Bucs’ Carl Nicks Expected to Play Friday Night

Barring any setback between now and 8:00 Friday night, Buccaneers Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks will make his preseason debut against the New England Patriots in Foxborough.

It will be the first time Nicks sees game action since being placed on season-ending injured reserve October 30 of last year.

“I think we are going to,” said Greg Schiano on starting Nicks tomorrow night. “I just want to play it by ear, see how he feels. Right now, it isn’t what I’m concerned with. I want to get him work if he can, I’m not going to be overly cautious, but at the same time I don’t want to be silly either.”

Nicks tore the plantar plate near the ball of his left foot and underwent surgery to correct it. He has since learned that it’s a long-term injury he’ll deal with for the rest of his career.

He’s been getting reps in practice and has worked his way into live-action periods with the team, although there’s still some rust to shake off.

Playing one or two offensive series is a far cry from 60 to 70 snaps in a full game, but it’s a start to what’s turned into a long recovery for the All-Pro guard who signed a five-year deal worth $47.5 million last year.

“[I’m] as confident as I can be,” said Nicks on his return. “I mean, it’s the kind of injury — I don’t know much people have it — so [as] confident as the information that I’ve been told.”

Look for him to get in about 10 to 15 plays tomorrow night.

Nicks said earlier this week that he did have some concerns about his stamina with the injury, something he expects will improve as he gradually sees more action.

“Absolutely. I mean, you have to be healthy to be in shape, so that’s the struggle I’m kind of dealing with now, but within time I think it will clear up, my stamina will get better and [it’s] back to work.”