Seferian-Jenkins cleared for contact; McCoy 'limited'
The Bucs may have to play Sunday without Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy due to a hand injury, but they also may have a long-awaited return, as TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been cleared for contact, a major hurdle to getting back on the field.
"He has been cleared. It's a big step," coach Lovie Smith said. "Austin has been cleared for full contact. ... This is as advanced as he's been, as far along as he's been in a long time. We're encouraged. We'll see what happens Sunday."
Seferian-Jenkins has missed the last nine games since injuring his shoulder in the Bucs' win against the Saints in Week 2. His return would add another key target for rookie Jamies Winston, who has yet to play a full game with receivers Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson and Seferian-Jenkins all healthy at the same time.
The Bucs have ruled out two players for Sunday in defensive end Jacquies Smith (hamstring) and defensive end George Johnson (calf). McCoy and LB Bruce Carter (concussion) returned to practice in limited participation Sunday but aren't likely to play. McCoy dressed for practice but was limited in what he could do, again careful to obscure his left hand as he left the practice field.
"Limited can mean an awful lot of things," Smith said. "He was out here, dressed. It's not a full-speed practice, so you can be limited and do very little. He did very little. ... If you have pain, you play. If it's an injury, you don't."