Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs DT McDonald to miss 49ers game with hamstring injury

SAN FRANCISCO — The Bucs will face the 49ers on Sunday without starting DT Clinton McDonald, who was ruled out Friday after returning to practice for two days in a limited capacity as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

Also ruled out were RB Doug Martin (hamstring) and DE Robert Ayers (ankle), who will both miss their fourth straight game with injuries suffered in Week 2. Neither has practiced all week. McDonald misses his second straight game, so backup Akeem Spence will start as he did in last week's win against Carolina.

The Bucs listed five players as questionable, but all fully participated in practice and should play Sunday: DT Gerald McCoy (calf), TE Luke Stocker (ankle), WR Cecil Shorts (ankle), C Joe Hawley (knee) and CB Jude Adjei-Barimah (knee).

As expected, the 49ers will be without top RB Carlos Hyde, ruled out with a shoulder injury suffered Friday. Their backups have had limited playing time this season.

NOT READY: As the Bucs seek help to offset the loss of veteran WR Vincent Jackson to a knee injury this week, they might need replacements for the replacements.

After the team's final practice Friday morning in Tampa, coach Dirk Koetter said second-year pro Donteea Dye, signed to the practice squad Monday and promoted to the active roster Wednesday, is not ready physically, suggesting he won't play Sunday.

"Not ready, that's what I'd say," Koetter said of Dye's progress this week. "And I don't mean any disrespect. I'd say he's not quite ready."

Dye was in position to make the roster in preseason, but hurt his hamstring and was waived-injured and missed about a month before he was healthy enough to work out for other teams. With Jackson on injured reserve, he could have given the Bucs another option in the passing game, since he's familiar with the offense from having played as a rookie last season. Koetter said Dye had some rust in his first few practices.

"He's familiar. He knows what he's doing," Koetter said. "He was rehabbing an injury while he was out. He wasn't just at home lying on his couch."

Presuming that Louis Murphy isn't ready to be activated after only one week of practice coming back from ACL surgery, the Bucs would have only four receivers if Dye isn't active — starters Mike Evans and Adam Humphries and backups Russell Shepard and Shorts. Shorts hasn't played in four weeks since injuring a hamstring in Week 2, but said he expects to play.

The Bucs could make a roster move and promote receiver Freddie Martino from the practice squad — they took the extra step of having him travel to San Francisco with the team as they make their final roster decisions. Promoting him would require them to open a spot on the 53-man roster. Martino was active for two games this season but did not catch any passes.

JUDE FINE: Koetter said CB Jude Adjei-Barimah, the primary nickel cornerback, was "fine" for Sunday's game after being limited in Thursday's practice by a knee injury. Adjei-Barimah practiced Friday, and with him healthy, the Bucs can keep rookie Vernon Hargreaves as a full-time outside cornerback.

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