TAMPA — As if the Bucs don't have enough injury problems, Monday added more uncertainty to a preseason producing more questions than answers about player bumps and bruises.
Carl Nicks is the latest concern as coach Greg Schiano said Monday that the guard, who had offseason surgery on his left foot, had "a setback" from an infection due to a blister that developed last week during three days of practice against the Patriots.
The blister — on the outside of the left foot and not the toe that was repaired, Schiano said — was why Nicks did not play in Friday's 25-21 loss to New England.
"We take it seriously," Schiano said. "It's not something you mess around with, but it's not your common injury either."
"The next question is, 'How long will he be (out)?' " Schiano added. "I don't know that. We got to let the medicine run its course and see if we can't get that thing straightened out."
Schiano said "it's a realistic possibility" Nicks will be ready for the Sept. 8 regular-season opener against the Jets. That said, the injury bug is definitely bugging the Bucs.
CB Darrelle Revis might have taken what he termed "a huge step" in his rehab from knee surgery by participating for the first time in 11-on-11 drills. But there are so many other smoldering fires, Schiano told the media during his briefing, "Why don't you guys ask and I will tell (about) each individual."
G Davin Joseph (knee) participated Monday in all but two periods with Schiano calling it "certainly a big step up for him."
"We stepped up a little more, getting more involved, working on fundamentals, pad level, all the basics," Joseph said.
As for playing Saturday against the Dolphins, Joseph, who hasn't played since the 2012 preseason, wasn't sure: "We'll see how everything goes the rest of the week."
Also a question mark for Saturday is RB Doug Martin, who took a knee to the head against the Patriots — "I kind of got a little dazed," he said — though both player and Schiano said Martin did not have a concussion.
Even so, Schiano said about Martin facing the Dolphins, "We have to discuss that."
Martin practiced Monday without contact, though Schaino said that was just a precaution: "He could have if we wanted to. We just felt it wasn't worth it right now. He got all his work without getting touched."
Completely untouched while riding stationary bikes were CB Danny Gorrer (groin), WR Tiquan Underwood (knee) and WR Chris Owusu (ankle).
RB Mike Smith injured his toe against the Patriots, Schiano said, and RB Brian Leonard, who did not play Friday night, has "a little bit of a strain."
Nicks' injury, though, was the reddest flag.
"It's very unpredictable dealing with something (like this)," Schiano said of the infection. "We'll see … how he reacts (to the medication) how fast it clears up.
"It's an unfortunate set of circumstances," Schiano said. "But we'll get it corrected like everything else."
WORK IN PROGRESS: Schiano said DE Da'Quan Bowers "played better" against the Patriots and "did some things that we haven't seen him do," despite not registering a tackle.
That was why Schiano said he is not frustrated with the third-year player's pace of improvement, despite publicly saying Bowers has to be better.
"As long as he keeps making progress he's going to be a great player," Schiano said. "It's just we have to keep making progress."
WORK IN PROGRESS II: Schiano isn't ready to declare Akeem Spence the starter at tilted nose tackle, but the rookie apparently is headed in the right direction.
"He's making plays," Schiano said. "He's doing his job most of the time … but he's got to be more consistent at it. He's going to get a shot (against the Dolphins) to do it and I sure hope so because he's very talented."
Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]