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Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Gerald McCoy, Luke Stocker and Sammie Stroughter return to practice

BAGSHOT, England — Maybe it's the refreshing chill in the England air, but the Bucs are getting healthier and could have several players back for Sunday's game against the Bears.

DT Gerald McCoy, who did not play last week because of a high ankle sprain, was heavily taped but showed good movement in practice Wednesday. TE Luke Stocker, who missed last week's game with a knee sprain, and WR Sammie Stroughter, who has not played since suffering a foot fracture in the season opener, also returned to practice.

However, C Jeff Faine has a biceps pull and did not practice. Nor did RB LeGarrette Blount, who is expected to be questionable with a knee sprain.

LB Mason Foster, who played last week despite an ankle sprain, did not practice, and DE Michael Bennett was out with a groin strain.

"The team that stays healthy is the team that usually wins, other than the Green Bay Packers last year," coach Raheem Morris said. "But we had a chance to get some players back. … To have (McCoy) with a chance to get him back is exciting for us."

KICK TO HESTER? Bears QB Jay Cutler enjoys nothing more than watching the fallout from one of Devin Hester's kick- or punt-return touchdowns that can demoralize an opponent.

"On our sideline, the biggest thing when special teams is out there is whether they're going to kick it to him or not," Cutler said on a conference call. "Because, if they do, there's a strong chance it could possibly get returned for a touchdown.

"Whenever (he scores), it's so dramatic. It's such a kill shot for the other team. It takes the life out of them. He's come so far as a receiver and his ability to be able to do both is phenomenal."

Hester struck again Sunday when he returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown against the Vikings. The feat increased his NFL record to 16 career return touchdowns, a mark he has set in just 82 games. The closest active player on the list, the Browns' Josh Cribbs, is fifth with 10 touchdowns in 96 games.

The Bucs on Sunday could opt not to kick to Hester. Morris suggested as much Wednesday, saying they would consider directional kicking by punter and kickoff specialist Michael Koenen.

But Bears coach Lovie Smith said teams, somewhat surprisingly, have been kicking at Hester, which is fine with him.

"In the time that Devin has been here, we've seen it all," Smith said. "Once a player gets hot and starts returning a lot, often the next approach is to kick it away from him. That's been a common thing we've seen in games.

"But this year, teams have kicked the ball off to him quite a bit. He's our kickoff returner and our punt returner, so he's getting a few opportunities. Right now, teams are kicking it off and saying they're just going to cover. We hope teams continue to do that."

SNAPPER'S COMEBACK: LS Andrew Economos tore his Achilles' tendon just before the start of training camp. But his season might not be over. Economos returned to practice Wednesday at the team's facility outside London.

GM Mark Dominik says the Bucs have 21 days to activate Economos and expect to do so.

Time staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Gerald McCoy, Luke Stocker and Sammie Stroughter return to practice 10/19/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 10:29pm]

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