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)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Jeff Faine to miss four to six weeks with thigh injury

Center Jeff Faine, above, is likely to be out 4-6 weeks, but quarterback Josh Freeman is making some line calls now.


Center Jeff Faine, above, is likely to be out 4-6 weeks, but quarterback Josh Freeman is making some line calls now.

TAMPA — The next time C Jeff Faine lines up for the Bucs, you might already have started your holiday shopping.

Faine, the offensive line's stabilizing force, said he could miss anywhere from four to six weeks with a pulled quadriceps muscle. If his worst-case scenario of missing six weeks comes to fruition, Faine would return Thanksgiving weekend, when the Bucs travel to Baltimore on Nov. 28.

Faine, who was injured Sunday at Cincinnati, said the injury won't require surgery, but it needs significant time to heal.

It's a setback for the offense but also a personal one for a veteran who missed four games early last season with a triceps injury.

"I definitely want to be involved and be a part of this," Faine said. "It's getting right in the thick of things, in the meat of the schedule where we're playing a lot of divisional opponents, the games you love to play. I especially love to play this game (against the Saints). It's tough to go sit on the sidelines, but I'll just contribute as much as I can."

Jeremy Zuttah, a backup guard and part-time center, will take over for Faine in his first extensive action at center. Given the number of blitz-heavy teams the Bucs have faced, the role of the center in reading the defense and adjusting blocking assignments when necessary has been vital.

Asked if center was his natural position, Zuttah laughed and said, "It'll be my most natural position for the next couple of weeks."

One positive is that QB Josh Freeman, now in his second NFL season, is better prepared to handle the presnap offensive line calls. That was an area in which Faine played a bigger role last season because of Freeman's inexperience. Now, it's no longer essential.

"It's a huge asset for Josh to be where he is now and for him to have the mental grasp of the game that he does," Faine said.

Said Zuttah: "Faine is a guy who has played center for so long a lot of times you lean on him. … But it's mostly in the quarterback's hands and the adjustments come from the center."

NEW PUNTER: After releasing P Chris Bryan on Tuesday, the Bucs signed Robert Malone to replace him. Malone joined the Jaguars this year as an undrafted free agent from Fresno State, where he was the first-team All-Western Athletic Conference punter, averaging 45.2 yards and placing 17 punts inside opponents' 20-yard line.

Bryan ranked last among full-time punters, averaging 37.4 yards, and shanked several punts at inopportune moments.

FREEMAN HONORED: Freeman was named NFC offensive player of the week after recording a fourth-quarter comeback victory for the fourth time in his six wins as a starter. The Bucs scored 10 points in the final 86 seconds of the 24-21 win against Cincinnati, Freeman throwing for a career-high 280 yards.

The 22-year-old becomes the youngest Buccaneer since Jacquez Green in 1998 to win a player of the week honor.

"It's pretty cool," Freeman said of the honor. "But we've got to continue to work. It's an award that, really, the whole offense earned. We had a lot of guys make a lot of plays. The (offensive) line did a great job with the blitzes they were throwing at us and allowed us to really get it done."

MORE SABBY? Backup S Sabby Piscitelli, who came off the bench for injured starter Sean Jones and recorded an interception that set up the winning field goal Sunday, might have a bigger role going forward.

Coach Raheem Morris said he planned to use Piscitelli in a rotation even before the injury required him to enter the game. Jones, who was experiencing back spasms, said he expects to play this week against the Saints.

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at

Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Jeff Faine to miss four to six weeks with thigh injury 10/13/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 9:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  2. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.
  3. RHP Alex Cobb feeling safer as Rays make playoff push

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the fourth inning of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
  4. HomeTeam 100: Players 61-70


    Jefferson wide receiver Dontavius Smith during the game between Jefferson High School and Jesuit High School at Jesuit on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
  5. A second chance at life, away from the game he loved

    The Heater

    Dylan Delso, a catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays' Gulf Coast League team, displays his scar at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. On June 25, 2016 Delso fell backward down a flight of stairs, suffering a nearly fatal head injury that put him in a coma for eight days. He's finally back on the baseball field after a miraculous recovery.