TAMPA — Just as one key offensive starter returned to practice Thursday for the Bucs, another is suddenly sidelined.
Rookie LT Donovan Smith, held out with a knee injury Wednesday, was back participating on a limited basis Thursday afternoon, but RB Doug Martin was sidelined.
Coach Lovie Smith said Martin "hit his knee" in practice Wednesday and was held out. "Should be okay," Smith said.
CB Johnthan Banks (knee) remains sidelined, as do C Evan Smith (ankle) and tight ends Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) and Luke Stocker (hip).
S Chris Conte (hip) was upgraded to full participation, but three players remained at "limited" participation: S Major Wright (abdomen), DT Gerald McCoy (shoulder) and DE George Johnson (neck).
Sunday's opponent, Carolina, listed seven players as not participating Thursday, with CB Charles Tillman (undisclosed) and CB Josh Norman (noninjury-related) joining a group that included LB Luke Kuechly (concussion), RB Jonathan Stewart (leg) and WR Jerricho Cotchery (ankle).
NOT THE SAME: The Bucs know DE Jared Allen, especially Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who was in Minnesota for all six of Allen's seasons with the Vikings.
Allen, who is scheduled to make his Carolina debut Sunday, had 84½ sacks in those six seasons, along with 16 forced fumbles, peaking with a 22-sack season in 2011 when Frazier was Minnesota's coach. And yet when Frazier was asked about Allen on Thursday, he acknowledged the defensive end might not be the same pass-rusher he once was, perhaps sending some motivational bulletin-board material up to Charlotte.
"I have good memories of Jared, seeing him get after quarterbacks for as long as he did for us," Frazier said. "I haven't seen much of him on tape from his time with Chicago, but a gregarious guy, great in the locker room, just a good player to have on your team.
"He's what, 33 maybe now, so I'm not sure he's the same as when he was 25 or 26, although I'm sure he would say different. But a great player, has been a great player in our league for a few years."
Allen, in fairness, had just 5½ sacks last season in Chicago and had none in the first three games, though he was miscast as a 3-4 outside linebacker instead of a 4-3 defensive end as he will be again in Carolina.
THIS AND THAT: If Banks can't play, the Bucs likely will turn to former USF CB Mike Jenkins, who made his season debut last week after missing two games with a hamstring injury. "I thought he played pretty good last week," Lovie Smith said. … McCoy said the Panthers' four-game winning streak against the Bucs keeps him from considering this a rivalry. "Rivalries go back and forth," he explained. "They've been kicking our tail for the past four tries, so I don't see that as a rivalry, just a division opponent." … McCoy, on the size and speed that QB Cam Newton brings to a game: "I don't think it's legal for him to be playing in the league. That's not fair."
Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene
Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
Contact Greg Auman at firstname.lastname@example.org and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.