Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden addressed the Bucs offense's mounting injuries, and how they would effect who would play at Dallas on Sunday. Gruden was optimistic about the potential for wide receiver Ike Hilliard (concussion) to play, but thought a few other players on offense would not be able to play.
"Well Ike felt better today," said Gruden. "It doesn't mean he is going to play. Obviously Mo Stovall is out, and Joey Galloway is going to be a game time decision. He'll be out there early catching balls. I hope to have him, but I've said it before. B.J. Askew doesn't look he will be able to play. Again we'll do the best we can to see who is up and out in the next 24 hours.
"Ike will travel. He won't miss this game. He has had some great battles against the Cowboys. It is the last game at Texas stadium, and he'll have chance to probably play in it. He wouldn't miss this game, and I don't know if he'll be a participant or spectator but he will be there with us."
Running back Carnell Williams practiced this week for the first time in over a year. He may not go to Dallas for the game. The team will deliberate and decide whether to keep him back in Tampa to work with the training staff. Running back Warrick Dunn is recovering from a back injury he sustained against the Seahawks, and is questionable for Sunday's game.
"He practiced," said Gruden. "I think on the paper that you have to give he got a full-participation grade. Honestly he will be a game time decision, and his role will be decided depending on how he feels. Some of these guys need an extra day, and 24 hours with these guys, I've seen it makes a big difference.
"I think when they see the cheerleaders and that atmosphere a lot of these guys get fired up. It is an electric atmosphere there and usually it brings out the best in the veteran players particularly."
Gruden as also asked about the Bucs punt and kick return duties. Second-round pick Dexter Jackson has struggled to provide the field position that Gruden desires for his offense. Jackson is still a possibility to handle those duties. This week, the Buccaneers have been pondering putting another player back to handle kicks.
"I don't know," Gruden said. "Inside here we'll get an idea of who is in the game and who isn't. Because one guy that isn't could impact a couple of positions. I don't really have a definitive answer on that right now."
Recently activated receiver Brian Clark was a kick returner for the Denver Broncos in the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Over his career, Clark has averaged 22.4 yards per return. Gruden was asked if Clark could be an option to returning kicks for Tampa Bay.
"Yeah he is," said Gruden. "He sure is. Joey Galloway if he were to play would be a candidate. Michael Bennett is a candidate. Earnest [Graham] would be. Michael Clayton is a candidate. It is kind of like the election, we got candidates but we don't know who the elected official will be yet."
On the official injury report, the Buccaneers had no players ruled out. Askew and Stovall were the only players stated to be doubtful. Questionable players included Hilliard, Dunn, Galloway (foot), and quarterback Brian Griese (elbow). The probable players for Tampa Bay were guard Arron Sears (back), linebacker Barrett Ruud (knee), kicker Matt Bryant (hamstring), and long snapper Andrew Economos (shoulder).
The Dallas Cowboys had the following players ruled out: running back Felix Jones (hamstring), guard Kyle Kosier (foot), cornerback Terence Newman (abdomen), quarterback Tony Romo (finger), and linebacker Anthony Spencer (hamstring). They had five players listed as probable: linebacker Kevin Burnett (calf), linebacker Greg Ellis (calf), linebacker Bradie James (elbow), defensive tackle Tank Johnson (ankle), and safety Pat Watkins (neck).