''

The Saints notified the NFL office that Freeman should be on the Bucs injury report when they saw him in an interview with the NFL Network wearing a splint on his right thumb several days prior to their game with the Bucs. Freeman has been on the injury report ever since, even though he has not been limited in practice.  

Freeman said he threw the ball well in the walk-through Wednesday morning.

"Being out there, you have to play well enough to win,'' Freeman said. "The thumb is continuing to get better, it's feeling great. I'd say nearly 100 percent right now. It's not something I'm concerned's basically normal."

Even so, Freeman practiced Wednesday with the thumb taped. 

Noting that Freeman played the first four games last season with the same thumb fractured, Bucs coach Raheem Morris said it's not an excuse for three straight losses.

"You guys broke down Josh, congratulations,'' Morris said. "In my eyes, I don’t see it as a factor. My young quarterback, his job is to go out there and deliver the football with precision and timing and that’s what he has to do.

"He banged it, sprained it against the Chicago Bears, well-documented. He had a bye week, came back didn’t worry about it. He threw the football and practiced every single day and has been out there fighting through it. This young man played with a broken finger for the first four games of last season so we won’t make excuses about a sprained thumb. We definitely won’t make excuses for our losing streak right now for a sprained thumb. With that bring said, it’s gray matter. Nobody cares. Our job is to go win football games and that’s what we plan to do."

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 9:31pm]


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