Bucs RT Demar Dotson – Photo by: Getty Images
It appears the Buccaneers and right tackle Demar Dotson may have dodged a bullet. What was initially feared to be a possible season-ending knee injury suffered right before halftime in Saturday night’s 26-16 loss at Minnesota turned out to be better than anticipated, as Dotson is being treated for a knee sprain, according to Bucs head coach Lovie Smith on Sunday. There have been some reports that the MCL was damaged, but the Bucs did not confirm that.
The injury could keep him out for up to six weeks or longer – as the injury is still being evaluated – and could make him a candidate for PUP, which would make him ineligible to return until after the sixth game of the season.
On Monday Smith addressed Dotson’s injury a little more but still did not give out many details.
“We have the medical reports in but I’m just not going to go into detail on things like that. He’s out and we brought another player in. You saw Demar is on crutches right now, he’s not playing this week and he’s going to be out for a period of time. hopefully not a long period of time, but he’ll be out for a while. To be truthful that’s about all I really know. Of course I know what the injury is and all that, but as far as what you guys need to know, he’s not going to be playing for a while and we have to move on.”
The 6-foot-9 offensive tackle had to be helped off the field – first by trainers, then by a cart – after suffering a left knee injury during Saturday’s preseason opener. And while it was first reported as a sprained MCL with the possibility of something more serious pending an MRI, the results on Sunday confirmed a sprain.
“Demar Dotson did go down with an injury – a knee sprain right now is what we’re saying it is,” Smith said. “He will be out for a period of time. We’re in an evaluation process still with him.
“He won’t play this week – I don’t know exactly how long he will be out.”
Dotson, the Bucs longest tenured player, found his way in the starting lineup in 2012 when he beat out Jeremy Trueblood for the right tackle position. After signing a three-year contract extension in 2013, Dotson has become one of the premier right tackles in the NFL, drawing praise around the league for his athleticism and versatility.
Bucs RT Demar Dotson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Widely believed to be an underpaid lineman, Dotson briefly held out during the Bucs’ OTAs and mini-camp in hopes of reaching a contract extension. And despite being a full participant in training camp, the two sides had yet to reach an agreement through the first weeks of practice. The injury will certainly dampen the 30-year old’s leverage for a long-overdue raise.
Part of the reason the Buccaneers spent a second-round draft pick on left tackle Donovan Smith was to keep Dotson on the right side, maximizing his ability for the overall improvement of the offensive line – a unit that struggled mightily in 2014. With Dotson possibly not able to be ready for the team’s 2015 season opener against Tennessee, the Bucs will have to get a reserve tackle ready to fill in on the right side.
“You look at our roster and guys that have played, Kevin Pamphile, of course,” Smith said. “Patrick [Omameh], of course, has played a little bit there. We’ll look at all the tackles on our roster. When you have an injury it’s time for the guys to step up and that’s what we’ll do. We’ll see what the best combination will be.”
On Monday the Buccaneers added free agent Godser Cherilus to help fill in for Dotson.
“He’s in for a visit, Demar went down, we needed some offensive line help. It’s good that a player like that is available. From my time in Chicago, we did a lot of research on him when he came out. And then we of course got the chance to play against him for quite a few years.”
“Tomorrow I should be able to talk a little more about him.”
Omameh is listed as Dotson’s backup on Tampa Bay’s official depth chart, but expect second-year linemen Kevin Pamphile and Reid Fragel to see increased reps throughout preseason, too. Journeyman Edawn Coughman is also a possibility and will get more work in the remaining preseason games.
Pamphile started Saturday’s game in Minnesota at left tackle, and while he out-performed Smith, the team will likely stick to their plan of starting the Penn State product at the blind side spot come September 13. As for Fragel, the former undrafted Buckeye has similar size to Dotson (6-foot-8, 309 pounds) and has impressed in camp. Fragel, who played for offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter last year in Atlanta, was the second-string right tackle on Saturday night against Minnesota. Both Pamphile and Fragel will have an opportunity to step up and earn the right to replace Dotson in the interim.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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Better than I thought. Listening to Lovie’s presser it sounded as if it COULD be season ending. He just did not say, refused to. Anyway, the Buccaneers need to find more tackles to compete. Kind of sort of thin at the position IMO.
