Tampa Bay Buccaneers' nicked up defensive front may be without Jovan Haye against Panthers

Chris Hovan will likely see some different faces rotated in along the Bucs defensive line against the Panthers.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Chris Hovan will likely see some different faces rotated in along the Bucs defensive line against the Panthers.

TAMPA — Starting DT Jovan Haye is listed as doubtful for Monday night's game at Carolina.

In fact, Chris Hovan is the only healthy defensive lineman entering the important showdown between 9-3 teams that could decide the NFC South title.

Haye, who injured his knee Sunday against the Saints, did not practice again Friday. He was not alone. DE Gaines Adams, who has a hip pointer, was limited and listed as questionable. DE Kevin Carter has an illness and also is questionable.

Ryan Sims likely will start for Haye, and second-year DT Greg Peterson will be in the rotation.

Sims had a season-high five tackles and a pass defensed in the Bucs' 23-20 win Sunday.

"I'm comfortable with him," coach Jon Gruden said of Sims. "Obviously, we would miss Jovan because he's played a lot. But Sims is a very good player, and we'll have to lean on him."

Gruden said he did not know the status of Haye's injury.

"You try not to speculate," he said. "We hope to have him back, if not this week, the following week. But it could linger on."

WR Michael Clayton (knee) had full participation in practice but was listed as questionable.

OUTFOXED? Gruden and Carolina coach John Fox belong to a mutual admiration society. They share the same agents, and both have won more than 100 games.

The coaches also have similar philosophies: big, physical offensive linemen paving the way for the running game, and a suffocating defense.

"He's a good friend, he's a guy I've got a lot of respect for professionally," Gruden said. "I've gone against him. When I was in Philly, he was with the Giants. … I know how they go about their business. All you've got to do is turn on their third-and-1 reel and say, 'Holy cow, they take the game serious.'

"I look forward to these games to compete, obviously, with him. I consider him great, and we're going to have to be on our game."

QUOTE OF THE DAY: From Gruden, on the speculation that defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin may join his son Lane at Tennessee. "I'm getting a lot of hate mail from Gators fans, so I'm not going to say another word about it. I deal with that at the end of the season."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' nicked up defensive front may be without Jovan Haye against Panthers 12/05/08 [Last modified: Friday, December 5, 2008 8:49pm]

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