The uncertainty surrounding Tampa Bay Buccaneers left guard Carl Nicks and if he’ll be back on the field this season took a new twist when he was not present Thursday when the team reported for training camp.
“Carl Nicks has been excused right now for personal reasons,” said head coach Lovie Smith. He would not elaborate on the circumstances of the situation. “He’s been excused for today and that’s about all I really know. He won’t be here today. We’ll be able to let you know a little more later.”
Smith said he doesn’t believe the absence is reason for concern.
“It’s part of training camp, it’s part of life. During the course of the year, you’re going to have guys that have things come up that can’t be here. What you can’t do is just concentrate on that a whole lot…Just too many things we have going on with the rest of our crew — the guys that are here right now now.”
Nicks did not participate in the team’s mandatory minicamp six weeks ago, still healing from a torn plantar plate in his toe and a recurring MRSA infection that forced him to miss all but two games last year.
At that time, he had not begun running or any other weight-bearing activities but was working out on an elliptical machine.
On a positive note, Smith said both of last year’s starting safeties, Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron, will participate in the first training camp practice tomorrow.
Both players missed nearly the entire offseason program due to injuries, with Goldson recovering from foot surgery and Barron dealing with a hamstring injury. Smith said they’d take things slow.
“When players come back from an injury — well first off, the first couple days [of camp] you can’t be in pads so we’ll run around a little bit longer — but eventually, of course, you want to see those guys out there. We’ll take our time to get them back into the mix.”