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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Banged-up RB Dunn expects to be ready for Cowboys

Running back Warrick Dunn, trying to pull away from Seahawks linebacker D.D. Lewis in the Bucs’ victory Sunday, has been limited in practice this week because of a sprained ankle and stiff neck.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Running back Warrick Dunn, trying to pull away from Seahawks linebacker D.D. Lewis in the Bucs’ victory Sunday, has been limited in practice this week because of a sprained ankle and stiff neck.

TAMPA — RB Warrick Dunn went to bed early Monday with a sprained ankle and a stiff neck after the Bucs' win over the Seahawks.

He has not participated in a full practice this week and was limited Thursday. But Dunn, 33, sounded optimistic about recovering in time to face the Cowboys on Sunday.

"I think people are kind of surprised I'm moving around, I can turn my neck and different things," Dunn said. "I'm all right. I'm good.

"I turned my ankle in the first quarter and in the third quarter; I hit my head a little bit. I think that night I really felt the effects when I got home from my hits. So it was one of those games where I took a couple shots. But if I have some days off, I'm good."

With FB B.J. Askew (hamstring strain) out and FB Byron Storer (knee) on injured reserve, RB Earnest Graham has been asked to play more fullback, thus increasing the workload for Dunn, who has rushed 35 times in the past two games, including a 115-yard performance against the Panthers.

"You know what? You want that," Dunn said of the workload. "I want that. … We all get nicked up. It's all part of football. I've played long enough. I can handle it."

Coach Jon Gruden said the mounting injuries to running backs could become a factor.

"We're limited. We might be in trouble," Gruden said. "Trouble might not be a good word, but we might have to use a different form of attack."

Caddy plans: RB Cadillac Williams ran the scout squad offense and impersonated Cowboys RB Marion Barber on Thursday.

Williams will receive contact next week to prepare to return to the active roster. He returned to practice this week for the first time since rupturing the patellar tendon in his right knee in September 2007.

"He did good," Gruden said. "He ran with some authority in the hole.

"We will honestly next week have a couple of our young players, practice squad players, put pads on. And we will have some live physical hits in the hole. Blitz pickups, things of that nature. We won't physically take him to the ground, but we will try to simulate some things that do happen as a running back … that will be the next step of our program."

Bucs bits: Joey Galloway, Graham, Michael Bennett, Micheal Spurlock and practice squad player Clifton Smith are competing with rookie Dexter Jackson as kick returner. Gruden is interested in replacing Jackson, who has struggled.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Banged-up RB Dunn expects to be ready for Cowboys 10/23/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 24, 2008 6:11pm]
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