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Carl Nicks injury: Buccaneers are hopeful, rehab looks promising

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hopeful that Carl Nicks can suit up this year. They sure seem to have built their offseason plan around that premise.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers really can't afford to lose Carl Nicks this season, but the offensive guard has been battling a toe injury for nearly two years now. He first suffered a torn plantar plate in 2012, costing him half of that season, and a very stubborn incident of MRSA cost him almost all of the 2013 season. That has led to some concerns over his ability to ever play football again, as he will be faced with pain from his torn plantar plate for the rest of his life.

The Buccaneers appear to be optimistic that he'll be able to suit up, though -- a fact they demonstrated by trading away starting interior lineman Jeremy Zuttah. When asked about Carl Nicks' injury, Licht noted today that he was optimistic about the former All-Pro.

"Still hopeful," Licht said, via Pewter Report. "A different case than Mike Williams, but we are gathering all the information we have with the doctors we have sent him to. He has been rehabbing, things look promising, but we are crossing our fingers and hoping for the best."

If Carl Nicks can't go, the Bucs have a real problem at offensive guard. Licht noted that Jamon Meredith and Oniel Cousins are competing for a starting spot, but both would start if Nicks were to suffer a setback. I woudn't be very comfortable starting Jamon Meredith, but putting Oniel Cousins on the field would be an outright disaster.

If Carl Nicks can play, the team should be okay across their interior offensive line. If he cannot play, though, the Bucs almost certainly will draft an offensive guard with the intention of starting him -- possibly as high as the seventh overall pick, where tackle Greg Robinson would be a good fit to start his career at guard.