Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs LT Donovan Smith returns to practice

Left tackle Donovan Smith practices after sitting out Wednesday with a hip injury.


Left tackle Donovan Smith practices after sitting out Wednesday with a hip injury.

TAMPA — Starting LT Donovan Smith, held out of practice Wednesday with a hip injury, was back Thursday, a good sign he will be able to play in the Bucs' home opener Sunday against the Rams.

Smith hasn't missed a snap in his first 18 NFL games, and his presence is a big part of the offensive line, which faces a tough Rams front four that includes Pro Bowl DT Aaron Donald and end Robert Quinn, who is three years removed from a 19-sack season.

"Of course, you want your best players on the field," said coach Dirk Koetter, declining to provide specifics on injuries beyond what's required on the injury report.

Four Bucs injured in Sunday's loss at Arizona — RB Doug Martin (hamstring), DE Robert Ayers (ankle), TE Luke Stocker (ankle) and WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) — were again not at practice during the window open to the media, suggesting they will be inactive Sunday.

Rookie LB Devante Bond, who was a full participant in Wednesday's practice, did not practice Thursday, which likely means the hamstring injury that has sidelined him for four weeks might again be a problem. The team has only five linebackers on the roster, so if Bond can't play Sunday, it might need to promote Cameron Lynch from the practice squad for depth.

BACK HOME: The NFL is back in Los Angeles after 22 years, and as the Rams come to Tampa, it's a new world for Bucs players who grew up in Los Angeles rooting for the Lakers and Dodgers and little else.

"It's really cool, and I hope it lasts. I think it will," said S Chris Conte, born and raised in the Santa Monica/Malibu area. "Hopefully it will. Whenever there's something new in L.A., everybody starts to buzz, but give it a week or two, it dies down pretty quickly. There's something (else) new going on."

Conte and backup QB Ryan Griffin were teammates at Loyola High in Los Angeles and at one point went up against Bucs C Joe Hawley in a state playoff game when he played at Esperanza High in Anaheim.

THIS AND THAT: Defensive coordinator Mike Smith had praise for undrafted rookie DL DaVonte Lambert, who played 29 snaps in his NFL debut Sunday against the Cardinals, stepping in for injured Jacquies Smith. "He understands what his job is," Smith said. "He's a guy that is going to have to play significant snaps for us." … The Bucs have been conservative in bringing kickoffs out of the end zone, seeing other teams struggle to get the same return they get from a touchback. "Taking it out on the 25, from an offensive standpoint, is kind of a juicy thought," Koetter said. … DT Gerald McCoy said Rams WR Tavon Austin, who had two touchdowns in last year's win against the Bucs, is "unhumanly fast." The Bucs will have to watch for him on quick screens and jet sweeps, in addition to the passing game.

Contact Greg Auman at and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Bucs LT Donovan Smith returns to practice 09/22/16 [Last modified: Thursday, September 22, 2016 10:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Strange case: Bucs could face nemesis Case Keenum again


    Who, you might wonder, will be the first NFL quarterback to beat Jameis Winston three times?

    Case Keenum of the Minnesota Vikings drops back to pass in the first half Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. [Getty Images]
  2. USF men's basketball gets off lightly with NCAA


    Former USF men's basketball coach Orlando Antigua, center, with former assistants Oliver Antigua, left, and Rod Strickland during a game at the Sun Dome on Nov. 9, 2015. (Octavio Jones, Times)
  3. Adam Foote, left, said there have been a few eye-opening moments in his first NHL training camp, but is feeling more comfortable every day.
  4. Toledo feels like a second season opener for Miami Hurricanes


    LAKE BUENA VISTA - The schedule says Week 4, but it sure doesn't feel that way for the No. 14 Miami Hurricanes.

    The Miami Hurricanes suit up for practice Tuesday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex
  5. HomeTeam 25: Volleyball rankings for Tampa Bay

    Volleyball Preps

    1. Plant (2-0)

    TAMPA - Berkeley Prep senior Isabella Samson looks for an opening against Walton High from Georgia during the championship final on Saturday at the Berkeley Premier tournament. Walton, ranked No. 1 in the country by, went on to defeat the Bucs 25-16, 25-18. Taken 9-16-17 by Scott Purks