Kenyatta Walker Out for Season
It just gets worse for the Bucs.
A week after quarterback Chris Simms suffered a possible season-ending injury, right tackle Kenyatta Walker was placed on Injured Reserve on Wednesday after undergoing season-ending knee surgery.
That news means rookie Jeremy Trueblood will be elevated to the starting lineup, where he will join fellow rookie and starting right guard Davin Joseph when the latter returns from his own knee injury.
To compensate, the Bucs signed tackle Donald Penn, an undrafted free agent who spent training camp with the Vikings before joining their practice squad.
Walker's latest surgery is his third on the knee in three years. He had been playing through significant pain since training camp, when he missed a series of practices and the first preseason game.
"They went in and looked around and it's more severe than it has been, so his season is over," coach Jon Gruden said. "Obviously it's a big loss to our football team."
Fixing the knee now was considered the best course of action by Dr. James Andrews of Birmingham, Ala., who is renowned in the sports medicine community.
"It’s a credit to him for playing like he did given this is what he had for the first three games," Gruden said. "Dr. Andrews, one of the best in the world at what he does, says the best thing to do is correct this thing right now. It’s a more significant surgery than what he has had in the past."
The loss takes a toll on the depth at tackle, where Cornell Green, acquired in the preseason, is the next option. Penn, 6-feet-5 and 305 pounds, could also come into the picture if needed.
The promotion of Trueblood to the starting lineup makes the Buce even younger at some key positions. Joseph is yet to make his first start, though he is a possibility to play this week. Trueblood will be making his debut on Sunday against the Saints. All told, the Bucs will at some point have three rookies in the starting lineup when the linemen join quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.
STEPHEN F. HOLDER