TAMPA — Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia is in jeopardy of missing Sunday's game at Atlanta after suffering a calf injury in practice this week.
Backup Luke McCown took first-team practice reps for the second straight day Thursday. And coach Jon Gruden amended Wednesday's comment, indicating the injury was to Garcia's right calf, the same one that sidelined him for most of the preseason. But, Gruden said, "It's not the same part of the calf."
If Garcia, 38, can't practice today, the chances of him playing Sunday are greatly reduced. But Gruden left open the possibility that some of the team's injured — including defensive tackles Chris Hovan (knee) and Jovan Haye (knee) — could play without practicing.
"I see that as a possibility," he said. "We'll do the best we can to do what's right. We'll talk to the player that's injured, talk to the training staff, the people that are experienced and educated enough to make these calls. Obviously you need your best players to win at this time of year."
McCown, 27, would likely start if Garcia cannot play. And Brian Griese, recovering from an elbow injury for much of the past two months, is close to a return and might practice today.
"Luke has been taking a lot of snaps, and Brian is going to work himself back in," Gruden said. "For the first time, really, in the past couple months, we're seeing him throw the ball as well as he is."
Gruden said Garcia injured himself the same way he did in the preseason, during individual work in practice. "It's a strange injury," Gruden said.