TAMPA — A minor surgical procedure on DT Gerald McCoy's left hand is a major concern for the Bucs.
McCoy, who has played through a shoulder injury most of the season, injured the hand in Sunday's loss to the Colts and needed a "small procedure" after the game, putting his status for Sunday's game against the Falcons in jeopardy.
"I had an injury first half of the game, got it looked out, kept playing, was necessary to keep playing," McCoy said Thursday. "I had it looked at after the game, had a small procedure and hopefully will be out there on Sunday."
McCoy injured the hand with 50 seconds left in the first half when he appeared to strike Colts RG Hugh Thornton in the face mask. He left the field immediately holding the hand but finished the game.
"We'll see how it plays out," coach Lovie Smith said. "He wasn't able to practice (Thursday). … Gerald eventually will be fine."
McCoy had his hands in the front pockets of his sweat shirt during a brief interview Thursday. He leads the team with seven sacks in 11 games, putting him on pace for 10 for the first time in his six-year career.
ALEXANDER to play: LB Kwon Alexander will play Sunday in what could be his final game of the season as he appeals his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Alexander is no stranger to playing with off-field issues on his mind. He had an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in a 23-20 overtime win at Atlanta on Nov. 1, two days after learning his teenage brother has been killed.
"There are enough things to deal with as a rookie as it is," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "And then you deal with some of the issues he's had to deal with, to come out and perform the way he's performed says a lot about him as a person.
He is a good football player, a good person, and he's playing well for us, very well."
Frazier wouldn't address the Bucs' plans if Alexander's suspension is upheld.
"It's one of those things we'll have to deal with when we get there," Frazier said. "Hopefully it's no time soon. (Alexander is) becoming an integral part of our defense. Like (it is) if we lose anybody else, it will be next man up."
WINSTON HONORED: After guiding the Bucs to three wins, QB Jameis Winston was named NFL offensive rookie of the month for November, the third time a Tampa Bay quarterback earned the honor.
Winston threw for 1,179 yards in November and seven touchdown passes, scored three more touchdowns rushing, and had only three interceptions. Winston has set the Bucs' rookie record for passing yards in a season (he has 2,650) and is on pace for the third most by a rookie in NFL history.
Shaun King (1999) and current backup Mike Glennon (2013) are the other Bucs quarterbacks to win the monthly rookie honor. Two other current Bucs have won league rookie honors before. RB Doug Martin was the top offensive rookie in October 2012, and LB Lavonte David was the top defensive rookie in November 2012.
Winston has also been honored as NFL rookie of the week a league-high three times this season.
BUCS INJURIES: DE Jacquies Smith (hamstring), DE George Johnson (calf), CB Mike Jenkins (quad) and LB Bruce Carter (concussion) did not practice. T Gosder Cherilus (knee), WR Vincent Jackson (knee), C Joe Hawley (neck) and TE Luke Stocker (back) were limited. G Ali Marpet (ankle) fully participated.