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)

Injuries on defense could be issue for Bucs

Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) makes an adjustment in the first quarter of the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tennessee Titans in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) makes an adjustment in the first quarter of the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tennessee Titans in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.

TAMPA — Bucs fans have reason to be nervous about the prospect of their team missing its top three play-makers on defense Sunday against the Saints.

Already trying to cope with the suspension of LB Kwon Alexander, the Bucs are dealing with an even larger potential problem as weakside LB Lavonte David did not practice Thursday due to an ankle sprain and DT Gerald McCoy was limited with a left hand injury.

Coach Lovie Smith said it's too early to draw any conclusions about the status of David and McCoy.

"I would be concerned if my favorite players aren't practicing and if they have been here long enough, they know I'm going to wait until Sunday to kind of see who plays," Smith said. "If a guy is practicing on a limited basis, I'm still pretty pumped up about it. Unless someone has been ruled out — which no one has been — if I'm a fan I'm pretty excited about this Sunday and can't wait to get there."

With Alexander and David out Thursday, the team had Danny Lansanah — set to step in at middle linebacker — working in David's place at weakside linebacker, with Bruce Carter (who missed Sunday with a concussion) practicing at middle linebacker. Orie Lemon, re-signed Wednesday for depth, worked as the strongside linebacker during drills.

The only other player sidelined was DE Jacquies Smith, who likely will miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury.

Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier sounded less optimistic about McCoy's chances to play Sunday.

"If he's able to get out there, that would be a big plus for us, obviously," Frazier said. "And we'll see how he does, if he's able to practice with us (today). But he's going to have a big cast on his hand either way. Just having Gerald out there is a big deal for us. It's still tough to single block him if he's able to play."

McCoy injured his hand at the end of the first half of a 25-12 loss at Indianapolis on Nov. 29. The next day he had what the team described as a "minor procedure" and did not play in Sunday's 23-19 win over Atlanta.

McCoy and Smith have combined for 13 of the defense's 29 sacks this season. McCoy said he would have no problem wearing a cast on his hand in the game.

"Just day to day. We'll see what happens," he said. "I mean, if they'll allow me to play, I want to be out there. But I wanted to play last week and that didn't happen.

"I played like that last year. Football is football. It's crunch time and you've got to go. There's no excuses. If I'm out there, let's go."

NEAR SELLOUT: With fans likely energized by the home win last week, the Bucs are nearing a sellout for Sunday against the Saints at Raymond James Stadium. A limited amount of tickets remain. "We feel like our fans have been super throughout," Lovie Smith said. "I think if there's a bad product on the field, who wants to come and watch a bad product on the football field? … We know in order for us to really make a push we need our fans with us. Raymond James Stadium, we need to have a homefield advantage. At the end of the game this past week, when we really needed it the most, we heard them. We're excited that there's excitement about our football team, and we are going to have a big crowd this week. I believe we will."

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.

Injuries on defense could be issue for Bucs 12/10/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 10, 2015 9:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help


    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  2. Bucs journal: Few complaints about Jameis Winston's play


    TAMPA — It wasn't enough to pull out a win Sunday at Buffalo, but a week removed from a shoulder sprain, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's No. 2 pass defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) signs autographs for fans before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  3. Lightning's Jon Cooper uses unusual tactic to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and … who else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  4. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  5. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans


    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.