The Buccaneers took the practice field at One Buccaneer Place Thursday to continue preparing for their first opponent of the regular season – the Dallas Cowboys.
However, for the most part the Bucs were without two key members of their offense – starting wide receivers Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton, who have been dealing with knee and hamstring injuries, respectively.
Bryant, who led the team in receptions last year, missed all four of Tampa Bay's preseason games and a good portion of training camp after undergoing minor knee surgery in August.
Clayton, a former first-round pick, was hindered by a hamstring ailment during training camp and preseason.
Both players had full participation in Tampa Bay's practices on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Bucs have a bonus practice this week and are scheduled to hold another workout Friday.
The decision to limit Bryant and Clayton in Thursday's practice was a precaution, according to head coach Raheem Morris.
"We had a bonus day, so we wanted to limit those guys today and be smart," said Morris.
However, one thing Morris did acknowledge was the lack of reps Bryant and Clayton have taken in camp and preseason, and how it might impact their conditioning for Sunday's regular season opener.
"We're talking about our football conditioning and where it's going to be come Sunday. That is true for everybody, but those two especially because they've missed some time down the stretch," said Morris. "But we have a great trainer and conditioning program. We've been getting those guys ready, but we know it's not going to be football-ready. They're going to have to fight through it and be ready to go. And if they're not, their backups will have to be ready to go, guys like Maurice Stovall, Brian Clark and Sammie Stroughter."
Bucs cornerback E.J. Biggers (shoulder), rookie defensive lineman Kyle Moore (groin), tight end John Gilmore (ankle) and linebacker Adam Hayward (ankle) were held out of Thursday's practice. It is unclear whether those players will play vs. the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.