TAMPA — The good news from Friday's Bucs practice? Lavonte David, who was held out a day before with an ankle injury, was back and said he is fine to play weakside linebacker in Sunday's home game against the Saints.
The bad news? DT Gerald McCoy remains a major question mark, practicing with limited participation (and what looked like a cast on his injured left hand) and still waiting for doctors' clearance to play after missing last week's game.
Coach Lovie Smith ruled out DE Jacquies Smith (hamstring) and said DE George Johnson (calf) is doubtful, leaving hope that McCoy could play and return to the defensive line against QB Drew Brees.
"Everybody else should be available, hopefully," the coach said. "Right now those are the only two (Smith and Johnson) that are in doubt a little bit of playing. Hopefully we'll have the rest of the guys. They're available."
Smith said McCoy had not been medically cleared to play but reiterated that "we have a few more hours before game time. He's right on pace to hopefully be ready by Sunday."
If Smith and Johnson are out again at end, the Bucs will have Will Gholston — who had two sacks last week against Atlanta — as one starting end but will otherwise rely on three first-year players: Howard Jones, who has 41/2 sacks, and backups Kourtnei Brown and Josh Shirley, who picked up two of their combined three career tackles last week against Atlanta.
WINSTON HONORED: Rookie QB Jameis Winston's wild 20-yard scramble on third and 19 on the winning drive Sunday had him voted as the NFL's clutch performer for Week 13.
Winston is the first Bucs player and the only rookie to earn the league's weekly honor this season.
THIS AND THAT: Evan Smith, who has started at center and guard this season and is the top backup at both positions, was not at practice Friday, but his absence was not injury-related and he's probable to play Sunday. … With Minnesota's Adrian Peterson held to 69 yards in Thursday's loss at Arizona, the Bucs' Doug Martin can pass him for the league rushing lead with 119 rushing yards against the Saints.
Contact Greg Auman at [email protected]tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.