TAMPA — RB Charles Sims, the third-round pick from West Virginia, is scheduled for surgery today on his injured right ankle and will miss 12-14 weeks, the team announced Friday.
"Charles was unfortunate with his ankle injury but that happens," coach Lovie Smith said Thursday.
If the recovery and rehabilitation schedule is correct, Sims could come back as soon as Week 13, when the Bucs host the Bengals on Nov. 30, or as late as Week 15, when they visit Carolina on Dec. 14. Any setbacks and he likely would miss the season.
Sims was injured in practice Tuesday. He was wearing a protective boot on his right leg during practice Thursday. In last week's 16-10 loss at Jacksonville in the preseason opener, Sims rushed six times for 13 yards and caught three passes for 32 yards.
Sims seemed like a luxury pick in May's draft. The Bucs had RBs Doug Martin, Mike James and Bobby Rainey, all of whom rushed for at least 500 yards last season.
Martin, who is the starter, played in only six games in 2013 and was lost for the season after tearing the labrum in his left shoulder against Atlanta. James suffered a season-ending fractured ankle in Week 10 against the Dolphins. Rainey, claimed off waivers from the Browns, led the team in rushing.
At 6 feet, 211 pounds, Sims gave the Bucs a bigger body in the backfield and has receiving skills that could be a huge asset. He started 39 of 48 games he appeared in during his collegiate career, carrying 592 times for 3,465 yards and 40 touchdowns, and catching 203 passes for 2,108 yards and 11 touchdowns.
OPEN MIKE: First-round pick Mike Evans didn't catch a pass in the preseason opener. But Smith is pleased with the receiver's training camp. "I think he had a typical rookie game. He did some good things. He showed flashes," the coach said. "Elevating as camp went along. He's a lot better right now and he should be. He knows the offense a lot more. He knows what a NFL training camp is about. He's gotten up in front of the group and I know a little bit about the Texas A&M fight song now, so we've gone over that routine. … He's everything we thought he would be."
HOPING FOR BETTER: The starters will play into the second quarter tonight, Smith said. The players did a little more work off cards familiarizing themselves with the Dolphins offensive and defensive schemes. "The process doesn't stop you from playing good football or looking good for our fans," Smith said. "We wanted to do that last week and we wanted to do that this week. It's not like we're handcuffing our players or anything like that."