Williams has bruised ribs, is questionable

Tampa Bay running back Carnell Williams is questionable for Sunday's game against Seattle with bruised ribs, according to head coach Jon Gruden. Plus, there's an update on cornerback Brian Kelly's groin injury.

Running back Carnell Williams has bruised ribs, according to Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden, and his status for Sunday's home opener is unclear.

Gruden said during his post-game press conference on Monday that it did not appear that Williams suffered any broken ribs thanks to a third-quarter hit by Seattle linebacker Lofa Tatupu.

Williams left the game with 60 yards on 12 carries, an average of 5.0 yards. He was in obvious discomfort as he walked to the locker room at Qwest Field for further examination.

Gruden said that Williams will be evaluated further in the next 24 hours.

"I don't want to speculate," Gruden said. "We'll see how he is later today and tomorrow (Tuesday). He'll be evaluated again."

Gruden said it will be up to the trainers whether Williams plays on Sunday.

"I don't know a lot of backs that ever feel good after the opening game," Gruden said. "They have sore elbows and ribs and legs. It's a violent profession. Those guys get hit. I don't know that (Seattle's) Shaun Alexander feels good today. If he can go and the trainers feel good, he'll go. We hope he can."

If Williams cannot play, Michael Pittman and Earnest Graham will share the load at tailback, and fullback B.J. Askew will see a bigger role, Gruden said. He also did not rule out a move to shore up the depth at that position.

Tampa Bay has seventh-round pick Kenneth Darby on its practice squad.

"Unfortunately, one thing we've become very good at on offense is contingency plans," Gruden said.

On another front, cornerback Brian Kelly's situation is unclear. Kelly injured his groin against Seattle and did not finish the contest. He told reporters after the game that he felt like his groin was torn. Gruden wasn't committing to that on Monday and said Kelly would have further examinations.

"It's hard to say," Gruden said. "We didn't get back until 3 a.m. They'll (Williams and Kelly) get more specific exams in the next 24 hours. Brian played very well and couldn't finish."

Wide receiver David Boston, who was injured in pre-game warmups, is probable with a foot injury, according to Gruden.

Want to read Jon Gruden's entire Monday press conference, including his assessment of the offensive line and the safety play from Sunday? Click here for this BucsBlitz.com premium feature.

Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and has won national awards for his Buccaneers coverage from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is also a contributor to the Scot Brantley Show from 4-7 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1490-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.

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