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)

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.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

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

Loading...
  1. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity

    Bucs

    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.
  2. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says players who kneel have team's support

    Sports

    TAMPA — Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the only Bucs players kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Vikings, but DT Gerald McCoy said the team supports their protest "100 percent."

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate pulls in a touchdown catch as Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (34) hits him in the back of the head.
  3. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Luke Del Rio regains UF starting job, for now

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Luke Del Rio is once again the starting quarterback for No. 21 Florida.

    Luke Del Rio provided a needed spark when he replaced starter Feleipe Franks and rallied Florida past Kentucky.
  5. Four questions the Lightning still has to answer

    Lightning Strikes

    FORT LAUDERDALE — The Lightning made its biggest round of cuts Monday, with some of the big-name prospects heading out.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) looks on from the bench during a shift change at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17). In background on right is Nikita Kucherov (86). DIRK SHADD   |   Times