Four days before the Bucs' second preseason game, the team had four defensive linemen held out of Thursday's practice with lingering injuries, potentially leaving them short-handed Monday night at home against the Bengals.
Defensive tackle Akeem Spence is likely out until October with a back injury, but the Bucs also had starting end Jacquies Smith (shoulder) out Thursday, as well as end T.J. Fatinikun (leg strain) and tackle Da'Quan Bowers (undislosed).
"They're just nicks, which is a positive. They're not going to be out long," coach Lovie Smith said. "The guys we have out, Jac Smith, T.J. Fatinikun, we need to see those guys. They need to be out there practicing. That's training camp. You have to build in your thoughts that we're going to have some guys that will miss some time and keep them in it mentally. They'll be back before long."
With those players out, the Bucs have used veterans Larry English and Lawrence Sidbury as starters opposite George Johnson, with only rookies Jamal Young and Ryan Delaire behind them. Tackles Henry Melton and Will Gholston can moonlight as ends Monday if necessary, though their primary roles will continue to be on the interior.
Other Bucs sidelined with injuries -- S Chris Conte has been out since the opening practice with a hamstring injury, LB Orie Lemon has been out all week with an undisclosed injury, and T Kevin Pamphile continues to be out with a sore triceps, leaving backup Reid Fragel as the starting right tackle until new arrival Gosder Cherilus knows the scheme and terminology well enough to step in with the first unit.