Tampa Bay wide receiver Joey Galloway missed practice on Thursday and is unlikely to play vs. the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Galloway, 36, missed last Sunday's game with a foot injury he sustained vs. the Atlanta Falcons.
While he has not practiced this week, Galloway said he is making progress as far as his foot injury is concerned.
"I feel better than last week, but it's Coach Gruden's call," Galloway said Thursday when asked if he would play vs. the Packers.
Galloway has missed 33 games due to injury during his 14-year career. That includes the 2000 season when he was sidelined in all but one game with an ACL injury. Galloway also missed six games in his Buccaneer debut in 2004 due to a nagging groin ailment.
While he's established himself as Tampa Bay's primary receiver since the '05 season, Galloway has been hindered by a series of injuries over the past year, including a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the 2007 regular season finale and leave the team's playoff contest early, a groin injury that sidelined Galloway for all of training camp and preseason and now the foot ailment.
"This is a tough one," said Galloway. "I've had the longer injuries with both ACLs, but to go three injuries in a year like this, it's a tough situation.
"Mentally, it's frustrating. Being hurt and not able to play is always frustrating. Sitting on the couch and watching the guys you play with and not being able to help is frustrating. Unfortunately, it's part of the game and you have to deal with it and just try to get back as soon as possible."
In the meantime, Galloway is trying to keep a sense of humor. Bucs WR Antonio Bryant started in his place at the X (split-end) receiver spot in Chicago last Sunday and caught 10 passes for 138 yards.
"I joked with Brian Griese and I joked with Coach Gruden that they waited until I wasn't able to play to throw the ball 67 times," Galloway said in reference to Griese's franchise-record 67 pass attempts vs. Chicago. "There is no such thing as a desire to get back quicker. It's frustrating when you can't go out there and play and I'm trying to get back as quickly as possible."
Bryant's final catch of that game was a 38-yarder down the left sideline that set up Tampa Bay's game-winning field goal to down the Bears in overtime, 27-24.
"I didn't realize how close [the defender] was, but I was more concerned about making sure I caught the ball and held on to it," Bryant said. "As close as I was to the end zone, I figured I would get in or get close enough to kick the field goal and go home."
Bryant signed with Tampa Bay during the offseason. The former second-round draft pick previously played with Dallas, Cleveland and San Francisco. Bryant, who had some well-documented off-the-field issues at the beginning of his career, was out of the NFL in 2007.
Now that he's back on the football field, Bryant is attempting to make the most of his opportunities.
"I'm not looking to prove anything in one shot," Bryant said. "It's an on-going process and just being consistent. That's all I'm looking for out of myself."
Should Galloway be ruled out of Sunday's game, Bryant will start at split-end again while WR Michael Clayton likely will start at flanker. Clayton suggested the Bucs were confident in Bryant's ability to fill Galloway's shoes.
"I think he stepped in Joey's spot very well and did a great job," Clayton said of Bryant. "We have the athletes here to fill in and we have a motto that if somebody goes down, the next guy steps in does better. We try to stress that. Coach Gruden definitely stresses that on a day-to-day basis."
In other injury news, kicker Matt Bryant (personal) Galloway and fullback B.J. Askew (hamstring) were held out of Thursday's practice. Bucs defensive tackle Ryan Sims (groin), linebacker Derrick Brooks (hamstring) and guard Davin Joseph (foot), who returned to practice on Wednesday, were limited during Thursday's workout.
“Right now he’s rehabbing his ankle,” Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said. “He’s coming back. It wasn’t perfect yesterday. It wasn’t perfect today. He’s a work in progress. His status for the game is still very questionable.”