The Bucs may be without RB Warrick Dunn and WR Bert Emanuel when they play Cleveland Saturday in the preseason opener.
Dunn, who is coming off a left patellar tendon injury, is now being slowed by a right hamstring strain. Bucs coach Tony Dungy said if Dunn does not do full-speed running today or Friday, he most likely would not play.
"Right now, I would probably say he wouldn't (play)," Dungy said. "But if he can go full speed at any time, maybe we'll get him a few plays."
If Dunn doesn't play, second-year man Rabih Abdullah will start and rookie Autry Denson will see considerable playing time.
Emanuel has been out with a concussion since Aug. 4, and although he did some light running on Wednesday, he is not expected to play.
"He was doing some individual work and it looks like he's going to be okay," Dungy said. "He caught the ball well and ran around well. It's pretty much up to him (when he comes back)."
THE ROTATION: Trent Dilfer will start Saturday and be in for 15-20 plays. Eric Zeier will follow and Shaun King will finish the game.
INJURY UPDATE: CB Floyd Young, WR Dillan Micus and S Eric Vance remained out of practice with strained hamstrings, but rookie DE John McLaughlin returned Wednesday. McLaughlin has been sidelined with a sprained foot, but expects to play Saturday.
LB Al Singleton (back) and CB Troy Saunders (back) also sat out.
STILL GOING STRONG: C Tony Mayberry is among a large group of Bucs who are in the final year of their contracts, and may become unrestricted free agents after the season.
The team drafted C Todd Washington in 1998 and is hoping to develop him into a capable backup. Eric de Groh, a rookie out of West Virginia, also is vying for a roster spot.
Mayberry will start this year, but he is aware this could be his last season in a Bucs uniform.
"I realize I can't concern myself with anything like that because I have no control over it," Mayberry said. "I think there's a way I can play where I can make it very hard on them as far as the decision, or make the decision easier for them. I realize my play will determine that.
"To sit here and say "I don't think about it' would be a farce, but I don't waste my time with things I can't control. I can control my performance on the field."
General manager Rich McKay said the decision on Mayberry and other unrestricted free agents will come in the fall.
"In October, we'll kind of sit down and map out our plan for 2000 and talk about who to extend, how to extend them and when to extend them, and Tony is certainly in that category," McKay said. "Tony's been a good player for us for a number of years, and certainly a guy we'll talk about."
NATIONAL ATTENTION: K Martin Gramatica was photographed by Sports Illustrated on Wednesday. Gramatica will be listed as the Bucs' player-to-watch in the magazine's preview issue.
DT Warren Sapp also is getting some added attention. A crew from NFL Films spent Tuesday with Sapp for an upcoming episode of Fox Sports Net's Under the Helmet.
The crew chronicled Sapp's day from the time he got up until he went to bed.
TRIBUTE: Sapp is wearing the numbers of former Bucs Demetrius DuBose and David Logan on the back of his helmet.
DuBose, who played with the Bucs from 1993-96, was killed by police investigating a burglary in San Diego last month. The shooting is still under investigation.
Logan played from 1979-86 and served as the color analyst of the Buccaneers Radio Network for the past eight years. He died in January from complications from a blood clot.
_ ERNEST HOOPER, RICK STROUD
You have some guys going in as the favorite, but that's why we evaluate and that's why we play four preseason games. Nobody's job is safe, including the head coach from what I understand.
Bucs coach Tony Dungy on the competition in training camp.
_ TONY DUNGY
Bucs coach on why NFL teams hold training camp
DID YOU KNOW?
The Bucs defense, the NFL's No. 2 unit in 1998, allowed just 244 first downs last season, the best total in the league. The unit allowed only 75 rushing first downs, the fewest in team history.