Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Little Pain, Much Gain

The Bucs escaped the Georgia Dome turf with a win and only a few significant injuries


DE Chidi Ahanotu is one of a list of Bucs who suffered minor injuries in Atlanta but aren't expecting lengthy absences

Warrick Dunn and some of the Bucs' faster players enjoy playing on artificial turf, such as the surface they encountered in Atlanta's Georgia Dome on Sunday.

That is, they enjoy it when they're upright. When things get horizontal, nasty rug burns are only the beginning of the possibilities. Fortunately for the Bucs' hopes down the stretch, they escaped Atlanta not only with a convincing win but with no debilitating injuries.

Head Coach Tony Dungy discussed the injury situation during his Monday press conference and sounded at ease with his roster's health.

"(We had) really just the Astroturf-type injuries, nothing major," he said. "Shelton Quarles sat out the game and is doing a lot better today. We hope to have him back this week. Most of the guys that were banged up, the defensive linemen, made it through okay. We've got some minor things, but nothing that should keep people out on Wednesday."

Dungy's assessment was accurate and enough to keep the assembled media informed. However, Buccaneers.com has access to the team's training room, and chose to get a more detailed report. That report follows.

LB Shelton Quarles: As Dungy mentioned, Quarles was held out of the Atlanta game, but he was close to being ready by Sunday. He is expected to be 'full go' on Wednesday, and could have practiced on Monday if one were scheduled. The team does only a few light drills and some running on Mondays after a Sunday game, but the training staff took Quarles on the field earlier in the day to assess his progress. The starter at strongside linebacker ran through the test at full speed, with no problems running, cutting or stopping.

DE Chidi Ahanotu: The Bucs' left defensive end starter was one of the few Tampa Bay players to come off the field due to an injury on Sunday, when he felt discomfort in his left shoulder. However, that injury is not what concerns the training staff on Monday. Ahanotu's shoulder, the same one that required surgery in 1998, was rolled from the side by a teammate while Ahanotu was making a tackle, but there was no actual damage. Instead, Ahanotu is suffering from a bad bruise on his left knee, which has caused the joint to swell up. He is tentatively expected to practice on Wednesday, however.

DE John McLaughlin: The Bucs' special teams star from Sunday incurred a deep bruise on his right thigh during the game and is in discomfort on Monday. He should be able to practice by Wednesday, the training staff believes.

S David Gibson: Gibson might have to wait a bit longer to get back on the field. The early thought on the rookie safety, who has a left quad strain, is that he'll be sidelined for Wednesday's practice, with an eye towards a possible Thursday return.

DE Steve White: White had the sack on Sunday that unfortunately sent QB Chris Chandler to the hospital with a concussion, but White got a little banged up, as well. White re-aggravated a left ankle injury that has bothered him off and one since last year. He is also questionable for Wednesday's practice.

DE Marcus Jones: The nagging injuries are piling up on the defensive line, which is no great surprise considering the constant contact they're involved in. However, Jones ailment isn't football related. He has tonsillitis and was sent home Monday afternoon to rest. Jones began feeling a sore throat on Sunday and it had worsened by the time the team was flying home. No surgery will be required for Jones, who is basically suffering from a sore throat.

G Frank Middleton: Middleton, another player familiar with mixing it up all game, has a pair of injuries, a left elbow sprain and a right ankle sprain. Despite those multiple pains, Middleton is a decent bet to practice on Wednesday, according to the coaching staff.

The assessments above concern the team's practice schedule this week, though they use some of the same terms as the official league injury report. That report will be compiled on Wednesday and will indicate the status of various players for Sunday's games. Look for the Bucs report in the 'This Week's Matchup' section on Wednesday.

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