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Gerald McCoy leaves Bucs-Broncos with injury

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers keep getting hit by injuries. Arguably their best defensive player had to leave the game against the Denver Broncos with a calf injury, and his return is officially listed as doubtful — which is a pretty bad sign.

McCoy went down, tried to walk off, went down and grabbed his calf, and then was shown having his leg examined on the sideline. He’s now left for the locker room.

McCoy is now the fourth starter to suffer an injury during the regular season, in addition to running back Doug Martin, tight end Luke Stocker and defensive end Robert Ayers. Add in an offseason injury to left guard J.R. Sweezy, and the Bucs are now missing five starters.

And then there’s pass-rush specialist Jacquies Smith, who was supposed to play a big role but went on injured reserve after just a couple of plays this season.

Making matters even worse: tight end Brandon Myers also left this game with a hip injury, and is listed as questionable. That’s a little more promising than McCoy’s injury, but the Bucs are now down to just two tight ends today: Cameron Brate, and undrafted rookie Alan Cross.

With McCoy out, the Bucs are going to have to find a different way to get to the quarterback. They’ve already moved defensive end William Gholston inside on passing downs, but no one can really replace McCoy’s consistent disruptive ability.