TAMPA — A week after being diagnosed with a recurrence of the MRSA staph infection in his left foot, Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard Carl Nicks underwent surgery Tuesday night.
Nicks, who has played only nine of 21 games with the Bucs after signing a lucrative free-agent contract in the spring of 2012, was not placed on season-ending injured reserve.
“Carl got an opinion outside of town and they decided they would do the surgery last night,'' coach Greg Schiano said Wednesday. “We don't have a timetable yet.''
Nicks was never hurt during his four years with the Saints, earning a pair of Pro Bowl berths, but missed the final nine games of 2012 with a toe injury that required surgery. He was on track to return this season until a MRSA infection was discovered on his left foot in late August, causing him to miss the first two regular-season games.
After Nicks played against the Patriots and Cardinals, a culture last week revealed his MRSA infection had returned after Tampa Bay's bye.
“He's a tremendous guy and Carl's my brother on this football team,'' right tackle Demar Dotson said. “I know he's hurting right now and I can't wait for him to get himself healthy. First and foremost, MRSA is nothing to play with. It's not even about football right now, it's about making sure Carl gets himself better for himself and his family.''
Right guard Davin Joseph, still recuperating from surgery on his right knee last fall, didn't practice Wednesday because he hurt his left knee during Sunday's 31-20 loss to Philadelphia.
Tampa Bay is experimenting with different options as the Bucs prepare for a trip to Atlanta. Veteran Ted Larsen worked at center during part of Wednesday's practice, with Jeremy Zuttah shifting to left guard and Gabe Carimi taking Joseph's spot at right guard.
“Davin's going to be OK,'' Schiano said. “He got hit in the game and he didn't quite feel right, so we held him out today. We're trying different combinations and we'll figure it out by the end of the week.''
Jeremy Trueblood, who started 68 consecutive games for the Bucs beginning with his 2006 rookie season, will face his former teammates Sunday at the Georgia Dome as Atlanta's starting right tackle. Trueblood signed with the Falcons Sept. 3 and was inactive in the season opener, but started the past three games.
“We picked him up because of some injuries in the offensive line and we've had to plug him in,” Atlanta coach Mike Smith said. “He's had to play a lot of snaps for us and he's done a nice job.''
Trueblood lost his starting job to Demar Dotson after Tampa Bay's 2012 season opener, but appears to hold no grudges against Schiano.
“He brought in a lot of stability to that program that they needed,” Trueblood told ESPN. “He gets a lot of flak, but they've got a good team down there and a good coaching staff. I don't have anything bad to say about him.''
Former Bucs K Martin Gramatica and the Gramatica Family Foundation are seeking teams for a Kickball Tournament Oct. 26 at the Ed Radice Sports Complex in Tampa. Proceeds go toward building homes for wounded veterans. The event is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.
For more information, check the foundation's website: gramaticafamilyfoundation.org.
The Bucs promoted rookie WR Skye Dawson from the practice squad to the 53-man roster and announced CB Danny Gorrer (groin) has returned to practice after being placed on Injured Reserve/Designated for Return Sept. 13. ...T Emmett Cleary and DB Nick Saenz were signed to Tampa Bay's practice squad and T Randy Richards was released. ...Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan viewed Sunday's game against the Eagles from the press box rather than at field level to get a different perspective. Sullivan plans to continue watching from the new vantage point.