TAMPA — G Davin Joseph's right knee injury certainly looked ominous Friday night, with a cart coming onto the field to carry him off and teammates locking arms in prayer.
Hoping is all the Bucs can do. Although they gave no update, early indications were the injury could end the season of the two-time Pro Bowl player.
"Thanks for all the support, positive vibes and prayers," Joseph tweeted. "Overall, it could be worse. God has a plan. I'll be back ASAP."
Late in the second quarter, LT Donald Penn lost his leverage against a Patriots player and pushed him to prevent him from getting to QB Josh Freeman. But the player went right into Joseph's planted leg. Joseph immediately collapsed and grab his knee.
Penn was visibly upset after it happened, having to be calmed down by coach Greg Schiano.
"It really hurt," Penn said. "You see your best friend get hurt, and hurt very severe, and you're one of the reasons why it happened. I felt awful, very awful."
Joseph will have further examinations to determine the extent of the injury. The injury would be a blow to the Bucs, who built around their offensive line, the most experienced unit on the team.
Ted Larsen replaced Joseph. The Palm Harbor native has started 14 games over the past two seasons.
"Ted Larsen is going to step up, and Ted Larsen is going to play just as good as Davin or even better," Penn said. "Ted is ready for it."
More injuries: The defense also took a hit as DT Gerald McCoy (knee) and DE Adrian Clayborn (arm) left with injuries. But neither are considered serious, Schiano saying both will be fine. LB Mason Foster did not play, held out with a hamstring injury. LB Adam Hayward replaced him.
RUSHING IN: In what could be foreshadowing, the Bucs blitzed their linebackers several times and had some success. Hayward, Dekoda Watson and Lavonte David got hits on QB Tom Brady. Hayward sacked him in the second quarter.
Blitzing linebackers is new to the Bucs. But under new defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan, it appears they will be more prevalent.
"We like the change," Hayward said. "It's awesome."
CATCHING ON: TE Dallas Clark, who logged only a few series in the first two preseason games, played the entire first half. His only catch, a 12-yarder, came in the first quarter.
GOING LONG: Connor Barth made a career-long 56-yard field goal in the second quarter. But Kai Forbath had a good night as well, ripping a 51-yarder at the end of the first half and a 55-yarder during the third quarter.
SPEEDY SMITH: RB/KR Michael Smith had another good game in returns Friday, hoping to help his push to make the team via special teams. Smith, a seventh-round pick, returned the opening kickoff 40 yards. Smith had a 74-yard punt return in the first preseason game against Miami.
WR/KR Preston Parker, on the other hand, has struggled, fumbling and picking up a personal foul against the Dolphins. He muffed another punt (though recovered it) in the second quarter Friday.
IN AND OUT: TE Luke Stocker, who missed the first two preseason games due to the aftereffects of a concussion, saw his first action. He did not make a catch. … DT Gary Gibson, who has been limited this preseason due to an undisclosed injury, also played. … WR Jordan Shipley, claimed off waivers from the Bengals on Monday, made his debut, returning a punt 5 yards and catching one pass for 4 yards. … CB Leonard Johnson, a former Largo High standout, started the game as the third cornerback in the nickel package.
Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]