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Tampa Bay Buccaneers nose tackle Brian Price says he's not 100 percent healthy

hobbled: Bucs corner Myron Lewis, bottom left, tackling the Redskins’ Niles Paul with safety Larry Asante, remains limited with an ankle injury and likely won’t play Sunday.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

hobbled: Bucs corner Myron Lewis, bottom left, tackling the Redskins’ Niles Paul with safety Larry Asante, remains limited with an ankle injury and likely won’t play Sunday.

TAMPA — NT Brian Price said every Bucs defensive lineman considers himself a starter.

And coach Raheem Morris rotates several players during games. But with Price tabbed to make his first start Sunday against the Vikings, the touted 2010 second-round pick is excited for the opportunity, knowing he will have even more to give when he gets completely healthy.

Last season, Price had surgery to reattach both hamstrings to his pelvis.

"I'm nowhere near 100 percent," he said. "Personally, I'm probably 60, 65 percent. So wait until I get to 100 percent. That's what I tell myself. And I keep going out there, fighting every day just to be great. And I have a long way to go and big shoes to fill."

Morris was pleased with Price's performance in Sunday's 27-20 loss to the Lions, noting how he was probably the healthiest he has been as a Buc, and it showed in his disruption and quickness up front.

That led Price to emerge as "the dominant guy last week at that position," Morris said, over Roy Miller and Frank Okam, two players the coach said needed to show him more.

Miller missed most of the preseason with a left MCL sprain.

"I just think Brian deserves it," Miller said. "I could do better from last week coming off all those weeks off and stuff. I could have a better game and am looking forward to it. I'm just excited. It's like I'm a prisoner scratching off each day of the calendar. I've got a lot to get off my chest."

MEDICAL MATTERS: With CB Myron Lewis (ankle) still not at full participation in practice, it's unlikely he'll play Sunday. But after Lewis went through a limited workout Thursday, Morris said he's encouraged he will be back soon.

For Lewis, who has been hampered by injuries since getting drafted in the third round in 2010, it has been a frustrating experience. He said he won't be back until he's 100 percent because, "you never want to go out there and put any bad film out there."

"College and high school, I was never hurt," he said. "And then one little nick turned into a few nicks. It's nothing serious, but just the missed time is kind of frustrating."

TROP TALK: The team practiced Thursday morning under the roof at Tropicana Field, something they did often last season to beat the heat.

And considering the Bucs went 10-6, they didn't want to change too much from a routine of working out at a place where the Rays have won two of the past three American League East titles under manager Joe Maddon.

"Went over there to steal some of that Coach Maddon Glow," Morris said. "Went and sat in his seat, rubbed around a little bit, rolled in that dust."

The reason was twofold this week with Tampa Bay preparing to play in a dome. The players got used to the lights and turf while practicing in pads.

Though some players, including QB Josh Freeman, cramped up due to the heat Sunday, Morris said he believes they handled the weather well.

"I thought we actually got stronger throughout the game," he said. "We just started to come on, and I put them in an adverse situation going into the two-minute (offense). They responded. They scored and gave us a chance to win. I thought we got better, thought we got stronger and stronger, and thought we were getting stronger at the end when they were starting to get weaker.

"(The Lions) won the game, so obviously, we didn't get strong enough. But from a conditioning standpoint, I felt good about where we were."

QUOTABLE: Morris on the need for defensive backs to help in run support against Vikings RB Adrian Peterson: "When you're talking about a great back like Adrian Peterson, you're talking about tackling as a unit. You're talking about gang tackling. We have to get a bunch of hats to the ball and rally to the football on every snap."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers nose tackle Brian Price says he's not 100 percent healthy 09/15/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 15, 2011 9:28pm]
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