The Tampa Bay Buccaneers not only lost their third-straight game, falling 26-24 at home to the visiting Carolina Panthers, but added injury to insult when quarterback Chris Simms was seriously hurt in the loss.
According to the website of The Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery in Houston, Texas, spenectomy patients will typically be hospitalized from “4-5 days” and advises “no heavy lifting or straining for six to eight weeks after open surgery.”
Simms left the game under his own power with 24 seconds left in the third quarter, but went straight to the locker room with the assistance of team trainers and team physician, Dr. Joe Diaco.
After rookie Bruce Gradkowski finished off the drive, Simms returned to finish the game early in the fourth quarter. But after the game, Simms was not made available to the media. The Buccaneers would not comment on speculation that Simms had been taken to the hospital immediately after the game to treat either dehydration or a rib injury, only saying that he was in with team doctors and trainers.
However, Simms’ street clothes were missing from his locker, and one source told Pewter Report that Simms was no longer at the stadium.
Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden did not comment on Simms’ injury in his post-game press conference, except for saying:
“He got hit early and he hurt his ribs. We don’t know the extent of that, but he played hard today and he played tough. He showed a lot of grit. He really did. It’s a credit to him. He made some big plays when we needed them. We tried a lot of things today from flea flickers to going for it on fourth down and responded to a lot of different scenarios. He’s hurting right now, there’s no question. He left the game. I don’t know that it was because of his ribs or dehydration or both. He’s a very sore, tired man right now. I’m just proud of the way that he hung in there against a very good defensive team.”
Simms finished the game completing 13-of-24 passes for 139 yards and tossed one touchdown and one interception en route to Tampa Bay’s 26-24 loss to Carolina.