Saturday, November 25, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' Hillis has only minor knee injury

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TAMPA — Bucs RB Peyton Hillis faces significant obstacles in his bid to revive his career. The last thing he needs is the left knee injury he suffered in Thursday's preseason opener.

But Friday, the news was positive, his agent saying the 1,200-yard rusher for the Browns in 2010 had only a hyperextension against the Ravens and will return quickly.

"He should be fine soon," Marc Lillibridge said.

That's good news for Hillis considering the odds he faces. He's listed as the fourth-stringer, behind Doug Martin, Brian Leonard and rookie Mike James. He rushed four times for 13 yards Thursday after seeing only limited action with the first and second teams during practices.

More injuries: WR Chris Owusu injured his ankle Thursday, but coach Greg Schiano said the severity remained unclear. And CB Danny Gorrer aggravated a groin injury but said he expects to play next week at New England.

FIRST TIME OUT: The team was thrilled with the play of rookie CB Johnthan Banks against the Ravens. But another rookie also got off to a solid start.

NT Akeem Spence started and played the entire first half, limiting his miscues and providing a nice building block for the remainder of the preseason.

"I just got into the rhythm and started playing football," said Spence, a fourth-round pick out of Illinois who finished with one tackle.

"I really tried to make sure I wasn't aligned offside because that's what I've been having trouble with in practice. I just didn't want to have any of those irresponsible calls. Other than that, I just went out there and tried to get my hands on the center. Really, I was just out there having fun."

With Derek Landri and Gary Gibson nursing injuries, Spence has been largely unchallenged at nose tackle, where he's expected to start.

LONG NIGHT: If it seems like Schiano is riding DE Da'Quan Bowers, it's because he is. While most veterans were done for the night early in the first quarter, Bowers played the entire first half. The team wants to see him make more progress in his effort to become a starter for the first time. Schiano said the results were mixed.

"Some good, some not so good," he said. "We're going to get there. He's going to get there.

"We're just going to (get) a little more good, a little less not so good and just keep tipping the scale the way we want it. It's just going to take a little time."

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected]

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