TAMPA — Hamstring injuries have hamstrung the Bucs this season, particularly on defense.
Nose tackle Clinton McDonald, the only starter on defense not to miss a game this season, has not practiced this week due to a hamstring injury. The same ailment forced All-Pro linebacker Lavonte David to miss the first game of his career Sunday, at Chicago, and he missed a second day of workouts Wednesday.
All told, at least a half-dozen players have missed games or significant practice time with hamstring injuries since the end of October, a list that includes cornerback Alterraun Verner.
"It's pretty normal for us," coach Lovie Smith said. "We ask guys to run a lot more and Lavonte hadn't missed a rep. These lower-leg injuries pop up and hopefully it's a short period of time and get them back in.
"(David) is definitely getting better and has a chance. We take our time with hamstrings. But he is doing some things on a limited basis. Not necessarily practice, but just kind of getting back into it."
Tampa Bay players and coaches decided to practice Tuesday and Wednesday so they could be off with families for Thanksgiving.
Rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins returned to practice after sitting out Tuesday with back problems that took him out of much of Sunday's loss at Chicago. Two other tight ends — Brandon Myers (calf) and Luke Stocker (concussion) — remained out, with new arrivals Cameron Brate and D.J. Williams taking their place in drills.
Center Evan Dietrich-Smith, who sat out Tuesday's drills, was ill again Wednesday and unable to practice.
"Of course we practiced a little bit earlier this week, so we assumed we'd have a couple more bruises and bumps," Smith said.
"Hopefully by game time, some of the guys will be ready."
Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.