Two days removed from Gerald McCoy injuring his left hand, the star defensive tackle’s availability for Thursday’s quick turnaround game at Atlanta remains up in the air.
“Right now we’re trying to figure out what’s the best decision and what’s the best way to keep it protected,” McCoy said in front of his locker Tuesday afternoon. “Obviously it’s better if I’m out there, but it’s still a long season. So we’re just going to take it day by day and see what happens.
“There’s always the risk that you can make it worse,” he continued. “It’s just been a couple days now. I don’t think it’s a secret that it’s going to be hard to play with a broken hand after a couple days. It can always get worse and that’s the risk of going out there on Thursday.”
The anchor of Tampa Bay’s defensive line suffered a break or fracture in his left hand during the eighth play of first quarter against St. Louis on Sunday. He returned for the first play of the Rams’ next drive but then left field for good.
McCoy wouldn’t rule out a playing Thursday but didn’t sound confident in that possibility.
“It’s going to be hard to grab people with a broken hand, but I’ve been doing this long enough to where I can figure it out,” he said. “I’m just doing a lot of treatment, doing some hand exercises, and then we’ll see how much I can use it out there. But I guarantee you I’m doing everything in my power to get back as soon as possible.”
Another thing McCoy wouldn’t disclose is the extent of his injury, even whether it was a break or a fracture. “I don’t know. I leave that to the doctors. I just do what they tell me. It’s my left hand. It’s in the left part of my left hand.”
In McCoy’s absence, the Bucs primarily positioned Clinton McDonald, Da’Quan Bowers and Akeem Spence on the interior line Sunday. McCoy said even if he can’t go in Atlanta he’ll remain active during lead-up practices and the game Thursday night.
“I’ve got to stay involved,” McCoy said. “One thing I’ve been doing is staying as involved as possible even with limited participation. Even if it’s walk-throughs, getting on my offensive line, getting the looks – just being very detailed.”
McCoy is one of three opening-day starters to have gone down with an injury that’s caused missed time. McDonald’s the only one to avoid it thus far.
Atlanta coach Mike Smith spoke with the Tampa Bay media Tuesday afternoon and said he’s fully anticipating a tough test from the Buccaneers defense despite missing some key players.
“I’ve been very impressed with the way the defense has played, even with the injuries,” Smith said. “They’ve done what they need to do and that’s keep people out of the end zone. Lovie’s teams, they always play hard. I’ve been very impressed with their defensive line.”