RB Warrick Dunn is fighting a sprained left ankle
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Tony Dungy reported to Buccaneers.com on Sunday night that third-year RB Warrick Dunn is not certain to play on Monday night against the Vikings. According to Dungy, Dunn will be evaluated on Monday once he reaches Raymond James Stadium.
Dunn is suffering from a sprained left ankle, sustained last Sunday in Seattle. Dunn rushed for a team-high 57 yards on 15 carries and added a nine-yard catch in Tampa Bay's 16-3 win over the Seahawks, but was seen limping off the field after a late second-half play. His practice time has been limited this week due to the injury, and he remained a question mark through Sunday's final walk-through.
"Our only real worry is Warrick," said Dungy on Sunday. "We'll run him the pre-game and see what he can do. There's a chance he could be inactive if he can't cut and slash. That's like George Gervin trying to play with a broken arm…that's his game."
An inactive Dunn could mean increased playing time for seldom-used second-year RB Rabih Abdullah, although FB Mike Alstott would remain the leading candidate to run the ball on first and second down. With Alstott and Dunn splitting time in the backfield this year, Alstott has compiled a team-best 677 rushing yards and Dunn has followed with 494. Abdullah has carried just once for no yards.
"My sense is that we would rely on Mike on first and second down if Warrick can't go," said Dungy. "Hopefully, he'll be feeling good enough to at least use on third downs. If we need Rabih, I'm sure he'll do well. He's a roughneck player…he could really have a good day if we get him the ball a lot. He doesn't avoid many hits, but he runs hard all the time. He's kind of like the back in Buffalo, Antowain Smith and Jonathan Linton."
Buccaneers.com will report on Dunn's status one hour and one-half hour before game time.
Dungy also indicated that hobbled safeties John Lynch (knee) and Damien Robinson (hip) were running at full speed in practice during the last two days. Both Lynch and Robinson will start, but second-year player Shevin Smith is expected to see increased playing time in a rotation to keep the starters fresh.