On a day when the injury bug kept biting the Buccaneers as head coach Jon Gruden revealed that running back Michael Pittman would be lost for six to eight weeks with an ankle injury, Tampa Bay did receive some positive news on the injury front. Veteran Bucs left tackle Luke Petitgout revealed that Friday’s ACL surgery went well and that he plans on having a quick recovery. Petitgout was lost for the season last week at Carolina in the Bucs’ 20-7 victory when defensive tackle Kris Jenkins rolled up on his knee.

“The surgery went well and I’m just rehabbing,” Petitgout said. “I got to keep my ACL. I didn’t have a graft. I didn’t have a complete reconstruction. It’s a four- to five-month [injury]. They just had to reconnect it.”

If Petitgout had to have a graft or a reconstruction he would have been looking at an eight to 12 month recovery timetable. The fact that it was minor ACL surgery bodes well for the nine-year veteran, who may be ready to go by the Buccaneers starts their offseason workouts next March.

“I [tore] the MCL, too, but that’s [nothing major],” Petitgout said. “This basically cuts my rehab in half by being able to preserve my own ligament.”

Without Petitgout’s presence on the field, Tampa Bay essentially has two rookies in Donald Penn at left tackle and Arron Sears at left guard that have six NFL starts between them both, in addition to two second-year players in right guard Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood. Only center John Wade, who is a 10-year veteran, has more than 18 NFL starts along Tampa Bay’s offensive line.

With Petitgout on injured reserve, he’ll have to join the ranks of fullback Mike Alstott as a sideline supporter in street clothes. Petitgout said that he will do what he can to help Tampa Bay’s young offensive line from a mentor standpoint.

“The coaching staff is going to do a great job,” Petitgout said. “They are going to see everything we need to see. It’s just going over the smaller things to look for [that I can help with].”

Petitgout’s replacement, Donald Penn, got his first NFL start on Sunday at Indianapolis against one of the league’s best pass rushers, Dwight Freeney. Freeney was able to get a half sack in the game and also finished with two tackles, but the half sack came on a stunt inside and was not Penn’s responsibility.

Petitgout echoed Gruden’s praise for Penn’s solid performance against the Colts.

“He did a good job,” Petitgout said. “He’s got the ability, he just has to keep improving. It’s the finer points of the game and the preparation and being an every down player every day. Come to work every day and work hard and take of yourself and kind of just be a professional.”

This isn’t the first time Petitgout has finished a year early on injured reserve. Last year, while playing for the New York Giants, he broke his leg against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 12. Petitgout chalked up his unfortunate injuries in back-to-back years as bad luck.

“You can’t get down because when you get down, you beat yourself,” Petitgout said. “[Crap] happens and it happened to me. Two years in a row I’ve had someone fall on my leg. I don’t know – wrong place, wrong time.”

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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