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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were missing a number of key players at practice today, including wide receiver Vincent Jackson and right tackle Gosder Cherilus, both with a knee injury. Lovie Smith declined to specify the seriousness of these injuries. Jackson missed a couple of games earlier this season with a knee injury, though he's played in the past two with no apparent problems, while Cherilus' knee injury is new. If they miss practice tomorrow, we can be seriously concerned about their participation against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday
Cherilus' injury may open the door for Demar Dotson to return, though he told the Tampa Bay Times that his coaches hadn't talked to him about possibly starting. The veteran right tackle missed the first half of the season with a knee injury, and the Bucs did not want to disrupt the line's continuity by plugging him in the past couple of games. But Cherilus has been up and down this year, while Dotson's been one of the most reliable right tackles in the NFL over the past four seasons.
Defensive end Jacquies Smith, linebacker Bruce Carter and tight end Luke Stocker were also absent with injury. Carter will have to pass the concussion protocol before he's allowed to return, while Smith left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury and Stocker's struggling with his back. In addition, Gerald McCoy was limited with a hand injury, which is news and may explain why his snaps were limited last Sunday. It's not clear how serious this injury is. George Johnson continues to be absent as well.
In better news, Lovie Smith noted that right guard Ali Marpet looked good today and he was listed as a full participant, so it seems he's likely to return to play on Sunday after his two-game absence with an ankle injury. Austin Seferian-Jenkins continues to be limited and whether he'll play remains a guess every week.