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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Long flight might keep Buccaneers WR Antonio Bryant grounded



Bucs WR Antonio Bryant can't commit to playing Sunday because of a setback in his left knee injury that has lingered since a preseason arthroscopic surgery.

Bryant believes the 9-hour flight home from London caused the extensive swelling he suffered last week. He hasn't felt well enough to practice Thursday or today. Now, he'll have to decide whether he feels it's prudent to push himself through a game at less than full health given the constant setbacks with the knee.

"It doesn't do me any good to go out there and be good for a couple of games and then be right back in the same situation," he said. "I just have to sit on it."

Bryant said he feels he has a chance to play Sunday against the Packers in rookie QB Josh Freeman's debut. But he probably won't know until he's evaluated before kickoff.

As for his decision not to practice during the last two workouts, he made reference to his lack of a long-term contract, jokingly saying, "I'm not Michael Clayton." Bryant is on a one-year franchise-player tender that pays him $9.88 million guaranteed but offers not assurances beyond this season.Clayton received a five-year deal in the offseason.

About the swollen knee, Bryant said, "That plane ride, that didn't help me. I was good for like two weeks. My knee looked the same and I probably ran the best I had ran all season. Then, next thing I know, I get on that plane coming back (to Tampa), I get up to use the bathroom and it's like, 'Oh!' It was back. I fell asleep, and we were in coach. We're all crunched up."

Not moving the knee allowed it to stiffen and swell, and that's when the problems set in.

"The swelling up shut down the quad, too," he said. "It doesn't help, especially for my position with all the running and cutting. It's not like a (defensive) end or a lineman or something."

In the end, Sunday will be decision day.

"I don't know yet. It's all about going to the stadium," he said. "Coach will let me know. If he lets the dogs out, then I'm going. If not, then hey, it's all about longevity."

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:48pm]


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