Head Trainer Todd Toriscelli says hydration is 'job one' at practice
For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' trainers, practices are just like games in one respect: the less they are needed the better.
If a Buccaneer player gets hurt in practice, Head Trainer Todd Toriscelli and assistants Jim Whalen and Keith Abrams are the first ones on the scene. At times, such as on Thursday, the team's lead physician, Joseph Diaco, is also on hand. It is potentially their most crucial midweek role, but they prefer not to be fill it very often.
Tampa Bay has suffered very few midweek injuries so far in 2000, avoiding the type of out-of-nowhere blow such as the one suffered by Tennessee last week. WR Kevin Dyson sustained a knee injury during a Titans practice and was lost for the season. Still, it doesn't surprise Toriscelli or his crew when they are needed.
"I've always thought it was amazing more players don't get hurt," said Toriscelli. "In games, really, but in practice, too."
That doesn't mean Toriscelli, Whalen and Abrams are mere spectators for two hours every afternoon. Toriscelli describes their practice participation as threefold.
"The first thing we're concerned about is hydration," said Toriscelli. In fact, as he was uttering this thought, Toriscelli was refilling plastic water bottles for use on the field. "That's job number one, if you will. We have gatorade, water caddies, water battles. We always have our eye on that, particularly when it's hot like this. Our jobs are easier when it's cool out.
"Second, we're out here monitoring players that are injured, making sure they stick to the plan that we have set up for them for practice.
"Third, we have to be ready if a player gets injured and have a plan for dealing with it."
Toriscelli has been busy this week, with nine players on the Bucs' injury reports, five with hamstring pulls. Only four of those nine were held out by the training staff's recommendation on Thursday, and Toriscelli believes he'll have the entire roster on the field by Friday.
What does that mean to Toriscelli and his staff? More water bottles, of course.