The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hope to get most or even all of their injured starters back this week, but the team’s first practice wasn’t very encouraging. Running back Doug Martin, defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald, defensive end Robert Ayers and even wide receiver Vincent Jackson were held out of today’s practice, per Greg Auman — or at least out of the half hour of practice the media got to see.
Also absent: prize free agent signing J.R. Sweezy, who remains on the physically unable to perform list. Wide receiver Louis Murphy did return to practice, though, as did Cecil Shorts, who’s been held out for the past two games.
The Bucs have struggled to put together quality play with all of these injuries, which have plagued them since week one. The only team they managed to beat when they weren’t largely healthy was the Carolina Panthers, who had significant injuries themselves.
Of course, the fact that these players aren’t ready to practice fully today doesn’t mean they won’t be ready for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. There’s plenty of time left for these players to get healthy. But that is something that actually needs to happen.