Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Feeling Pretty Good

Despite repeated instances of Buccaneer players struggling to the sideline on Sunday, the postgame injury report is fairly positive


LB Derrick Brooks took a hard hit to the knee on Sunday but should be ready to practice on Wednesday

Even with Tampa Bay winning, 7-3, there were some tense moments for Buccaneers fans in the second quarter on Sunday. One by one, S John Lynch, LB Shelton Quarles and LB Derrick Brooks all limped or were helped off the field at Pro Player Stadium during the Bucs' 16-13 win over Miami.

Fast forward about six hours, as the team arrives back at its One Buccaneer Place headquarters. Though the majority of the players and staff members generally head directly home after the buses arrive at One Buc, on this night the training room is bustling. Head Trainer Todd Toriscelli and assistants Jim Whalen and Pat Jernigan are attending to four players stretched out on the mats. In order, they are Quarles, T Pete Pierson, Brooks and LB Alshermond Singleton.

As bad as that combination of events sounds, the Buccaneers' injury situation is actually quite positive, particular considering the late-season date.

Quarles, Brooks and Lynch all returned to the game and helped the Bucs repel a late charge by the Dolphins. That Quarles and Brooks were in the training room Sunday night was really just a matter of those players wanting to make sure they attended to their minor injuries correctly.

Pierson, in fact, is the most significantly injured of the bunch. According to the team's training staff, Pierson has a good chance to miss some playing time after suffering a pulled left calf muscle in the second quarter in Miami. Pierson has actually felt tightness in that muscle for several weeks, but it chose Sunday to 'pop' while Pierson was straining to push a Dolphin opponent forward.

Brooks, who suffered a bruised left knee, has simply had bad luck on that joint, repeatedly getting hit their by bodies and helmets. With so many hard-hitting tackles under his belt, Brooks also struggles with a shoulder strain, but it is basically the normal wear and tear of 14 NFL games worth of activity. The training staff was treating Brooks' knee with ice on Sunday evening, but they expect him to return to practice on Wednesday.

The same is true for Quarles, who was helped off the field with a sprained ankle after an opponent rolled over on it. The early thought is that he will also practice on Wednesday.

S John Lynch came to the sideline in that second quarter with his left arm dangling at his side. That's a troubling sight for Buccaneers fans, who know Lynch suffered a dislocation of that shoulder against Chicago three weeks ago. He has surprisingly not missed any games because of it, and is not likely to now. The ligament damage in that shoulder is so significant that the socket could easily pop loose again if Lynch's arm is jerked in the wrong direction. He wears a harness to try to keep that from happening.

Against Miami, Lynch's shoulder did not pop out of place, but the training staff said that it was close. Lynch was in a great deal of pain for about three or four minutes, reportedly, but wasn't really hurting much for the rest of the game after that subsided.

Head Coach Tony Dungy will have a better feel for the team's injury situation by the time he holds his press conference on Monday afternoon. Until then, Buccaneer fans can rest fairly easily, knowing that the team didn't pay too heavy a price for its big win in Miami.

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