Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Almost Full Strength

Despite a lengthy midweek injury report, Head Coach Tony Dungy feels good about his team’s health heading into Sunday’s game


LB Derrick Brooks sprained an ankle in practice on Friday

Tampa Bay Head Coach Tony Dungy seems to be equal parts optimist and realist, so you hope it was the latter talking when Dungy proclaimed his roster to be in 'pretty good shape' after Friday's practice. "We held (substitute guard) Todd Washington out today, and (newly-signed guard) Ken Blackman didn't practice either," said Dungy. "Otherwise, we looked alright.

"Brad Culpepper and Tony Mayberry practiced and looked good, so they should be okay for the game. Anthony McFarland might get a little more playing time (due to Culpepper's injury). We'll have to see on Sunday how Todd is. He could be good enough to be active and be an emergency fill-in."

Washington had begun to see increased playing time as a sub at left guard before incurring a quadriceps injury two weeks ago. He was active for last week's game against Atlanta, but was not needed. Culpepper suffered a severe bruise to his right heel on the second-to-last play of the Falcons contest and needed crutches on Monday. However, his conditioned improved rapidly and he has practiced all this week. Mayberry is struggling with a chronically sore back this season and was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday. He returned for Friday's workout, however, and is probable to extend his team-record streak of 139 consecutive games started.

There was also a less fortunate injury development during Friday's practice, as Pro Bowl LB Derrick Brooks sprained his right ankle. He has been added to the injury report as 'probable', but is expected to play on Sunday in Seattle.

A case of the flu continued to make its way around the Buccaneer locker room as well, despite a round of flu shots for the team several weeks ago. LB Jamie Duncan was the only one forced out of practice by the illness today, and he is expected to recover by Sunday. Pro Bowl DT Warren Sapp had been most severely hit by the flu during the week, missing Monday's workout and Wednesday's practice. However, he returned to the field on Thursday and Friday and is not expected to be slowed on Sunday.

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