Tampa Bay wide receivers Antonio Bryant (knee) and Michael Clayton (wrist) are listed as questionable for Sunday's throwback game vs. the Green Bay Packers.
Bryant, who has been limited in several practice weeks throughout the season due to preseason knee surgery, has been limited in workouts this week after appearing to make progress in the two weeks leading up to Tampa Bay's bye week.
Bryant suggested his knee was aggravated on the plane ride home from London after Tampa Bay's loss to New England.
“That plane ride didn’t help me,” said Bryant. “I was good for like two weeks. I felt good and I had ran the best I had ran all season. Then I fell asleep on the plane ride and woke up and I was like, ‘Oh.’ It was fat. The swelling puts stress on the quad, which isn’t good, especially for my position where I’m running and cutting.”
Bryant has 16 catches for 229 yards and two touchdowns this season. If he can't play vs. the Packers, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris said the Bucs would use several players to play in his place.
“You have a plethora of guys, it would probably be a platoon,” said Morris. “You’ve got Brian Clark, Maurice Stovall, Yamon Figurs and Sammie Stroughter.”
The Bucs have not discussed the possibility of Bryant undergoing another knee surgery, but did express concern over the lingering knee issue.
“It’s never good when you don’t practice,” said Morris. “But he’s missed a bunch of practice this year. We have him as questionable. We’ll just have to see how he is on game day.
“Our doctors are in constant communication with him. He has his own doctors. We all look at it. It’s been double-checked. He’s had it looked at again. He’s tried to see what he can do to get better.”
Bryant caught a career-high 83 passes and seven touchdowns in his Buccaneer debut in 2008. That production earned him the franchise tag in Tampa Bay, which prevented Bryant from testing free agency.
Although the franchise tag earned Bryant a $9.88 million base salary this year, Bryant expressed concern about his long-term playing career in the NFL when discussing his limited status in practice this year.
“I don’t have no contract. I’m not Michael Clayton. I don’t have no contract. I have to get right, man,” said Bryant, who was referring to the five-year, $23 million deal Clayton signed as a free agent this offseason. “It doesn’t do me any good to go out there for a game or two and then be right back in the same position.”
Speaking of Clayton, the Bucs feel better about his chances of playing against the Packers than they do Bryant.
“He had full participation the last couple of days, so I’m pretty fired up there,” Morris said of Clayton. “His wrist is kind of weak, but he’s out there practicing.”
As for Bryant, he remains hopeful that he'll be able to play against the Packers and help the 0-7 Bucs record their first win of the season.
“I don’t know yet,” said Bryant. “It’s all about going out to the stadium and seeing how it feels. Coach Morris will let me know. If I can’t go, hey, it’s all about longeveity.”
In other injury news, Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib (ankle) and guard Jeremy Zuttah are probable for Sunday's game.
In addition to Bryant and Clayton, Bucs nickel cornerback Elbert Mack (ankle) is listed as questionable.