There's still a chance Buccaneers rookie cornerback Elbert Mack will play vs. the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

The National Football League suspended Mack for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan earlier in the week, but Mack has appealed his one-game suspension.

The Bucs are hoping Mack, an undrafted free agent out of Troy, is able to play vs. the Bears, especially since rookie CB Aqib Talib has been limited in practice this week due to a hamstring injury.

"I hope they get back to us pretty soon," said Gruden. "We're hoping to have him. We also understand that the league will serve justice the best way they see fit. We hope to find out soon.

"Hopefully it will work out so that he can play. He's a great kid and he deserves to play."

Gruden suggested that Talib and linebacker Derrick Brooks (hamstring) could play vs. the Bears on Sunday. The Bucs also believe defensive end Gaines Adams (ribs) will play vs. Chicago.

"They were limited," Gruden said of Brooks and Talib. "We're encouraged by what we saw. I don't know what their status is on that official injury report we'll give you, but we're encouraged by their participation today."

Tampa Bay wide receiver Joey Galloway was held out of practice for the second straight day on Thursday. He informed the media on Thursday that he was unable to walk on his injured foot on Monday.

Galloway, 36, is unlikely to play vs. the Bears, and wide receiver Michael Clayton supported that notion when he told the media earlier in the week that he would start at the flanker (Z) position while Antonio Bryant filled in for Galloway at the X (split-end) spot.

However, Gruden would not rule Galloway out of Sunday's game and reminded everyone, including his players, that the decision would ultimately come from the head coach.

"A couple of players have already spoken that [Galloway's] not going, but I'll make that decision," Gruden said. "I'll decide who starts, too. As long as I have the title here as head coach I'll do that. We're obviously concerned. He didn't practice and we've been through this for a while."

Chicago has injuries of its own. Return specialist Devin Hester missed his second straight day of practice on Thursday with a rib injury, but he is expected to play vs. Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are certainly preparing as if Hester will play.

"We're prepared to see Devin," said Gruden. "You want to play against the best players. That's why you get into the NFL and that's why you want to be in this league. You want to see the best, and perform your best against the best to see where you stack up."

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