The 1-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be without two key starters when they travel to Miami to take on the 3-5 Dolphins on Sunday.
Bucs wide receiver Antonio Bryant and defensive end Stylez G. White missed their third straight day of practice Friday with a knee and shoulder injury, respectively.
Both players are listed as doubtful for Sunday's 1:00 p.m. kick off at Land Shark Stadium.
Bryant, whose knee ailment was aggravated on the flight home from London on Oct. 26, missed last Sunday's game vs. Green Bay. Although there's a 25 percent chance he'll play in Miami, the Bucs might be planning to rest Bryant in order to give him nearly one month worth of rest, including the bye week.
"We have an opportunity to probably get three weeks of rest there. Hopefully he can come back and finish this thing strong," said Bucs head coach Raheem Morris.
Morris said Bryant, who led the Bucs in receptions last year with 83, is not a candidate to be placed on injured reserve at this time despite having dealt with the knee problem ever since he underwent minor knee surgery during training camp.
"Not yet," Morris said when asked if Bryant was a candidate for IR. "We're just going to see what he can do and see if he can bounce back. We've got eight more weeks, so he's got eight weeks to try and get it going. He won't become an IR victim for a while. We have some time."
Should Bryant, who has 16 catches for 229 yards and two touchdowns, not be able to play in Miami, WR Maurice Stovall would start in his place for the second straight week. Stovall has seven catches for 139 yards this season.
"You have to love what Stovall did last week," said Morris. "All he did was catch a few balls and do some things that were really positive. We also liked what [Brian Clark] did and sprinkling in Sammie [Stroughter] a little bit."
One thing Morris attempted to clear up Friday was the decision behind resting Bryant. Last week, Bryant, who is earning $9.88 million as Tampa Bay's franchise player this year, suggested his contract status had something to do with his playing status.
However, Morris denied that was the case on Friday.
"It's our doctors, it's our medical staff, it's us," said Morris. "It's precautionary reasons. We want to see if we can get him healthy.
"This is not a selfish act by A.B. by any means. "This is a team decision."
The Bucs could sorely miss White if he can't go Sunday. White has three sacks on the season and is coming off a 1.5-sack effort vs. the Packers last week. He injured his shoulder vs. Green Bay. Should White not be able to play, Bucs reserve DE Tim Crowder, who has one sack, would start at right end in his place.
"If Stylez can't play it would have to be Tim Crowder," said Morris. "He's been the most productive."
In other injury news, Bucs running back Derrick Ward was held out of Friday's practice with a knee injury. He and third-string quarterback Byron Leftwich (right elbow) are listed as questionable for the game in Miami.
"I think he'll be fine. It just flared up on him a little bit," Morris said of Ward. "He had practiced all week and looked pretty good. It was just one of those things where he needs an extra day of rest."
Bucs wide receiver Michael Clayton (knee), guard Davin Joseph (ankle), cornerback Aqib Talib (hamstring) and return specialist Clifton Smith (knee) are listed as probable for the upcoming game.
Miami linebacker Joey Porter (knee) is probable. Guard Justin Smiley, defensive tackle Paul Sollai (ankle) and LB Erik Walden (hamstring) are questionable. Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano (hips) is questionable.