Midway through Thursday's morning practice, Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback Jeff Garcia had to be carted off of the field with a pulled calf muscle.
Garcia was not the only starter to leave practice with an injury, as starting defensive tackle Jovan Haye left with a pulled groin. Haye is undergoing futher testing, including a MRI. The Bucs starting defensive tackle is said to be optimistic about his injury.
After practice, Bucs head coach Jon Gruden updated the status of his injured players.
"Jeff Garcia strained his calf. We don't believe it is serious," said Gruden. "Jovan Haye has a strained groin. We'll update everyone when we get more information, but it doesn't look like either one is serious.
"We just have to get the information. [Garcia] might not miss anytime at all. Right now, I would say until we evaluate it further, I wouldn't say much at all. Obviously your quarterback and your under tackle came up with injuries. We don't think either one is serious. We'll update you as soon as we get more information. Sabby Piscitelli was held out today, with a mild knee strain, nothing serious. We do have a few mild things. Chad Lucas, a wide receiver, has a [hamstring] strain. He is day-to-day."
Last year in training camp, Garcia missed about one week of practice with a pulled groin. The players and coaches did not seem to be concerned about their quarterback incurring a serious injury.
"I think it was just a freak thing," Gruden said. "He was dropping back and took off like he always does. He changed directions and felt a little pull in there.
"He'll be okay. He is really sharp mentally. I don't know how many training camps he's been through. In the time being we'll get more of a look at [Josh Johnson] and get Chris Simms more acclimated."
While the focus was on Garcia, the offense had a couple of other offensive starters that sat out the morning practice.
"Jeff Faine did not go today," added Gruden. "He has a sore back. I believe. He's okay.
"B.J. Askew still has a [ankle injury]. That is all it is. He is day-to-day. He'll participate in the walk-through [this afternoon]."
Replacing Faine was rookie offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah, and veteran offensive lineman Dan Buenning. In Askew's place were backups Byron Storer and newly re-signed Carl Stewart. After practice, Faine gave a forecast for how long he would be out.
"I have a little sore back," said Faine. "Nothing major, just get off it for a couple of days. I'll be back."
As the Buccaneers continue to go through training camp they will continue to hold out veterans from afternoon practice. They also will hold more walk-through practices under their tent in an effort to keep players fresh. According to Gruden, the modifications have been effective.
"That is one thing I've discovered with our domed stadium down here," said Gruden. "If you administer 10 to 12 IVs in the morning and 10 to 12 IVs in the afternoon. We're talking about a serious dehydration problem. This season we haven't given any IVs in the afternoon and that number has been really shortened in the morning. I think because of the way we practice. With that, cramping has been much reduced.
"It is that time of year [for the injuries]. We've had four days in a row with pads. We've had a lot of contact. That's the way it goes."
Bucs Cancel Friday Morning Practice
Tampa Bay cancelled its Friday morning practice at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. It still is scheduled to hold a special teams practice from 2:45 p.m. to 3:55 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
Phillips Discusses His Contract
Starting safety Jermaine Phillips is in the final year of his contract with the Buccaneers. After a breakout season where he was tied for third in tackles with 120 and led the team in interceptions with four, Phillips said he rebounded in part last year from playing with more confidence than he did in 2006. With his progress last year, some have wondered if Phillips and the Buccaneers have had discussions for a contract extension.
"No I haven't," said Phillips. "I always said if they wanted to come and talk we can, but I'm just ready to play football. I signed a contract and it is not over until the end of the year, so I am just going to play my hardest."
Phillips said he is preparing for the season as if he was a rookie trying to make the team. He is taking notes in the meetings and is focused on football. The starting strong safety said he is looking forward to the games, and has been since the playoff loss to the New York Giants last January. If Phillips has another season like last year, he should be in line to be a highly sought after free agent. Phillips was asked if his contract is a distraction for him.
"Not at all," Phillips said. "I don't worry about it. I let my agent take care of it. That is what I pay him for. I pay him good money for that. He'll take care of that and I'll just play football like I have for the last seven years now."
Quote of the Day
Phillips on Russian safety Sergey Ivanov and his nickname of "Drago."
"I think we all just nicknamed him that before he got here. [Defensive backs coach] Raheem [Morris] told us we had a Russian coming over from Europe to play with us. With him being Russian and him being a warrior, the first guy you think of is Rocky. That is kind of how it came about. We thought of Apollo Creed and Drago. I was like ‘Man, that is going to be his nickname when he comes he is going to be Drago.' Then we get in the meeting room and we asked him ‘Sergey, do you like Rocky?' and he was like, ‘Oh, the Russian Drago?' and I was like ‘that is your name from here on out,' and it has been.
"Sergey has came into the defensive back room and he has fit in. He is one of us. He has a great personality. In the defensive back room there is a lot of personalities, me included. He's going to provide a spark for us. I'm sure he has some stories growing up in Russia, and traveling to London and Amsterdam. He is going to fit in just fine."
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