Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Carl Nicks eagerly anticipates return to Bucs

Foot surgery, followed by another operation due to a recurrence of MRSA, has forced Bucs guard Carl Nicks to play spectator in the team’s first minicamp this week under coach Lovie Smith. 

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Foot surgery, followed by another operation due to a recurrence of MRSA, has forced Bucs guard Carl Nicks to play spectator in the team’s first minicamp this week under coach Lovie Smith. 

TAMPA — Carl Nicks says he has pain and nerve damage in his left foot, something the Bucs guard believes he may have to live with for the rest of the life.

After signing a five-year, $47.5 million contract two years ago, Nicks has only played in nine games. Foot surgery, followed by another operation due to a recurrence of MRSA, has left him unable to participate in the team's first minicamp this week under coach Lovie Smith.

Now he suffers from a new malady — he can't stop itching to play.

"I got the chicken pox when it comes to that," Nicks said. "I've been scratching a long time. Now I'm itching (to play). I don't want to force it, I don't want to rush it. When I come back, I want to play a lot more than two games."

Nicks, 28, says he has been limited to light jogging and typical rehab drills. He said his goal is to be ready for the start of training camp this summer. And Nicks admitted he may never be 100 percent.

"Lovie told me the other day my 80 percent is still pretty good," Nicks said. "If I'm not 100 percent, hopefully I can hit 99 percent, or 99.9. I'd be happy with that.

"I don't know about percentage. I've never been that guy. But obviously, I'm not ready to practice right now. But I feel comfortable saying I'll be back for training camp. That's the plan. Me personally I think I can, so we'll see."

After practice Tuesday, in which Nicks took mental reps, Smith warned of the long road ahead but said a return by training camp is realistic.

"I think it's definitely a realistic goal," Smith said. "We'd like to think that until somebody tells me otherwise. He's been good. He has a ways to go, but it's good for Carl to get back into the mix with the rest of the group. Early on there's a lot of mental work for all of our players."

Nicks says he still has trouble with pushing off on his left foot and has a good deal of pain due to nerve damage. He says it's not clear which surgery caused the nerve problems.

"My big thing is range of motion and flexibility and being able to push off it," Nicks said. "I can still squat and lunge, do all those things. It's just the quick stuff, the power cleans, the quick agility stuff, pushing off and getting banged back. Those kinds of things I still struggle with.

"There's some nerve damage, so there's going to be pain, from what I'm told, for the rest of my life."

Because of the uncertainty of Nicks' health, the Bucs will have to address their offensive line in the draft. Nicks' $7 million salary for 2014 is guaranteed and he counts more than $9 million against the salary cap, so the team has to give him every chance to recover.

In the meantime, the Bucs are using Oniel Cousins, Patrick Omameh, Jason Foster and Jamon Meredith at guard during minicamp. At No. 7 overall, the Bucs could decide to take a tackle, such as Texas A&M's Jake Matthews or Notre Dame's Zack Martin and move him to guard for a season or two.

"The main thing is the mental reps," Nicks said. "I know how to play football, I know how to block, how to pass block. I just don't know the plays.

"The true answer is when I actually get out there and play. Then you guys can tell how rusty I look or how good I'm doing."

>>

2014 schedules

The National Football League is scheduled to unveil 2014 schedules on ESPN2 and the NFL Network tonight starting at 8.

Carl Nicks eagerly anticipates return to Bucs 04/22/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Souza not in lineup vs. Rangers

    Blogs

     

  2. Remember that famous Fred McGriff TV commercial? He's back, in a parody

    Blogs

    If you've ever seen Fred McGriff's TV commerical for Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills video it will always be fresh in your mind, with the deadpan delivery and famously ill-fitting cap.

  3. Fennelly: Is Charlie Strong the anti-Freeze?

    College

    The Hugh Sleaze era at Ole Mess is over.

    Hugh Freeze resigned as head football coach Thursday to avoid being fired by Mississippi school officials. For those of you who had NCAA violations and investigations in the pool, you were wrong. Nor was it the defamation lawsuit filed against the school by former Rebels …

    FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2016, file photo, Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze pauses during a timeout in the team's NCAA college football game against Florida State in Orlando, Fla. Freeze has resigned after five seasons, bringing a stunning end to a once-promising tenure. The school confirmed Freeze's resignation in a release Thursday night. Assistant Matt Luke has been named the interim coach. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) NY176
  4. Rowdies part of a record-setting season for USL attendance

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — Although Rowdies fans haven't had many recent opportunities to show out at Al Lang, the United Soccer League turnstiles keep turning at a record rate.

    A Rowdies fan waves flags ahead of the first half of the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and Orlando City B at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, March 25, 2017.
  5. 'Deadliest Catch' captain talks reality TV, Snoop Dogg and Tampa Bay

    Outdoors

    Keith Colburn is best known as captain of the Wizard on the Discovery Network series Deadliest Catch. Colburn and crew go to battle in the Bering Sea working one of the deadliest jobs in America. A seasoned veteran, Keith has filmed 11 seasons of the show and is still going strong with his relief captain …

    Captain Keith Colburn is seen in this undated photo courtesy of the Discovery Channel. Courtesy of the Discovery Channel