Nine Bucs players held out of practice with injuries
Four days before the most important game of the Bucs' preseason schedule, nine players were held out of Tuesday's practice with various injuries, including six players listed on the defensive side of the two-deep depth chart.
The newest addition to the list is defensive end Michael Johnson, who has a knee bruise, joined as a spectator at defensive line drills with fellow ends Will Gholston (shoulder) and Da'Quan Bowers (groin). The other cluster of injuries is in the defensive secondary, where cornerback Mike Jenkins remains out with a hamstring, as does safety Major Wright (back) and corner Rashaan Melvin (ankle).
"(Johnson) should be good to go," coach Lovie Smith said. "(Cornerback) Alterraun Verner is getting better (from hamstring) but this is his first work in a long time so we'll ease back into the mix. Mike Jenkins continues to get better but he wasn't able to do anything today."
Backup running back Mike James (shoulder), linebacker Brandon Magee (ankle) and tackle J.B. Shugarts (unknown) were also held out. Coach Lovie Smith will address the media after practice, but as of Monday, the only players he had said were likely out for Saturday's game at Buffalo were Gholston and James. Defensive end Steven Means, who sat out Saturday's game with a groin injury, was back at practice. "He's improved a lot quicker than we thought he would," Smith said.
"Guys need to make the football team and they need to get out there," Smith said. "Every rep they miss, of course, someone else is taking advanage of."