Other than losing your franchise quarterback, there isn’t much more of a worst case scenario than losing your starting left tackle. While the severity of the injury is unknown, the Bucs could be facing the prospect of Donovan Smith missing time this season.
In a year with so much on the line, it most likely means some sleepless nights for the organization.
Smith was caught up in a pile and appeared to have his leg rolled up on. Practice stopped for a few minutes as Smith stayed down while being attended to by trainers. He was eventually helped up with assistance and taken to the locker room where he didn’t come back at at any point on Tuesday.
Following practice, head coach Dirk Koetter said he couldn’t provide many details.
“We’ll have to see. I’ve said this many times, when guys get hurt during practice they take them in, have the docs look at them and they’ll run their tests and we’ll know something at a later time,” Koetter said.
“That’s probably one of Donovan’s best characteristics. He’s very reliable and he’s been very durable over the course of his career so we’ll just have to see. Obviously we hope for the best and we’ll have to see what happens.”
Right tackle Demar Dotson, who could potentially move to the left side if Smith’s injury is significant, talked about the dog days of camp and how these type of injuries can sometime happen.
“It’s hard because you’re at the end of training camp, it gets sloppy and guys are tired,” Dotson said. “Nobody wants to be out here, that’s just the nature of the beast. You’re tired, you’re hurting, your leg’s dead, so you start to get sloppy. People start falling all over the place, tripping all over people and stuff, and that’s just something you got to work through. As training camp gets harder and harder and you get to the end of it, you got to focus hard not to be sloppy, because that’s what happens man, you get people hurt. I think that’s what happened to Donovan, I think somebody threw them into him and rolled up on him and now you got to see what’s the extent of his injury. You just can’t have that, you can’t have that, that’s not the way to practice, you get guys hurt.”
The Bucs will most likely have to adjust, at the very least through the rest of the preseason, if not longer.
“You have to do what you have do, what I do is the next man up mentality,” Smith said. “Donovan is a key stone to this offensive line, I mean we don’t have nobody that can play left tackle remotely as good as he can play at, that’s just common sense. Hopefully it’s not bad, maybe it’s just a couple weeks or whatever a week or so, so he can be back for the start of the season. That’s what we’re hoping, and if that’s the case we can get by until then. If it’s longer than that, that’s going to be our own blow to us.”