The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play the 2012 season without Davin Joseph, their Pro Bowl guard and respected team leader.
Joseph, who suffered a left knee injury in the second quarter of the Buccaneers' 30-28 win over New England on Friday night, will have surgery on Monday to repair the damage to his patellar tendon. He will be placed on injured reserve, which means he will not be eligible to return to the active roster this season.
Joseph's injury put something of a pall on an otherwise very encouraging night at Raymond James Stadium on Friday night, in part because he's one of the team's most effective players and in part because he is very popular in the locker room. Joseph has been a starter since his rookie year in 2006, has been to two Pro Bowls and was considered a key part of what the Bucs believed would be a dominant offensive line. However, Head Coach Greg Schiano and his team don't have the luxury of dwelling on the loss for long.
"It's [a] big [loss], but that's part of what we do, right?" said Schiano. "You mourn, and you move on. That's what you do. That's what we have to do, and Davin wants us to do that. He's going to be in surgery and then on his road to recovery, and we've got to fix our sights on how we're going to move forward."
Third-year player Ted Larsen was the immediate replacement for Joseph at right guard after he was hurt on Friday, and he will obviously be a serious consideration as the new starter. However, the team will try several different options in search of the right combination up front, and though the solution is likely to come from the existing roster the Bucs will not ignore potential outside solutions.
"We're going to try to work a couple things," said Schiano. "Obviously, Larsen has worked there, and we have other options that we can look at, which we will. We're trying to get the best five on the field. I think we have the answer internally, and that's why we've been trying to build depth at all positions. But we always look outside; that's a constant. If there's somebody we think fits our mold, then we'll try to do what we can to get him."