TAMPA — As Bucs guard Davin Joseph lay on the turf, clutching his right knee Friday, teammates turned their heads away and trainers waved a cart onto the field. It didn't look good.
Saturday, the team confirmed the worst.
Joseph will have season-ending surgery for a torn patellar tendon Monday.
Joseph was hurt late in the first half of the 30-28 win over the Patriots when a player was blocked by tackle Donald Penn and fell into the leg of the two-time Pro Bowl pick.
"It's big, but it's part of what we do. You mourn, and you move on," Bucs coach Greg Schiano said Saturday. "We've got to fix our sights on how are we going to move forward."
Joseph was unavailable for comment. But late Friday, he tweeted, "Thanks for all of the support, positive vibes, and prayers. Overall, it could be worse. God has a plan. I'll be back ASAP."
Ted Larsen, the third-year pro from Palm Harbor University High and sixth-round pick of the Patriots in 2010, replaced Joseph on Friday. Larsen started the Bucs' final 11 games of 2010 at guard and made three starts there a year ago.
But Schiano said the Bucs will look at other players to find the best five offensive linemen. Tampa Bay also likes guard Derek Hardman, who has appeared in 12 games (two starts in 2010) over his two seasons with the organization.
"You look, and Larsen has played there. So that's one guy," Schiano said. "There are other guys that have played there. We're going to mess around with a few things and quickly come to a pecking order. And it may be one of those deals like (Demar) Dotson and (Jeremy) Trueblood … taking turns (at right tackle). There may be two guys taking shots at it right now.
"I think we have the answer internally. That's why we've been trying to build depth at all positions."
The Bucs had been looking forward to pairing Joseph, 28, a first-round pick in 2006, with Saints Pro Bowl free agent Carl Nicks. Schiano said it was just one of those unfortunate things that happen in football.
"The (Patriot) did an inside move. Penn recovered, and his man went down and fell in the back of Davin," Schiano said. "It's one of those wrong place things.
"It's part of the deal. Everything moves on, and when the guys get healthy, they come back. But nobody cares. Your opponents don't care. You (reporters) don't care, right? I mean, we're here to win."
The Bucs finish the preseason Wednesday at Washington. Many starters are not expected to play. But Schiano said the Bucs hope to settle on Joseph's replacement quickly to give him time to prepare for the season opener against Carolina on Sept. 9.
"That's the way the game is; next up," Schiano said. "Let's get them up and figure out who next is. And some of that has to be competed for. I don't think it's a slam dunk whoever it is. So there will be some discussion, and we'll move on."
Rick Stroud can be reached at email@example.com and can be heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-AM 620.