Running back Carnell Williams said Wednesday that things were looking "positive" in his recovery from bruised ribs sustained during the season opener on Sunday in Seattle.
Williams said the difference between how he felt on Sunday and how he felt on Wednesday was like "night and day."
The X-rays he had after the game came up negative for any cracks or breaks.
That's not how Williams felt while he was on the field in Seattle.
"My thought laying there was, ‘Man, I know something is broken," Williams said. "Once we got the X-rays and they said everything was OK (structurally), I was relieved."
Williams participated in practice on Wednesday on a limited basis, along with defensive tackle Chris Hovan, who has an ankle injury and wide receiver Joey Galloway due to a coach's decision.
Williams did not rule himself out for Sunday's game.
Williams admitted the day after sustaining the injury that he could barely take a deep breath or move his torso without feeling pain. He said that might be the biggest obstacle to playing on Sunday against New Orleans.
"The main thing is if I can get my breathing down, where if I breathe deep or move and there's no pain, then I know there's chance (I can play)," Williams said. "We'll see how I feel this week."
Williams left the game with 60 yards on 12 carries.
Meanwhile, cornerback Brian Kelly's status for the Saints game is "very much in question," according to head coach Jon Gruden.
Kelly did not participate in practice in Wednesday.
Kelly suffered a groin injury on Sunday against Seattle. The good news, Gruden said, is that it doesn't appear to be torn, as Kelly thought it might have been after the game.
"We don't believe it's a tear," Gruden said. "As a matter of fact Brian is doing quite well. I don't believe it's going to be a long-term injury. It's a shame because he played really well in the first half. He's a guy we need."
To bolster their depth at cornerback, the Bucs re-signed Sammy Davis on Tuesday. Davis went through training camp and the preseason with the Buccaneers but was one of their final roster cuts.
Gruden said that Phillip Buchanon would likely slide into Kelly's starting spot. Defensive backs coach Raheem Morris said that Davis and safety Kalvin Pearson are competing to take over Buchanon's spot as the nickel package corner.
Want to read Jon Gruden's entire Wednesday press conference, including his comment on the David Boston situation? 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.