TAMPA — Bucs LG Carl Nicks played through considerable pain during the past several weeks. But his toe injury got to the point where it was unsafe to put him on the field, coach Greg Schiano said Wednesday.
That's why Nicks, an All-Pro, landed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday as the plantar plate — near the ball of the left foot — is torn and needs surgery.
"You talk about a tough, dedicated guy. This guy played through a ton of pain, and it just got to the point where he couldn't play anymore," Schiano said. "There were some more tests done. Before that, it was painful. But now it's not safe, and we need to get it fixed."
Nicks' absence leaves a large void on the offensive line, which lost two-time Pro Bowl RG Davin Joseph to a season-ending knee injury in the preseason. Schiano said he plans to work with different combinations during the week to see how they'll replace Nicks. One option is moving the versatile Jeremy Zuttah from center to left guard and put recently benched RG Ted Larsen at center. The two took snaps at those positions in Wednesday's practice.
Either way, Schiano said they plan to stick with the game plan other than taking out plays specifically tailored to Nicks.
"You cannot sit there and … actually say that losing Carl is not going to hurt you. He's the best guard in the league," LT Donald Penn said. "We have to step up. The next person has to step up, whoever it's going to be. That's how I got my start. That's how a lot of people got their start in this league."
Said Schiano: "It's a tough loss. That's an understatement when you face a guy of Carl's stature and the ability that he brings to the field each week. But nobody is going to feel sorry for us. That's the game."
WRIGHT update: CB Eric Wright was still limited due to an Achilles injury. And while he's improving, his status for Sunday is uncertain, Schiano said. There has been no update on Fox Sports' Jay Glazer Sunday report that Wright is facing a four-game suspension for using Adderall.
TOUGH TASK: When the Bucs began breaking down film of the Raiders this week, one aspect caught their eye: the defensive front. That's where DTs Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly combine for a potent, physical combination.
"They're as big and powerful as you're going to see in this league," Schiano said. "The linebackers are playing at a high level. We're going to have to strap it up. It's going to be one of those physical games."
The talent up front got the attention of Penn, too.
"We have a hell of a Raiders team we have to play this week," he said. "Their front four is very, very good. We have to go out there and battle. It's going to be tough. Those two guys are real good, and they're playing some real good football this year. I think their front seven, including their linebackers, is the strength of their defense."
Roster move: CB Danny Gorrer was claimed off waivers from the Seahawks. Seattle signed him Sept. 18, but he did not appear in a game. Last season, he appeared in 11 games for the Ravens, recording five tackles and four passes defensed. The Bucs had an open roster spot after TE Danny Noble went on injured reserve Tuesday.