TAMPA — Da'Quan Bowers' disappointing season ended Thursday as the Bucs defensive end was placed on injured reserve due to a knee injury.
Coach Greg Schiano said Bowers already has had minor knee surgery, "kind of a washout deal,'' and that his rehab should not prevent him from missing offseason workouts.
Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said the injury had lingered all season and believes it affected Bowers' production.
Bowers, the team's second-round pick from Clemson in 2011, failed to capture the starting left end position in training camp. Used primarily as a third-down rusher, he recorded seven tackles and one sack in 13 games.
"I'm hoping actually the surgery will help him because I think he's — and maybe wouldn't be aware of it — he's nursing that all year," Sheridan said. "He's never been well. You're trying to decide all season on whether or not to make that move. Is he at least healthy enough to play, can he play on third down or are we better off getting that surgery and letting him rehab and get ready for the offseason? I think you'll see a different guy next offseason."
The team signed DL Scott Solomon to replace Bowers on the 53-man roster. Solomon was a seventh-round pick of the Titans in 2012 and played in 13 games as a rookie. He played one game with the Jets this season.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD? Ted Larsen took reps with the first-team offense at left guard and there's ''a good chance'' he will start Sunday against the Saints. The former Palm Harbor University standout replaced Jamon Meredith during Sunday's 23-13 loss at St. Louis.
"There's a good chance Ted will get the start," Schiano said. "Obviously, no one seized the position, otherwise it would be locked in, it'd be done, right? In Week 17, the fact that we're still fiddling around kind of speaks to that."
BIG STEP BACK: The offensive line has been an issue in recent weeks, allowing consistent pressure on rookie QB Mike Glennon. In allowing 21 sacks in the first five games, Tampa Bay has moved from one of the league's best in avoiding sacks to one of its least effective.
The Bucs allowed 26 sacks last season, tied for third-lowest in the NFL. With one game left this season, the team has allowed 45 sacks, sixth-most in the league. The increase of 19 sacks from a year ago is tied with the Giants for the second-largest in the NFL. Miami is the worst, after losing two starters due to the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin problems in October.
This season's sacks are the most since 47 in 2001, and if the Bucs allow three sacks on Sunday, they'll have the most since the 1995 team matched the team record of 56, also set in 1986 and 1991.
INJURIES: LB Dekoda Watson (groin) did not practice again Thursday. S Mark Barron (hamstring), LB Ka'Lial Glaud (knee) and G Davin Joseph (knee) were limited in practice and are day to day. Schiano said Barron would likely be a game-time decision. LB Lavonte David (elbow) and NT Akeem Spence (wrist) had full participation.
Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.