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Tampa Bay Buccaneers take cautious approach with receiver Antonio Bryant's knee

TAMPA — Bucs WR Antonio Bryant (knee) and DE Stylez White (shoulder), both starters, were listed Friday as doubtful for Sunday's game at Miami. That gives each a 25 percent chance of playing, according to league injury-reporting guidelines.

Bryant missed Sunday's home game against Green Bay and could be out for a while. Coach Raheem Morris suggested Friday that the team has decided to rest Bryant, who has a painful right knee that dates to the preseason, when he had arthroscopic surgery. Morris emphasized that the decision is a team one and not a result of Bryant being unwilling to play or practice.

"This is not a selfish act by A.B. by any means," Morris said. "Don't take it that way. … This is a team decision. This is A.B. sitting in my office on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and figuring out where we are. … We don't have a problem with A.B. pulling himself out or anything like that."

Morris said placing Bryant on injured reserve is not under consideration.

"We're going to let him get (to Miami) and see if he can bounce back," Morris said. "We've got eight more weeks. He's got eight weeks to get it going. You don't become an IR victim for a while. We've got some time."

Maurice Stovall, who had three catches for 46 yards vs. Green Bay, would again be the likely candidate to start if Bryant doesn't.

The extent of White's shoulder injury isn't clear. He was injured Sunday against Green Bay and hasn't practiced since. Morris indicated that Tim Crowder would start if White can't play.

"Tim Crowder's been the most productive (backup) as far as getting the reps and being on the screws with things," Morris said. "We're fired up and excited about that."

Also on the injury report: QB Byron Leftwich (elbow) is questionable. WR Michael Clayton (knee), G Davin Joseph (ankle), CB Aqib Talib (hamstring), RB Derrick Ward (knee) and RB Clifton Smith (knee) are probable.

A LITTLE HELP, PLEASE: The Bucs hope to mount a better rushing attack in QB Josh Freeman's second start after finishing with 81 yards and averaging 3.2 yards per carry against Green Bay. They hope that would eliminate some of the long third downs Freeman faced and take some pressure off the rookie.

"The negative runs that get you behind the (down and distance), that scares you out of the running game," Morris said.

Morris hopes the Bucs' success running the ball against the Dolphins in the preseason (127 yards) could translate into opportunities Sunday. "There are a lot of the same bodies out there," he said.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers take cautious approach with receiver Antonio Bryant's knee 11/13/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 14, 2009 8:57am]
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