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Buccaneers injuries: Four starters held out of practice

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were missing several starters in practice today, including running back Doug Martin (who’s expected to be out for three weeks), and the three other players who left Sunday’s game with an injury: defensive end Robert Ayers, tight end Luke Stocker, and wide receiver Cecil Shorts.

We have no indication on how likely any of those players are to suit up on Sunday, but a safe bet would be no. Ayers’ absence would be particularly problematic, as his absence was noticeable on Sunday. Without him, the pass rush was significantly less effective.

There was also one new addition to the injury list: left Donovan Smith was held out with a hip injury. If Donovan Smith can’t play on Sunday, they do have a real problem. There’s no one on the roster who can adequately fill that role, and they may have to start improvising: moving left guard Kevin Pamphile to left tackle, and backup center Evan Smith to left guard, for instance.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.