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Gerald McCoy, Noah Spence, Doug Martin unlikely to play vs. Panthers

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to struggle with injuries, especially along the defensive line. Gerald McCoy, Noah Spence, Robert Ayers and Clinton McDonald were held out of practice entirely today, according to the Tampa Bay Times, though they were listed limited in practice yesterday.

That means the Bucs’ only healthy starting defensive lineman is William Gholston, who generally heads for the bench on passing downs. That’s a really hefty blow for a defense that’s already struggling. One upside: they’re likely to be facing Derek Anderson instead of Cam Newton on Monday night against the Carolina Panthers.

The other major injury problem the Bucs are facing is at running back. There, Doug Martin continues to be sidelined with a hamstring injury, Charles Sims has missed every practice this week with a knee injury, including today’s, per the Times. That leaves third-string and street free agent pickup Jacquizz Rodgers as the team’s leading running back, with undrafted rookie Peyton Barber available as well.

In other words: the Bucs are banged-up almost beyond belief in a season that’s already been particularly harsh on them, in terms of injury. The upside they’ll have to cling to is that the Panthers themselves are also very much a team filled with injuries, and the Bucs have a bye week coming up. Hopefully most of these players can return after the bye, when starting left guard J.R. Sweezy should be available for the first time this season.