Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Little Pain, Lots of Gain

The Bucs made great offensive strides on Friday without encountering the preseason bugaboo: serious injury

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The Bucs encountered few injuries to worry about on Friday, though there is concern about the condition of FB Kevin McLeod (left)

Let's review the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' goals for Friday's preseason finale:

Win. Check.

Get the A-Train rolling and the running game on track. Check, check.

Build offensive cohesiveness. Che-e-eck.

Check out the young players one more time. Steck – er, uh, we mean, check.

Oh, and lest we forget, since this is a primary preseason goal, particularly in the finale: avoid serious injury.

Check and hallelujah.

Tampa Bay played its starters throughout the first quarter Monday night, longer than it generally does in the final preseason contest. The offense, in particular was on the field for much longer than a cameo appearance as they felt the need for one more significant dress rehearsal.

Yet, here is the Bucs' entire injury report from Friday night:

· C/G Kevin Dogins, right shoulder sprain · G Kendall Mack, right knee sprain · RB Aaron Stecker, neck strain · QB Eric Zeier, bruised right thumb

Though the status of these players will not be fully determined until at least Saturday, there was no sense of seriousness about any of the ailments in the postgame locker room. Zeier, for instance, suffered his injury when his thumb was caught between two Kansas City helmets, but he is expected to be fine. Stecker had a similar injury after the Miami game and didn't miss any time.

On a more serious note, FB Kevin McLeod was not in attendance for Friday's game as he remained at St. Joseph's Hospital, where he has been since Wednesday. On Wednesday morning, McLeod complained of chest pains to the Bucs' training staff and was admitted to the hospital a short time later. He will remain at St. Joseph's over the weekend as he continues to receive tests. The team expects to have a notion of McLeod's status on Monday.

That situation will certainly remain foremost on the Bucs' minds over the weekend, but it appears as if they will not have a long list of other injuries to worry about. Consider that a mission accomplished.

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