TAMPA — The Buccaneers are expecting Carl Nicks to report to One Buc Place for the start of their first training camp under new coach Lovie Smith right along with everyone else today.
Beyond that, though, they’re really not sure what to expect from the two-time Pro Bowl left guard.
As he promised he would, Nicks has continued to work out while the rest of his teammates took a break following the end of the Bucs mandatory minicamp last month, and he’s even lost some weight, general manager Jason Licht said.
But it’s still too soon to know if or when Nicks will be able to take the field and re-start his comeback after missing all but nine games the past two years with left foot problems.
“He’s been doing everything he’s supposed to be doing to get back out there, but it’s process,’’ Licht said Wednesday. “We don’t want to do anything too quick with him. It’s a marathon, not a sprint with him.’’
Marathon or sprint, every race has a starting line and Licht said that as far as he knows Nicks is ready to step up to that line and answer the gun. How far Nicks can go, though, is still uncertain.
“He’s been cleared to do football activities,’’ Licht said. ‘But we want to make sure we’re making a decision with him that’s best for him and that’s best for us. So we’ll know more after he reports.’’
Nicks has struggled to make it back since suffering a left big toe injury midway through the 2012 season. That injury cost him nine games, and a MRSA infection on the same foot last year cost him 14 more.
Nicks is not the only Bucs player who missed most of the offseason workout program because of injury. Several others, including safety Dashon Goldson (foot), sat out as well, but Licht said everyone should be ready to go for the start of camp.