INJURY BUG BITES AGAIN: The Buccaneers had some more players fall victim to the injury bug today-some hurt worse than others.
The Buccaneers are now down to one full back after Rabih Abdullah pulled a hamstring during kickoff return drills. He was icing his leg on Wednesday night and is not expected to miss more than a week. After losing Pro Bowl FB Mike Alstott for what could be the preseason with a hamstring pull and FB Charles Kirby for the entire season to an Achilles injury, the only fullback the Buccaneers have left on their roster is rookie Jameel Cook. Despite only having one full back, don't expect Tampa Bay to sign another full back unless Alstott and/or Abdullah do not recover from their injuries as fast as they are expected to. The Buccaneers will likely use a tight end to fill in at full back until some of the others get healthy.
"Hopefully Rabih's hamstring is not too bad," said head coach Tony Dungy. "But it really puts us in a bind. We've lost two full backs in almost consecutive days. Jameel Cook basically had to take the whole workload today. We are going to make some adjustments and move some tight ends there until some of those guys get back. We're still evaluating it, but Randy Palmer seems like he is versatile to do that."
Defensive end John McLaughlin was on crutches at the night practice and the news on him is not good. McLaughlin cracked his hip in Wednesday morning's practice and his injury could very well be season-ending.
Here is a list of players who did not participate in Wednesday night's practice:
WR Reidel Anthony, CB Anthony Midget, WR Jacquez Green, RB Jamie Wilson, FS Dexter Jackson and MLB Jamie Duncan were all sidelined.
BROOKS RUNS WITH FIRST-TEAM DEFENSE: After a 10-day holdout, LB Derrick Brooks reported to training camp and didn't appear to have missed a beat. Brooks played every snap with the first-team defense and is expected to start on Monday night against Miami.
KICKOFF RETURN NOTES: Second-year S David Gibson put a tremendous block on RB Pepe Pearson during kickoff drills on Wednesday night.
WR Frank Murphy, WR Karl Williams, WR Robert Kilow, RB Aaron Stecker and CB Dwight Smith all returned kickoffs.
The most impressive kickoff return was by Murphy. Murphy fielded a K Martin Gramatica kickoff on the five-yard line about one-yard from the sideline, and took the ball all of the way to the end zone untouched for a touchdown.
CURRY REJUVENATED WITH ABSENCE OF HEGAMIN: Second-year RT DeMarcus Curry didn't exactly open up many eyes during the first week of training camp, but with the departure of RT George Hegamin from Bucs' camp today, Curry seemed to be playing some inspired football on Wednesday night.
BARBER ON FIRE: CB Ronde Barber was all over the place on Wednesday night. Barber came up with not one, but two interceptions in team drills. Barber almost had a third, but could not hold onto it.
TWO-MINUTE DRILL NOTES: The Buccaneers offense was able to move the ball better against their defense than the last time the team ran this drill. The offense moved the ball down field into field goal range, but hit a wall from there. But K Martin Gramatica came through for the offense by nailing a 52-yard field goal to give them three points.
HAIL MARY DRILL: QB Brad Johnson threw up several deep balls into the end zone to practice the Hail Mary drill. On Johnson's second attempt, he completed a pass to WR Karl Williams for a touchdown. The pass was tipped three different times in the end zone before Williams hauled in the catch while on the ground.
On one of Johnson's other attempts on this drill, S Eric Vance, who was replacing starter Dexter Jackson, intercepted the ball in the end zone. The ball was perfectly thrown by Johnson and was intended for WR Keyshawn Johnson, but Vance played the all perfectly and came away with the pic.
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