Bucs' Demps has groin surgery

Jeff Demps returns a kickoff during the second quarter against the Eagles on Sunday. Later, he sustains a groin injury for which he has surgery.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Jeff Demps returns a kickoff during the second quarter against the Eagles on Sunday. Later, he sustains a groin injury for which he has surgery.

TAMPA — It's another false start for Jeff Demps' pro career.

The Olympic sprinter had surgery Thursday for a groin injury sustained during Sunday's 31-20 loss to the Eagles. There is no timetable for his return.

It's the second time in as many years Demps' run at the NFL has been stopped. In 2012, the former Florida Gator sprained the medial collateral ligament in his knee during a preseason game with the Patriots and spent the season on injured reserve.

In two games with the Bucs, Demps had three catches for 21 yards and one carry for 14. He also returned three kickoffs for 93 yards.

Punt returner Eric Page likely will handle kickoffs. But other candidates include Chris Owusu, Skye Dawson and Tiquan Underwood.

"There are a couple of guys, but Page is doing a good job," Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. "If you look at his numbers, he's producing."

More injuries: Schiano said no decision has been made on if LG Carl Nicks, who had surgery to remove MRSA from his left foot Tuesday, will return or go on injured reserve.

RG Davin Joseph returned to practice a day after sitting out and said he should be ready to play Sunday at Atlanta. He took a hit to his right knee against the Eagles.

WR Mike Williams (hamstring) was limited at practice.

Fan challenge: Informed some fans believe CB Darrelle Revis is not being used properly — in zone defense instead of man to man — defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan invited them to help formulate the game plan.

"I get here about 5:20 every single morning, and they're more than welcome to hang around here until about 11 (p.m.) for the first four nights of the week," Sheridan said. "We've got all the free Cokes you want in the building, and we'll be happy to take those suggestions on how we can better use Darrelle.

"Trust me when I tell you we painstakingly game plan how best to use all of our personnel, not just Darrelle."

CLOSERS: The Falcons are 43-1 when leading after three quarters at home in five-plus seasons under coach Mike Smith. Meanwhile, the Bucs have not scored an offensive touchdown during the second half this season.

So what's the solution for the Bucs?

"Either get a lead by the end of three quarters or we've got to be that exception," Schiano said.

NOWHERE TO RUN: LT Donald Penn suggested Wednesday that the offensive line had created some creases that RB Doug Martin didn't trust because they weren't there earlier in the year.

"I didn't see a ton of that," Schiano said. "There's always some ruts. The hardest thing you can do is question a back's eyes. The minute you start questioning your running back's vision, then it's time to get a new running back.

"Every play's designed to go in a certain area with a certain scheme. But then once you trust the play, you've got to trust your eyes then. So trust the play to get it going and then trust your eyes. Doug's got as good vision as any back I've ever coached, so we've just got to keep trusting it. It'll pop."

Rick Stroud can be reached at stroud @tampabay.com and heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-620.

Bucs' Demps has groin surgery 10/17/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 17, 2013 10:00pm]

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