TAMPA — Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had surgery last week to repair his fractured left hand but will play today against the Saints.
Although coach Lovie Smith called it a "minor procedure," McCoy had a plate and several screws inserted into the hand he broke Nov. 29 at Indianapolis.
McCoy, who leads the team with seven sacks, will wear a cast on his hand. His return is timely for a defense that will be without starting middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, who is serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Linebacker Lavonte David aggravated an ankle sprain in practice Wednesday but will play today.
SHULA WANTS PERFECTION: Hall of Fame coach Don Shula said he's hoping the Panthers become the second NFL team to go undefeated and win a championship. Shula's 1972 Dolphins were the first, going 17-0 and winning the title. But the reason he's rooting for Carolina?
"I have special interest in the Carolina Panthers because my son Mike is the offensive coordinator," Shula said Friday at a gala in Hollywood, Fla., celebrating the Dolphins' 50th anniversary. "I hope they equal or surpass what we were able to do. If it happens on a team that Mike was a part of, I would be very proud of that."
Shula, 85, knows some his former players don't share the sentiment: "I don't tell them that. I just say it to people that don't have a vested interest."
"Obviously we're paying a great deal of attention … all of us," said former running back Larry Csonka, 68, a member of the '72 team. "It's kind of a split decision. If it was just the Panthers, of course I'd be opposed. … When there's a Shula with them, that's a different story."
Mike Shula played one season for the Bucs (1987) and later was offensive coordinator (1996-99).
GIVING SEASON GETS UGLY: Former Giants defensive tackle Damontre Moore says an altercation with a teammate over free headphones led to his release. The incident started when receiver Odell Beckham provided free Beats by Dre headphones to the team, according to multiple reports. Moore got upset with veteran defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, who reportedly grabbed two pair, according to reports. "I definitely could have handled it better by just obviously walking away," Moore, a 2013 third-round pick, said on ESPN Radio. Moore said that was not the only reason he was let go, though he said he had ongoing issues with Jenkins.