Bucs' Nicks has MRSA recurrence

Published Oct. 11, 2013

TAMPA — Carl Nicks complained to Bucs trainers about a sore left foot when he returned to work Wednesday.

A culture was taken, and Thursday, it revealed the starting left guard is suffering from a recurrence of MRSA.

Nicks missed nine games last season after surgery on his left toe. This season, he missed all of the preseason and the first two regular-season games because of MRSA, a staph infection resistant to many common antibiotics.

"Same place, same location," Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said.

"From everything we've been told and understand, this does happen, which is why MRSA is … hard to treat."

Two hours earlier, when asked if Nicks could have an infection, Bucs coach Greg Schiano said, "I'm going to say it's his foot. We're exami­ning everything. It started to bother him. He tells our trainers, and we look into it. Now we're doing all the tests you can do to make sure."

The Bucs did not rule Nicks out for Sunday's game against the Eagles. His status will be updated today.

Last week, the players' union filed a grievance on behalf of Bucs kicker Lawrence Tynes, who in August was placed on the non-football injury list instead of injured reserve after being diagnosed with MRSA in his right big toe. While Tynes is being paid his salary, he is not receiving benefits such as matching 401(k) contributions nor accruing service time toward a pension.

The grievance addresses "significant concerns about the manner in which (Tynes') and, perhaps, other players' safety was handled by the team," union executive director DeMaurice Smith said last week.

The grievance, according to, alleges Tynes was not cultured for MRSA by the team, causing a delay in treatment of more than two weeks. Nicks was placed on antibiotics immediately.

In addition, according to the report, the union is investigating if a member of the Bucs' training staff was being treated for MRSA when players reported to training camp.

Bucs trainer Todd Toriscelli, who had offseason knee surgery, dealt with an infection starting in June, Fox Sports reported Aug. 31.

"The individuals that have tested positive for staph or MRSA, we feel very strongly about where it came from," Tynes told Fox then.

Asked then about the Toriscelli report, Tynes said, "I just feel bad he's been dealing with a serious infection of some sort for the past four months."

Douglas Holt, a professor of medicine and director of the Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine at USF, said while it's rare, a nonresistant staph infection can mutate into MRSA over time.

"You can get a sensitive staph from somewhere. It can be from another person or in a hospital or health care facility, and whatever is going on in your body can be something that makes that organism mutate," Holt said.

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"Usually, that's separated by long time periods. It would take some time for the mutations to get to the point where the (MRSA) then becomes the domi­nant staph on your body."

Tynes still is receiving antibiotics through an intravenous line, his agent, Ken Harris, said. It is set to be removed next week.

"When we heard the news about Carl, our first reaction was we're praying for him," Harris said. "The second reaction was if anybody wants to know why Lawrence sought medical advice and followed every procedure to a tee, this is the reason why."

Tynes, signed in June, developed an ingrown toenail on his right foot in training camp. Ten days later, he was diagnosed with MRSA after seeking a second opinion at the New York Hospital for Special Surgery.

Rick Stroud can be reached at