Bucs DT McFarland Could Play Sunday

November 25 – Tampa Bay will have several players on its injury report when it's released Wednesday. While WR Keyshawn Johnson, FB Jameel Cook, DE/DT Ellis Wyms and RB Aaron Stecker will all be limited in practice this week as the Bucs prepare for its game against New Orleans, the team did receive some good news. The Bucs upgraded DT Anthony McFarland, who has been sidelined for three consecutive games with a fractured forearm, to questionable, which means he could play against the Saints.

The Buccaneers have several injured players after their 21-7 win over the Packers. While the team's official injury report will not be released until Wednesday, Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden enlightened the media on the status of his team's injured players from One Buccaneer Place on Monday morning.

Bucs wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, who missed some practice time last week due to sore ribs, will be listed as questionable for the Bucs' game against the Saints due to the same injury.

"Keyshawn Johnson has some bruised right ribs," said Gruden. "We're going to list him as questionable for this game."

Although he caught two passes for 48 yards, including a 39-yarder, which set up kicker Martin Gramatica's field goal just before the first half ended, Johnson dropped three passes against the Packers and was obviously hindered by his rib injury.

"Keyshawn had missed a lot of practice time this week," said Gruden. "Whether we want to admit it or not as coaches and players, when you miss practice it does impact your performance a little bit. This guy has sore ribs and it inhibits his movement. I think his timing was a little bit off. Maybe a couple of balls did get into him last night and that's very uncharacteristic, but we were able to overcome that."

Tampa Bay fullback Jameel Cook suffered a left ankle sprain. Running back Aaron Stecker suffered a right hamstring strain. Defensive tackle/defensive end Ellis Wyms suffered a right ankle sprain. All three players will be listed as questionable for Sunday night's game.

"These four men will be limited on the practice field Wednesday," said Gruden.

In other injury news, Bucs defensive nose tackle Anthony McFarland, who has been sidelined for three consecutive games with a fractured forearm, will return to practice Wednesday and could play against New Orleans.

"Anthony McFarland has been upgraded to questionable for this game," said Gruden. "There is a chance he'll play against the Saints. He's been in the bullpen and he's loose and he's ready to go. But we'll make sure we do the right thing. We'll see where he is in the next couple of days."

McFarland, who is a Louisiana native and attended Louisiana Tech, will sport a cast on his broken forearm during practice and will be evaluated throughout the week. Gruden suggested that McFarland would be the one that decides on whether or not he can return to action for Sunday's game in his hometown.

"He's going to show up and play and practice with a cast of some kind on his arm," said Gruden. "We'll just have to see how he performs. Really, Anthony will give us the best feedback and whether or not he can play. If you would have told me Ronde Barber would have done what he did last night with a broken hand and digging out that interception – anything is possible. We'll be surprised if McFarland does play, but we're going to do the right thing medically and we'll see how Anthony feels in terms of his movement and being able to get off blocks and whether he's pain-free enough to do that."

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