Tampa Bay wide receiver Edell Shepherd, who had been receiving rave reviews from head coach Jon Gruden during the team’s mini-camp and training camp, injured his right foot during the first half of the Buccaneers’ 20-6 victory over Cincinnati on Monday night. After the game, Gruden indicated that Shepherd may have a fractured foot.
“We lost Edell Shepherd, I don’t know for how long,” Gruden said. “It looks like a broken foot. Other than that, we came out of the game without injuries.”
Shepherd was apparently injured on a third-and-31 play from the Cincinnati 32-yard line. Quarterback Chris Simms rolled out to his left and heaved a pass into the end zone that was broken up by a Bengals defensive back. Shepherd went up for the pass, but landed awkwardly in the end zone.
He left the game with just one catch for four yards, and was seen on crutches with his foot wrapped in ice in the fourth quarter.
Shepherd’s injury could cost him a roster spot, and may open the door for players like rookie Mark Jones, who had a 55-yard punt return against Cincinnati, and Frank Murphy, who had an impressive night on Monday with a 36-yard kick return while hauling in three passes for 47 yards.
Tampa Bay’s wide receiving corps has been rocked with injuries during the preseason, and Shepherd’s is the latest. Joe Jurevicius has missed all of training camp and may miss part of the 2004 regular season after undergoing back surgery to correct a herniated disc. Charles Lee suffered a severe hamstring strain in the first week of training camp and sat out Monday’s game against the Bengals. Justin Skaggs also had a severe hamstring injury and was waived in the preseason. Receiver Danny Farmer missed a couple of training camp practices due to a pulled hamstring.
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