Bucs RB Pittman Not Concerned About Hand Injury

January 16 – He's not listed on Tampa Bay's official injury report, but Buccaneers running back Michael Pittman will play Sunday's game with a right hand injury. Although some would consider holding onto the football with a wounded hand a difficult task, Pittman insisted Thursday that the only thing he would have to worry about Sunday would be playing through the pain.

Tampa Bay running back Michael Pittman suffered a right hand contusion during the Bucs' 31-6 win over the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday.

He's not listed on the Bucs' official injury report, but Pittman's hand contusion along with a dislocated left ring finger could be considered a serious concern by some since the task of holding onto the football could be a difficult one with an injured hand.

While he said the hand injury would not affect the way he carries the ball, Pittman fumbled the football late in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's Bucs-49ers game.

Tampa Bay certainly can't afford to turn the ball over against Philadelphia on Sunday. The Buccaneers fumbled the ball four times against the Eagles back in Week 7, and Pittman just happened to be one of the culprits.

Pittman, who rushed for 718 yards (3.5 avg.) and scored one touchdown and hauled in 59 passes for 477 yards during the regular season, said the Bucs stand an excellent chance of winning the NFC Championship Game if they don't turn the ball over.

"We've just got to hold onto the ball," said Pittman. "I dropped one and Mike Alstott dropped one – I forget who else fumbled. But we've just got to hold onto the ball. They're going to be swinging at the ball and they're paid to make plays, too. We just can't allow them to make those plays. We need to hold onto the ball and eliminate turnovers. If we do that, I think we'll come back to Tampa with a win."

On Thursday, Pittman tried to put fans at ease and put any questions about his ability to hold onto the football to rest.

"It's alright," Pittman said of his right hand. "One doctor said I had a little crack in there but the other doctor got a second look at it and said it wasn't a fracture. I'll play whether it's cracked or not. I played all game last week with it like that. I'm fine."

Pittman said playing through the pain would be his biggest obstacle on Sunday.

"There's pain in my hand and there's pain in my finger," said Pittman. "My finger is all messed up. But I just have to play with it. I'll just tape two of the fingers together and I'll wear a glove on the other one. The biggest thing will be dealing with the pain."

If Bucs head coach Jon Gruden and Co. doubt Pittman's ability to hold onto the ball with the hand injury, they probably won't hesitate to anoint fullback Mike Alstott the primary tailback against the Eagles.


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