Josh Freeman still banged up but remains optimistic
Injured quarterback Josh Freeman was in the Bucs' locker room Saturday night cracking jokes with Josh Johnson, who occupies the locker stall next door.
Freeman's mood was upbeat despite the fact his fractured right thumb remains obviously black and blue. He removed the splint on his hand while getting dressed, revealing a bruise that, to me, looked pretty ugly. But Freeman quickly pointed out that the swelling has subsided significantly and he was feeling much better than a week ago. He also clearly had good range of motion in the hand.
Most important, Freeman didn't back off the team's projection that he will play in the season opener on Sept. 12 against the Browns.
Of course, until Freeman actually gets on the field and resumes throwing, no one can say for certain he'll be ready to go against Cleveland. And even if he does play, it's impossible to know how he'll be affected by the injury to his throwing hand.
But the upside here is that, according to Freeman, he's seen significant improvement in a short period of time. Given the amount of treatment he'll get from the training staff and the fact he has almost two weeks remaining before the opener, it doesn't seem like a stretch that he'll play and be effective when the season kicks off.