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  1. Bucs

Bucs' Lavonte David to be game-time decision

HOPEFUL: Alterraun Verner (hamstring), right with Johnthan Banks, hopes he can return Sunday.
HOPEFUL: Alterraun Verner (hamstring), right with Johnthan Banks, hopes he can return Sunday.
Published Nov. 22, 2014

TAMPA — LB Lavonte David (hamstring) missed a second consecutive day of practice Friday, raising concerns that the NFL's co-leader in combined tackles could miss Sunday's game at Chicago.

Coach Lovie Smith said David would be a game-time decision, and he is listed as questionable.

"A lot better, but we held him out (Friday)," Smith said.

David, who has not missed a game in his three-year NFL career, was listed as limited during Wednesday's practice and has missed two days since.

The Bucs have not used their linebacker depth at all lately, with only three linebackers getting defensive snaps in the past two games.

If David can't go, the team could turn to Dane Fletcher, who has filled in for Mason Foster this season, and it could also keep strongside LB Danny Lansanah on the field with Foster in their nickel defense.

VERNER OPTIMISTIC: CB Alterraun Verner, sidelined the past two games by a hamstring injury, was optimistic he could return Sunday and help his defense try to contain the Bears' passing attack at Soldier Field.

"I had a good week, was able to do a lot of things, and hopefully they give me the green light to go this week," said Verner, who is considered questionable. "I was able to open up a lot more this week, and I'm looking forward to hopefully being out there."

Verner's presence can help the team line up against Chicago's two elite receivers, Brandon Marshall (586 yards, 8 touchdowns) and Alshon Jeffery (761, 4), in addition to TE Marcellus Bennett (591, 5).

Verner faced the Bears while with the Titans, against a Smith-coached Chicago team, and he saw Marshall go off for three touchdowns on passes from Jay Cutler in a 51-20 win in 2012.

"They killed us," Verner said.

THIS AND THAT: RBs Charles Sims (ankle) and Doug Martin (ankle) are listed as questionable. Smith said Sims was limited with general soreness. … Smith said he sees similarities between Sims and Chicago RB Matt Forte: "That's definitely a compliment to Charles because Matt Forte, I feel like, is a great player, can do it all."

Times staff writer Matt Baker contributed to this report. Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 226-3346. Follow @gregauman.

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