TAMPA — The Bucs said the fact QB Josh Freeman sat out most of Wednesday's practice with his fractured right thumb bandaged was not a cause for concern.
Freeman and coach Raheem Morris said it was part of the plan.
One day after taking all of the snaps typical of a starting quarterback, Freeman was listed under limited participation and was mostly a spectator for the early portion, wearing no pads or helmet.
Freeman said there were no setbacks, and Morris indicated the team had predetermined to rest him Wednesday, taking advantage of the extra day of practice created by playing the final preseason game on a Thursday.
Morris said he expects Freeman to fully participate today and start Sunday against Cleveland.
"Josh is right on schedule," Morris said. "We had the long week, the two long days. You don't want to do anything to hurt the young man. You want the young man to be right on schedule to play in this week's game. It's about Sundays. It's about getting him to Sunday, getting him prepared."
Tuesday, Freeman went through his first full practice in more than three weeks, taking snaps and making throws without any reported problems.
Though Freeman has practiced just once since injuring his thumb in the second preseason game against Kansas City on Aug. 21, Morris didn't appear worried about rust playing a factor Sunday.
"The best part of that is that nobody cares," Morris said. "At the end of the game, when I come off the stage and whatever happens, whatever he does, his whole objective is to go out there and win. Nobody cares."
TAKING TALIB'S SIDE: CB Ronde Barber played a little defense for fellow cornerback Aqib Talib on Wednesday.
Barber, the only remaining member of the Bucs' Super Bowl XXXVII team, said Talib's one-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy was unfair.
Talib will sit out Sunday and forfeit two game checks stemming from his assault on a cab driver in August 2009.
"I don't know how the dealings with the league work all the time, but he's getting unfairly punished, in my mind," Barber said. "He's definitely made amends for his transgressions last preseason. I thought he had done enough. But they make decisions based on what they make decisions on, and I'm not part of it. But we'll miss him this week. He'll be back.
"Hopefully, it's just another step in his learning curve."
OH, CAPTAIN: The Bucs voted on their captains during a team meeting Tuesday afternoon, with Freeman and C Jeff Faine selected for the offense, Barber and LB Barrett Ruud selected for the defense and long snapper Andrew Economos selected for special teams.
For Ruud, a first-time captain, it was a special honor.
"It's awesome," he said. "I've been a captain in high school, college and now pro. When you're the captain on a pro team, it means a lot because it's guys all over the country, a lot of highly skilled guys who elected you to be a captain for them.
"And it does mean a lot, and I'm pretty proud of it."
HEISMAN HISTORY: As a teammate of Saints RB Reggie Bush at Southern Cal, DE/DT Kyle Moore had a different perspective on reports that Bush might get his 2005 Heisman Trophy taken away.
"Everybody knows who the best college football player was that year when he won the Heisman," Moore said. "But I know as well, as the world knows it, and anybody that's watched Reggie Bush, he was the best player that year."
INJURY REPORT: WR Maurice Stovall (ankle), DT Brian Price (hamstring) and LB Niko Koutouvides (neck) were listed at full participation.
Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]