After missing two practices this week, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David was a limited participant during Friday's session, according to the team's practice and injury report. A hamstring injury forced David to miss his first career game last week and has kept him sidelined during practice since being limited during last week's opening session (Wed).
There's a chance he could play this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"(David) is definitely getting better and has a chance," said Smith via the Tampa Bay Times. "We take our time with hamstrings. But he is doing some things on a limited basis. Not necessarily practice, but just kind of getting back into it."
Losing their weakside linebacker will hurt Tampa as much as Vontaze Burfict's absence hurts Cincinnati. Davis, tied for the league-lead with 116 tackles, is the only NFL player since Week 1 in 2013 with 250-plus tackles (260), five-plus sacks (7) and five-plus interceptions (5). David, who has 14 tackles-for-loss, is one shy of the league lead. However, not having David isn't completely paralyzing. Tampa Bay's defense allowed 204 yards of total offense to the Chicago Bears without David last week -- their lowest total since Dec. '10 against the Seattle Seahawks (174).
However, David is feeling pretty good, per the Tampa Bay Tribune:
"I’m feeling really good,’’ David said after he returned to practice on Friday for the first time since he was hurt early last week. "I’m feeling really confident about Sunday.’’
David was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. The Bucs will decide just before game time whether he'll play, but even coach Lovie Smith was encouraged.
"You have to be careful with (hamstrings),’’ he said. "You can feel a lot better and stop having pain, but you're still not there quite yet. But Lavonte is close, and that’s definitely a big boost for our defense.’’
Also dealing with a hamstring injury is defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, who didn't practice at all this week. He could miss his first game of the season, leaving Akeem Spence to replace him.
"Yes," Smith replied when asked if he has confidence in Spence. "You know we've been dressing eight defensive lineman for a period of time now, and all of them play. But Akeem Spence, if we dress seven, he’s a big part of what we've been doing. We feel very comfortable with him playing either the nose or the three-technique position because of that."
Spence has played 265 snaps this season on defense, accumulating an overall Pro Football Focus grade of -10.5 and a team-worst -9.0 against the run.
David and McDonald are listed questionable.
Starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith, dealing with an illness this week, is also questionable after missing all three practices this week.
"Evan Dietrich-Smith has flu type symptoms, so he’s been sick," Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith said Friday afternoon. "We’ve been kind of resting him up to try to get him as well as possible as soon as possible. We have a couple of our players that have been kind of down under the weather a little bit, but hopefully they’ll be good to go."
|LB Vontaze Burfict||Knee||DNP||DNP||DNP||OUT|
|DE Margus Hunt||Ankle||DNP||DNP||DNP||OUT|
|LB Nico Johnson||NIR||DNP||DNP||--||Questionable|
|S George Iloka||Groin||LP||LP||FP||Probable|
|DE Robert Geathers||Toe||DNP||LP||FP||Probable|
|OG Mike Pollak||Knee||DNP||FP||FP||Probable|
|WR Mohamed Sanu||NIR - Illness||DNP||FP||--||Probable|
|WR Greg Little||NIR||--||DNP||FP||Probable|
|LS Clark Harris||NIR - Illness||DNP||FP||--||--|
|CB Adam Jones||NIR - Tooth||DNP||FP||--||--|
|OT Andrew Whitworth||NIR||DNP||--||--||--|
|DE Da'Quan Bowers||Knee||LP||LP||FP||Probable|
|LB Lavonte David||Hamstring||DNP||DNP||LP||Questionable|
|C Evan Dietrich-Smith||Illness||DNP||DNP||DNP||Questionable|
|DT Clinton McDonald||Hamstring||DNP||DNP||DNP||Questionable|
|TE Brandon Myers||Calf||DNP||DNP||DNP||Questionable|
|TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins||Back||LP||LP||LP||Questionable|
|RB Charles Sims||Ankle||LP||LP||FP||Probable|
|TE Luke Stocker||Concussion||DNP||DNP||DNP||Questionable|
|S Major Wright||Shoulder||LP||LP||FP||Questionable|
|S Dashon Goldson||Illness||--||--||DNP||Probable|
DNP - Did Not Participate
LP - Limited Participation
FP - Full Participation
Out = Player will not play
Doubtful = 25% chance a player will play
Questionable = 50% chance a player will play
Probable = 75% chance a player will play
(-) = Not Listed - No game status available