Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith described middle linebacker Mason Foster’s status as “50-50” Friday afternoon, leaving the door open for the injury-riddled defense to get back one of its starters for this Sunday’s NFC South matchup in New Orleans.

“We list him as questionable, 50-50,” Smith said during his afternoon press conference. “He’s getting better each week and has done about everything we’ve asked him to do this week.”

Foster had to leave Week 2’s loss against St. Louis with a separated shoulder and hasn’t played since. The fourth-year pro has practiced on a limited basis all week, though, which is an improvement from the past two. Foster didn’t participate at all during the weeks leading up to the Atlanta and Pittsburgh games and the team ruled him out of both contests prior to game day.

Backup Dane Fletcher has started the past two games in Foster’s absence, combining for 11 total tackles, half of a sack and one pass defensed.

Injuries and ineffectiveness have combined to result in an unsettled situation at linebacker for Tampa Bay through four games. The Bucs started the 2014 season with Foster in the middle, Lavonte David on the weakside and Jonathan Casillas on the strongside. David’s been the only consistent stater each week and backup Danny Lansanah unseated Casillas last Sunday in Pittsburgh.

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About the Author: Eric Horchy

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