Thank god. Great news. He’s nice guy and underpaid felt terrible seeing him get injured when he’s trying to get paid. We need him on the line for sure this year.
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At minimum he goes on reserve/PUP and can return after 6 weeks from season start. Worse he goes on IR and is lost for the year. They must think its worse because Greg Auman is tweeting that they’re already looking for a replacement.
Greg Auman @gregauman • 1h1 hour ago Tampa, FL
As Bucs seek help with Demar Dotson injured, former Colts RT Gosder Cherilus (29 starts in last 2 years) expected to visit Bucs on Monday. Cherilus (6-7, 316) is 31, has 100 career starts, cut by Colts three weeks ago in salary-cap savings move.
Cherilus is interesting option. He was such a bust for the Colts who drafted him first round in 2013 then paid him as such. I believe he missed most of last season with injuries after starting all 16 games at RT his rookie season. He has to be better than what we have (sans a healthy Dotson)….he has already had talks with the Lions and Bills. I wonder what he wants $$ wise…?
Correction: The Colts signed him as a free agent, it was the Lions who wasted the first round pick. 🙂
He was drafted by the Lions bro 8 years ago in the first round. Then he signed with the Colts after his 5 year rookie deal and played two years for them.
I don’t think the leg is as bad as macabee. The Bucs are always looking for help and the fact that they lost Dotson for a while started a fire in management. I hope I am right.
Jiggy, you know macabee has no firsthand knowledge here. I can only share with you what the “so called” experts are telling me and this what they’re saying. If you have better and more up to date info, please share!
FOX Sports reports Bucs RT Demar Dotson escaped Saturday night’s knee scare with a sprain.
Dotson underwent a Sunday MRI to determine the severity of the injury. A source told FOX Sports Dotson’s ligament is “intact” and he is being treated for a “knee sprain.” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports the sprain is to Dotson’s MCL and he will miss “roughly six weeks.” With rookie Donovan Smith set to start at left tackle and questions up and down the offensive line, the Bucs cannot afford to lose a rock like Dotson for any significant time.
Source: FOX Sports
Here’s another estimate. Pick the one you feel most comfortable with. My opinion, it’s bad news however you look at it!
Greg AumanVerified account
No word from Lovie Smith yet, but told that Bucs’ Demar Dotson faces a timetable of about 8 weeks to return from sprained MCL in left knee.
We need a veteran player who can play Guard or Tackle as a backup, so definitely go for the Colt RT if he can also play Guard if needed. But we need to promote Pamphile to start. I also like Fragle and Edawn Coughman as well who are both good prospects. Make room for the Colt by booting the worst backup center in the NFL based on his last year and this Pretrial production or lack thereof.
Great news that it’s not TOO serious an injury. That being said, hopefully this is a lesson to L&L that we need more depth at OL. Any additions would be welcomed at this point
Thank God…nothing compared to a rupture…good news. I’d bet he will be back pretty quickly….based upon his reaction, I wonder if they think there might be some minor cartilage or meniscus tearing…one of those off season “clean ups”? Good luck man.
He goes to PUP for sure. Thank goodness he was in great shape. He needs two months to recover. Just my opinion. In the long run this will help our team as we will be forced to add more OL. Save money and cut Gilkey. Go Bucs!
Horse, I misspoke in my original post…and the rest of you guys check me out here. If a player has practiced in training camp or played in a pre-season game, all PUP options are off the table.
Like Charles Sims last year, he is eligible for IR-Designated to Return. Here is the rule:
During each season a club will be permitted to return one player from the Reserve/Injured List to its 53-player Active/Inactive List. Such player must have suffered a major football-related injury (defined as an injury that renders the player physically unable to practice or play football for a period of at least six weeks [42 calendar days] from the date that the injury occurred) after reporting to training camp and must have been placed on Reserve/Injured after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday after the final roster reduction. A player who is eligible to return must be noted as “Designated for Return” at the time the player is placed on Reserve.
Macabee, thank you. I guess that will mean Dotson stays as a counted player until it’s decided in a couple weeks how much more rehab time will he need. Go Bucs!
Well guys I was watching the qb and the offensive line. Winston did great-can’t wait untill the good wr get in there. Lovie lets look at the waiver wire and get more veteran offensive line men untill they jell go bucs
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