One of the biggest questions Bucs fans, and the organization for that matter, have had, is the health of guard Carl Nicks. The former Saints star talked to the local media on Tuesday and said despite still not being able to practice now, he feels he will be ready to go when camp opens in July.
One of the biggest questions marks on the Bucs roster is the offensive line – particularly the health of guard Carl Nicks. The prized 2012 free agent has only played in nine games over the past two seasons after suffering a serious toe injury in 2012 that required surgery and then contracting MRSA last season that sent his to the operating table again, costing him a majority of the 2013 season as well.
On Tuesday, Nicks was in open locker room and spent some time talking to the media prior to the start of Tampa Bay’s three-day voluntary minicamp.
“Right now Lovie is taking it easy on me,” Nicks said.” I’m just doing rehab stuff, just building my strength back up. A little jogging a little elliptical, a little bike.”
“The medical issues have been difficult to handle Nicks said.
“It’s been a process for sure. I just have to deal with it. If I were a rookie it would be a little hard. It’s part of the business, I wasn’t the first, (and) I probably won’t be the last.”
Nicks told the media he wasn’t sure exactly where he was health wise in the grand scheme of things, but said there is a little light at the end of the tunnel starting to show.
“I don’t know about percentages,” Nicks said. “I’ve never been a percentage guy. Obviously I’m not ready to practice right now. But I feel comfortable saying I’ll be ready for training camp. That’s the plan. I feel I will be (ready to go).
“The main goal is the mental reps. “I know how to play football, how to run block, how pass block. I just don’t know the plays.”
Nicks was also asked how he is feeling physically after the two surgeries over the past two years.
“I’m always naturally strong when it comes to my lower body,” Nicks said. “My big thing is range of motion and flexibility and just being able to push off. I can still squat and lunge and all those things. It’s the quick step, the power cleans, the quick agility stuff, pushing off and getting right back. That’s the stuff I still kind of struggle with.
“There’s some nerve damage. So there’s going to be pain from what I’m told for the rest of my life.”
Head coach Lovie Smith talked with Nicks recently and offered some encouraging words.
“Lovie told me the other day that my 80 percent is still pretty good. If I’m not 100 percent, hopefully I can be at 90 or 95 percent. I’d be happy with that.”
Nicks got a chuckle from the media he was asked how eager he was to get back to playing football and putting the injuries to rest.
“I have the chicken pox over that,” Nicks said smiling. “I’m scratching at it all the time to get back out there. I don’t want to force it. I don’t want to rush it. When I do come back I want play more than two games.”
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