The Buccaneers were relieved to learn Monday afternoon that starting wide receiver Keenan McCardell's knee sprain wasn't serious and that he'd probably be sidelined just a few days.
"Keenan McCardell does have a sprained knee," said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. "He's going to be out a few days, maybe up to a week. Fortunately for us, there's nothing serious there. I know Keenan is going to work hard and I'd be surprised if he wasn't back out on the field in a couple of days."
McCardell was hopeful he'd return to practice sooner rather than later.
"They said I would be out about four days," McCardell said. "Right now, we are taking it very slow. It's the beginning of training camp, and they want to make sure I am ready to play. I'm going to go by their advice and just take one day at a time. I'm going to see how I feel. I'd like to get back out there with my teammates. We are in this thing together, and there is nothing like being out there with your teammates. Right now is when we come together as a team, and I think I need to be there."
While McCardell would prefer not to be injured, he's glad it happened this early in training camp.
"I don't like to be injured, but it's good that it happened early I guess," said McCardell. I would rather it not happen at all, but if it happens, it happens now. I'm feeling pretty good. I feel upbeat now after talking to the doctors. I think I just need a little rest to get everything together and to be ready to play. I'll be ready to roll, and as soon as this thing gets right, I'll be back on the field."
McCardell suffered the knee sprain during one-on-one red zone drills on Monday morning.
GRUDEN CUTS AFTERNOON PRACTICE SHORT
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden was so pleased with his team's performance on Monday afternoon that he cut practice short by about 30 minutes.
"We cut it (the practice) a little bit short this afternoon," said Gruden. "That was part of the deal. We wanted precise execution and we got it. We felt pretty good about the energy this afternoon.
Gruden also ended practice early due to the extremely hot and humid weather conditions in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
"We had some players that got IVs this morning," said Gruden. "We have to be careful and be smart here. So, we shortened it a little bit this afternoon."
The Buccaneers have practiced special teams during or after each training camp practice. Gruden is pleased with special teams coach Richard Bisaccia's troops, but some players have stood out to him more than others.
"Dwight Smith catches my eye everyday," said Gruden. "He is a great special teams player. I think he led all defensive backs in the league last year in special teams tackles. He's an outstanding coverage man. I think he could be a good returner if we asked him to. He's superb. I think Frank Murphy is distinguishing himself as a special teams guy. Probably more than anything, the performance of Al Singleton, Shelton Quarles and Dexter Jackson --three starters on our defense -- they really lead the way for our special teams. I can't say enough about those three guys."
AMOUNT OF INJURIES NOT UNUSUAL FOR THIS TIME OF THE YEAR
The Buccaneers have several players banged up, but Gruden insists that the amount and types of injuries on his team are no different than what every other team in the National Football is or will be dealing with during training camp.
"It's that time of year," said Gruden. "You're practicing twice a day and there's some collisions out here and there's a lot of work to be done. Every team in th league that's in training camp has an injury report. Unfortunately, it's part of the game. But we have to fight through that and hopefully some of these guys that are hurt and have been hurt will be back soon."
JUREVICIUS SHINING IN CAMP
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden has been quite pleased with WR Joe Jurevicius, who the team signed to a four-year contract during the offseason. He is the team's No. 3 receiver, but with McCardell's injury, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Jurevicius filled in admirably opposite WR Keyshawn Johnson during the morning and afternoon practices.
"He's moving around a lot in our three-receiver sets," said Gruden. "That allows us to move Keyshawn (Johnson) and Keenan McCardell around. This is right up his alley. Jurevicius is a quick study, he's a versatile guy and we think he's a complete wideout. We think he's had one heckuva camp and he's been a good addition to our team."
BUCS TO OFFER FREE ADMISSION TO PRACTICES WITH DOLPHINS
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will offer free admission to its practices with the Miami Dolphins this Saturday, August 10 to fans with a coupon from the Tampa Tribune's Thursday, Friday and Saturday editions. Each coupon will admit two people to Saturday's sessions.
The admission price to fans without a coupon will be $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-9. Children under the age of 3 will be admitted free.
The practices will be held at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex from 8:35-10:45 a.m. and 2:30-4:30 p.m. this Saturday.
The Buccaneers open its preseason schedule on Monday, August 12 against the Dolphins at 8:00 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN.
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