Tampa Bay will likely take the field against the Miami Dolphins on Saturday night without wide receiver Joey Galloway.

Galloway has missed three straight practices with a sore groin, but Bucs head coach Jon Gruden suggested that the team’s decision to rest their starting receiver is precautionary.

“There’s a good chance he won’t play in this game,” Gruden said of Galloway. “He’s itching to go. I think if we had a regular season game, without a doubt he would play. But we want to make sure the “Rocket” has all his nuts and bolts oiled up and ready to go for the season opener in Washington.”

Several other players, including left tackle Derrick Deese (foot), WR Charles Lee (hamstring) and guard Jeb Terry (elbow), missed practice Wednesday and will likely miss Saturday’s exhibition game as well.

Deese, who signed a six-year contract with the Bucs during the offseason after spending 12 years with the San Francisco 49ers, has been sidelined since Aug. 10 with a bone spur on his foot that required surgery.

While, Deese, who hasn’t allowed a sack in 35 straight games, hasn’t returned to action, Gruden remained optimistic and suggested Deese could return before the end of the preseason.

“He’s been out here watching,” Gruden said of Deese. “He’s getting mental reps. Mental stimulation — that’s what he’s getting. But he is moving around. His rehab is going well; we knew it was going to be a two-week to two-and-a-half-week procedure in terms of the rehab. He’s itchy, ready to go, chomping at the bit. Hopefully next week he starts practicing and he plays against the Texans.”

In the meantime, second-year T Anthony Davis, who has received a lot of praise from Bucs players and coaches, will likely start his third straight game at left tackle for Tampa Bay.

The good news for the Bucs is tailback Charlie Garner practiced for the third straight day and should be able to receive a few reps vs. the Dolphins.

“We think he can play,” said Gruden. “Look for him to play a little bit in the game Saturday night. Again, he’s not going to play a lot. He’s going to play a little bit, and he’ll be ready to go.”

Defensive tackle Oliver Gibson, who signed with the Bucs on Friday, will likely see significant action against the Dolphins on Saturday night.

“He should be, really,” Gruden said of Tampa Bay’s newest nose tackle. “He’s had three or four really good practices. He’s a load in there. We look to get him in there early and play a lot in this game, see where he is. We think he’s got a chance to help us.”

Although it will be Tampa Bay’s third preseason game of the year, which can sometimes feature most of the starters through three quarters, Gruden suggested his team’s starters wouldn’t play that long on Saturday night.

“Well, it used to be,” Gruden said of most teams playing their starters through three quarters in the third preseason game. “Ten years ago, that used to be the formula. As I look around the league and watch some of these preseason games, I don’t recognize a lot of names. Everybody is pretty selective with who plays and how long, particularly veterans. The salary cap has had a lot to do with that, I think. And the number of players that you have in camp, quite honestly, and the length of camp is something you’ve got to take into consideration. There will be some frontline guys who play a little bit longer in this game than others.”

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden when asked if four of the projected five offensive line starters will play against the Dolphins:

“The only people who are projected as starters are people I don’t know. There are still jobs wide open. John Wade is our center. We obviously need to see some areas improve. We’d like to get Derrick Deese back; hopefully next week you’ll see him. But we want to play better as an offensive line and we’re going to make an attempt to do that Saturday night. But there are still some decisions that have got to be made in terms of who’s going to start the opening game, and these last two preseason games are going to be big evaluations for us.”

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