Tampa Bay Buccaneers left guard Carl Nicks returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since suffering from MRSA, an aggressive and highly-resistant form of staph.
Speaking to the media for the first time Wednesday afternoon, Nicks declared himself ‘M-R-S-A free.’
“What they do is they take cultures and they take blood, and it came out good,” said Nicks who began treatment for the infection roughly three weeks ago.
“I developed a blister on the side of my foot when I had to wear a boot. It kept rubbing when I first hurt my big toe, so that’s how it really started.”
Nicks said a culture performed before the team traveled to New England for the second preseason game is what revealed the infection, which has also plagued teammate Lawrence Tynes.
Tynes is currently undergoing treatment away from the team in Kansas City.
“I can’t speak for him, but I’m happy it’s over with, I don’t have it any more and I’m happy I can get back to football and not just worry about MRSA,” said Nicks.
Since then, Nicks has been able to resume a light workload that includes some jogging, sprinting, and some offensive line drill work.
Wednesday was the first time he took actual snaps with the team. Although his work was limited, it was a huge step for him being back out onto the field, and for an offensive line that has yet to see its two Pro Bowl-guards play together.
“It’s frustrating, but at the same time you can’t mess around with MRSA, said Nicks. “Me and Davin haven’t played one game together in the regular season. That’s bad, but that also could be very great. Hopefully when I get back out there we’re just ‘Bash Brothers.’
He said it was especially difficult watching the team lose such a close game to the New York Jets on Sunday.
“It was horrible. I don’t want to talk about it. It sucks any time you lose in this league, but let alone with something like that, a field goal in the last second. But it’s part of the game. It is what it is.”
Prior to the infection, Nicks was finalizing a return to the football field after suffering a torn plantar plate in his foot, an injury that ended his season and requires surgery.
“The toe’s not even an issue at all,” said Nicks, who believes the extra rest may have helped him heal. “It didn’t hurt it. It definitely didn’t hurt it. My toe’s good.”
Nicks’ return to action is still to-be-determined, but the next step is getting his body in the kind of football shape he was working on prior to the infection.
“You can run sprints until you’re blue in the face but nothing’s going to get you in football shape except playing football.”