Buccaneers Blog: Stovall out for year

Buccaneers Blog is Bucsblitz.com's home for breaking news, injury updates, story links, analysis, opinion and more. Today, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will prepare for the New York Giants in the Wild Card playoffs, plus the status of Bucs WR Maurice Stovall.

Stovall out for season, 1:24 p.m.

Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden said Monday morning that wide receiver Maurice Stovall is done for the season after breaking his arm against San Francisco on Sunday.

According to Buccaneers.com, Stovall did not return with the team and stayed behind in San Francisco for medical attention.

Stovall was hurt four minutes into the second quarter while catching a pass from Jeff Garcia. He left the field on a cart, with his right forearm immobilized.

Stovall is the latest wide receiver to end up on injured reserve this year. The Buccaneers will likely search for a fifth wide receiver on the free agent market in the next few days. Micheal Spurlock is now thrust into the role of the No. 4 wide receiver.

"We've lost a lot of guys, starting with Paris Warren and Mark Jones and [David] Boston and now Stovall," said Gruden. "Obviously, Micheal Spurlock and some of the men on our practice squad and anyone out there that we think can help us, we'll look into."

Bucs to face Giants in Wild Card playoffs, 11:25 a.m.

The results of Sunday's game cemented the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the No. 4 playoff seed while results elsewhere cemented the New York Giants as their first-round playoff opponent.

The Giants defeated Buffalo, 38-21, to clinch a playoff berth. Then, when the Vikings lost to the Redskins, 32-21, that solidified the Giants as the No. 5 seed and Tampa Bay's opponent.

There is no official indication when the game will be played, though Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on Sunday appeared to expect a short week leading up to the game.

"I want to go into the playoffs with the understanding that there's a good chance we'll have to play on a short week, maybe a Saturday," Gruden said. "We need to have a healthy football team."

I wrote in this space nearly a month ago that, if the Bucs faced the Giants, they could expect a primo TV slot, since the Giants are in the No. 1 TV market. Two years ago, when the Bucs hosted the Redskins, they played on Saturday night. The Saturday night playoff game is now on NBC, and that network's broadcast is now considered the crown jewel of the NFL's primetime package. I think there's a good chance that the Bucs and Giants will play that night.

As for the Giants, they face the New England Patriots on Saturday night in the regular-season finale. So, no matter what, the Giants will get at least an extra day to prepare for the Bucs.

The Giants lost RB Brandon Jacobs to an ankle injury, but his status is unclear. He told reporters after the game that he intended to play against the Patriots, but head coach Tom Coughlin will have the final say. Rookie Ahmad Bradshaw came off the bench to rush for 151 yards against the Bills, after Jacobs had already rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns.

The Giants' use of Bradshaw from here on out will be interesting to watch. Jacobs is a huge back, but Bradshaw has the speed to give the offense another gear (along the lines of what Michael Bennett could do for the Bucs if they used him more often). Another player to watch is WLB Kawika Mitchell, who had two sacks and an interception return for a touchdown on Sunday.

And, keep this in mind — the Giants are 7-1 on the road this season. With the solid running game, it minimizes Eli Manning's mistakes and keeps their solid defense fresh. This is a team built to play on the road.

Catch up at Bucsblitz.com, 11:20 a.m.

Looking for complete coverage of the game? Find it here at Bucsblitz.com. You can catch up with the Bucs' 21-19 loss to San Francisco. First, get the nuts and bolts of Sunday's contest in our game story by clicking here. Then, in our postgame notebook, I detail the Bucs' continuing futility in San Francisco — and when the Bucs can expect to make another trip by clicking here. Did you miss the scoring summary from yesterday? Don't worry. We have our own summary, with complete offensive stats and grades for all key positions for the Bucs. Read more by clicking here. And, see the best images from the game in our Bucs-49ers photo gallery by clicking here.

"Just like old times", 11:17 a.m.

That's how legendary sports writer Tom McEwen put Sunday's loss. And he didn't mean that in a good way. Read more in his "Breakfast Bonus" at TBO.com.

"We're waving momentum flags", 11:16 a.m.

That's what Derrick Brooks told the Tampa Tribune's Martin Fennelly after Sunday's loss. Not white flags, momentum flags. Fennelly writes that this team may not be good enough to be as disinterested as they were on Sunday. Read more at TBO.com.

A tight kind of day, 11:14 a.m.

The wide receivers didn't get it done, but the tight ends sure did. Alex Smith and Jerramy Stevens both had big days, less than a week after Jon Gruden said he had big plays for Stevens. Read more at Tampabay.com.

Injury update, 11:13 a.m.

Here in injury updates on WRs Joey Galloway and Maurice Stovall at Tampabay.com.

The theme of winning, 11:11 a.m.

St. Pete Times columnist Gary Shelton asks a logical question after the Buccaneers' 21-19 loss to San Francisco — shouldn't the Buccaneers have tried harder to win this game? The loss ensured that they will be the NFC's fourth playoff seed. Shelton makes other points in this article at Tampabay.com.

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