Buccaneers running back and special teams returner Clifton Smith talked about his return to practice after missing a lot of preseason action with a right knee injury. The team has been tight lipped about the nature of the injury, and at times some in the media have described it as gout. The team said that is not completely correct and that Smith has had some gout like symptoms with swelling in his knee. Regardless of the exact nature of the injury, Smith appears to be on the road to recovery. Smith spoke about his status after practice on Wednesday.
"A lot of it (swelling) has gone down," said Smith. "They put me on some medication to take for about a month.
"I felt bad for about a month and a half. I thought it came with the territory of playing football being sore and everything. After a while I just knew that something wasn't right."
Smith said that he felt better on Wednesday than he has felt in a long time. Bucs head coach Raheem Morris talked about the return of Smith after practice.
"I'm not sure about what the early injury stuff was I'm not a doctor. I know he's been having some pain," said Morris. "He was having issues with his knee and issues with a bunch of things and not really understanding what was going on there. Now we figured it out. Got him on the right path and he feels great. He was back out there being his dynamic self."
With the return skill of wide receivers Sammie Stroughter and Micheal Spurlock along with running back Kareem Huggins, Smith knows that he is in fight to keep his roster spot. Smith was a Pro Bowler after his rookie season in 2008, and had a better kick return average in 2009 before going on injured reserve after sustaining his second concussion.
Not being able to practice regularly and missing the preseason games was tough on Smith aside from the injury, but Smith plans on returning to preseason action on Saturday when the Bucs host the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"It was frustrating because I'd wake up in the morning, and it is hard to walk," said Smith. "It is hard to walk upstairs. Your back hurts. Your leg hurts. Your whole body hurts, so it was kind of frustrating for a while.
"It didn't start getting better until about a week ago. We're talking care of the problem so I'll be ready to go on Saturday."
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