Christy's Injury Affects Roster Decisions

Starting center Jeff Christy's knee injury will sideline him for the first week or two of the regular season, and it is causing headaches for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in regards to roster cutdowns. Christy might miss more time than first expected.

Starting center Jeff Christy's knee injury will sideline him for the first week or two of the regular season, and it is causing headaches for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in regards to roster cutdowns. Christy might miss more time than first expected. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to have to carry three centers on their opening day roster due to Jeff Christy's sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Todd Washington, who will normally be the first reserve in the game at center or guard, will start against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 9, and possibly the home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles the following week.

Christy, who was injured during the Cleveland Browns preseason game, was seen walking with a knee wrap and a limp on Tuesday. When asked how his knee was doing, he replied, "My tire is half-flat." Not only will he not likely meet his target return date of Sept. 9 at Dallas, his status for the Eagles game on Sept. 16 is in jeopardy.

This will likely force the team to carry rookie center/guard Leon Hires on the 53-man roster, at least for the start of the season. The Bucs have a bye week after the Eagles game.

Since the Bucs had planned on rostering only two centers, Tampa Bay will likely have to short another unit one player when it comes down to the final cutdowns on Sunday, September 2 at 4:00 p.m. Keeping Hires aboard due to Christy's injury could also impact the team's slim chances to keep four quarterbacks. It also means that the team will likely only keep five receivers with Frank Murphy, Robert Kilow and Khori Ivy all battling for one spot.

Or it could mean that the Bucs will keep only four running backs with Warrick Dunn, Mike Alstott, Aaron Stecker and rookie fullback Jameel Cook on the inside, and backs Rabih Abdullah and Pepe Pearson on the outside looking in.

If Christy's injury hadn't occurred, the team would have more roster flexibility on Sunday, but Hires likely wouldn't have a job.

OTHER INJURY NEWS: Alstott participated in full workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday and expects no problems heading into Friday night's contest against the Atlanta Falcons. Alstott is expected to participate in 10-15 snaps.

Punter Mark Royals will play in his first preseason game since spraining his right knee during the first week of training camp. But while Royals returns, the Bucs will likely keep defensive end Marcus Jones out one more week to heal his strained hamstring. Jones did participate in individual drills on Tuesday and Wednesday.


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