The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take the field Sunday for their regular season opener vs. the Baltimore Ravens without rookie guard Davin Joseph.
Joseph injured his right knee during Wednesday’s practice and has been ruled out of Sunday’s game vs. Baltimore.
Before the injury occurred, Joseph, who was Tampa Bay’s first-round draft pick in April, was going to make his first career start at right guard. Although Joseph’s MRI results were negative, he’s been diagnosed with a sprained knee and is on a week-to-week evaluation basis.
“We’re going to call it a sprained knee,” Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said. “That’s what I’m calling it. That’s what I’m told. There might be some official ligament that got bumped or bruised, or MCI or MCL or ACA or ACL or something in there. But we’re calling this a sprained knee and he’ll be back on a week-to-week basis.
“We did have an MRI and we do have the results and they are that it’s not a serious injury that will keep him out for the season. But it will be an injury that we look at week to week.”
Bucs third-year G Jeb Terry, who had an impressive offseason, will make his first career start at right guard in place of Joseph.
To make matters worse, the Bucs might have to play without starting left guard Dan Buenning, who is battling his way through a sprained ankle he suffered in the preseason finale vs. Houston.
If Buenning can’t play vs. the Ravens, Sean Mahan, who started all 17 games at right guard in 2005, will start at left guard in place of Buenning, who has been held out of two consecutive practices.
“We obviously don’t want to have a setback at this time,” Gruden said of Buenning. “He’s making progress. We’ll see where he is certainly tomorrow and Saturday morning and go from there.”
The Bucs welcomed back middle linebacker Shelton Quarles to practice Thursday. He missed Wednesday’s workout with a groin injury and still is listed as questionable on the injury report.
Should Quarles not be able to play Sunday, second-year LB Barrett Ruud will start in his place. However, Gruden believes Quarles will find a way to play Sunday.
“Knowing Shelton, if it’s close he’ll play and play good,” said Gruden. “But if he can’t go, he’ll be the first to let me know and we’ll adjust our plans.”
BUCS PRACTICE INDOORS AT RAY-JAY Inclimate weather forced the Bucs to practice away from their new practice facility and down the street at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday.
According to head coach Jon Gruden, the Bucs actually practiced inside of Ray-Jay in preparation for the Baltimore Ravens.
“We did have to adjust practice today given the weather,” Gruden said. “We did get our work in. Fortunately, the people at the stadium were good enough to clear a tremendous area [inside] where we had a good practice.
“We were upstairs. We had a huge area cleared out. We actually had a very good practice. We would like to be outside, no question about it, but given the weather and the lightning, we had to force ourselves to go inside today.” BUCS BRING WR ROGERS IN FOR WORKOUT Tampa Bay has seven wide receivers on its 53-man roster, but that’s not stopping them from looking for ways to possibly upgrade the position.
The Bucs confirmed Thursday that they recently worked out former Detroit Lions first-round pick Charles Rogers, who was released last weekend.
A signing doesn’t appear to be imminent.
“We’re going to bring in a lot of players,” Gruden said. “We’ve worked out several players outside of him. I just don’t say a lot publicly about that stuff. We just like to see who’s out there, who’s available in case somebody interests us.
“He was the number two pick overall. He’s on the free agent wire right now and we felt it was important for us to meet him and see how he is physically, just get a feel for him from our own standpoint. We had pretty good grades on him, obviously, coming out. We just took a look into his situation, as we have a number of other players.
BUCS TO HOLD KICKOFF PARTY ON FRIDAY The Buccaneers will hold their annual Official Season Kickoff Party at Channelside District Courtyard at 7 p.m. on Friday.
The event is free and open to the public, and will feature appearances from several Bucs, including head coach Jon Gruden, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, wide receivers Michael Clayton and Joey Galloway, linebacker Ryan Nece, safety Jermaine Phillips, quarterback Chris Simms, defensive end Dewayne White and running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams.
The Bucs invite their fans to help them celebrate the start of the 2006 regular season. Tampa Bay kicks off the season at home vs. the Baltimore Ravens at 1:00 p.m. Sunday.
In addition to coach and player appearances, the event will feature a free concert from national recording artist Edwin McCain. Bucs cheerleaders and Captain Fear also will be performing throughout the event.
Although the event starts at 7:00 p.m., fans are encouraged to arrive no later than 6:30 p.m. to avoid traffic.