Tampa Bay Buccaneers sixth-year linebacker Quincy Black suffered in injury in Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers that prompted the team's medical staff to immobilize his neck and head and transport him to a nearby hospital for further evaluation. Shortly after the game, Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano said he believed Black would be fine, but that the injury was significant.
On Monday, Schiano elaborated on Black's condition to the extent that he could, referring to the injury as serious but saying, "Overall, he's going to be okay."
Schiano said that Black was experiencing some complications with his left arm but had otherwise not lost any body function, and that there was no concern about Black's spine. Schiano, who was on the scene when former Rutgers player Eric LeGrand suffered an injury that led to his paralysis from the neck down in 2010, was obviously relieved to see Black moving his limbs on the field Sunday, and to be given a mostly positive report on Monday morning.
"I do know it's going to take some further tests to get to the bottom of it," said Schiano. "There's a lot of smart, good doctors that are working on it right now for Quincy which makes me feel good that we are going to get the best care and get the best solution and get him back to being well."
Black suffered the injury while tackling Chargers running back Ryan Matthews for a loss of a yard with four minutes left in the third quarter of Tampa Bay's 34-24 victory. On the play, Mathews took the handoff and started to run towards the left end of the San Diego line, only to be hit square-on by the Bucs' charging linebacker. Black fell to the turf and lay on his back, but did immediately begin to show movement.
"I was running right behind him and I saw it unfold real slow," said defensive end Michael Bennett. "But I'm glad he's okay. The impact that they were running, it could have stopped a freight train. And Ryan Mathews is no little dude; he's like 230."
Schiano said that Black would definitely not be available for next Sunday's game in Carolina and referred to the injury as a "longer-term thing," though without any specifics as to when the veteran defender might return.
"It's not a little thing but I think he'll be fine," said the coach. "I think right now we have to do these tests to find out what it is."
Adam Hayward, like Black a member of the Bucs' 2007 draft class, took over Black's spot on defense after the injury on Sunday. He would obviously be a candidate to fill in while his teammate recovers, as would third-year linebacker Dekoda Watson. The Bucs also have some depth at the position, as they have recently been deactivating a pair of linebackers, Najee Goode and Jacob Cutrera, on game days.
"We're just getting information as we go," said Schiano of the Bucs' plans at linebacker moving forward. "The good thing is we have linebackers on our team, in our depth, that haven't been active that we'll just go through a natural progression after we talk about it as a coaching staff. Every week is different depending on what offensive personnel they present; we may feature this or feature that. We'll figure all of that out as the week goes on."