Tampa Bay starting fullback B.J. Askew was ruled out of Sunday's game vs. Carolina by head coach Raheem Morris on Friday. Askew (back/neck) will be replaced by running back Earnest Graham, who has played fullback before. Morris believes the Bucs are as healthy as they've been all year.
On Friday, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris announced that starting fullback B.J. Askew would be held out of Sunday's game vs. Carolina due to a back/neck injury he sustained in a minor car accident earlier this week.
Askew was held out of all three of Tampa Bay's practices this week. He will be replaced by running back Earnest Graham, who has seen playing time at fullback before.
"Earnest will be the starting fullback in B.J.'s place," said Morris. "We look forward to that. He's done that role before, and done it well. He'll get some more touches and blocking opportunities in that role this weekend."
Although Tampa Bay would like to have Askew lead blocking for Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward as the Bucs attempt to attack a suspect Carolina run defense, the team is in fairly good shape, which is encouraging to Morris.
"Other than Askew everybody is up and running and ready to go," said Morris. "This is the healthiest we've been all year."
That means Bucs tight end Jerramy Stevens, who was held out of two practices earlier this week but had full participation on Friday, will play on Sunday. He is listed as probable.
"Jerramy was the guy we were worried about today, but he practiced full-go today," said Morris. "He's mentally tough and rolled through it, and he's ready to go Sunday."
The same goes for wide receiver Antonio Bryant, who was limited on Wednesday and Thursday with knee soreness. He had full participation Friday and apparently looked good in practice.
"Antonio has looked the best he's looked since OTA days," said Morris.
Tackle Donald Penn (ankle), defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson (knee), center Jeff Faine (triceps), running back Earnest Graham (hamstring), defensive lineman Kyle Moore (knee) and running back Clifton Smith (ankle) are probable.
Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart (Achilles), linebackers Jon Beason (knee), Na'll Diggs (rib), defensive tackle Nick Hayden (toe), cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (shoulder), wide receiver and Steve Smith (knee) are probable for Carolina.
Carolina LB James Anderson (concussion) and tight end Dante Rosario (ankle) are questionable for Sunday's game, which kicks off at 1:00 p.m. ET at Raymond James Stadium.
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