The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' injury list is daunting, with running back LeGarrette Blount (knee), defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (ankle) and linebacker Mason Foster (ankle) not practicing again Thursday.
Foster, the rookie third round pick from Washington who leads the Bucs in tackles, took some mental reps during practice at Tropicana Field Thursday, according to coach Raheem Morris, and has the best chance of playing among the three against the Saints.
If Foster is unable to go, the middle linebacker duties will be split between Adam Hayward and Quincy Black, who would move over from his strong side position on passing downs. Black, who did not play last week at San Francisco due to an ankle sprain, had full participation in practice Thursday.
"Mason looked a little bit better...we'll see where he is tomorrow,'' Morris said. "It's hard to say with do you think he'll play stuff. I don't play that game. I just get the next guy ready. He's out there on a limited basis. He's out there at (middle linebacker)…getting the mental reps.
"Adam Hayward is our backup (middle linebacker) right now so he's been out there doing some things. We've still got Quincy who can back up and do some nickel (middle linebacker) things as well. We've got all these guys ready to go with hopes Mason (will play).''
Tight end Luke Stocker (knee) and WR Sammie Stroughter also did not practice Thursday and are expected to be out against the Saints. Linebacker Zac Diles, who did not play last week due to a hamstring injury, was limited in practice Thursday along with tackle James Lee. Cornerback Aqib Talib (knee) practiced again Thursday.