The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently dealing with a serious health situation involving two players — Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks and kicker Lawrence Tynes — and MRSA, or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a form of staph known for its high level of resistance to antibiotics.
A source told Alex Marvez and Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, who first reported the story, that outbreak was discovered while the team was practicing in New England last week. The facilities at One Buc Place were scrubbed and sanitized while the team was gone.
Players returned to Tampa early Sunday morning and were informed of the outbreak during a team meeting Monday. The Bucs then notified the league offices.
It is unclear where Tynes and Nicks contracted the infections.
Both players had been sidelined with toe injuries prior to the infections.
Tynes did not participate in the team’s first preseason game and missed several practices prior to it, with the earliest mention of his ingrown toenail August 3, during a press conference with Coach Schiano. He did not travel with the team to Foxborough.
Nicks did make the trip and practiced with the team. Both he and Schiano told reporters Thursday that he intended to play. Then around 90 minutes before kickoff Friday, the team announced that Nicks would not play, although there was no reason given.
It would have marked the first time Nicks played in a game since undergoing surgery to repair a torn plantar plate in his toe last year.
During Tuesday’s press conference, head coach Greg Schiano called Nick’s injury an “infected foot blister” and said that he would be out indefinitely.
Tynes and Nicks are now undergoing treatment with special antibiotics designed to treat MRSA, which does not respond to traditional antibiotics like penicillin, oxacillin, and amoxicillin.
If left untreated, MRSA can have serious complications and even become fatal.
“We are aware of the health and safety issue in Tampa Bay and our Medical Director has been briefed. We are also looking into ensuring that the team met its obligation to inform the players of the situation in Tampa Bay,” said Assistant Director of External Affairs for the NFLPA, George Atallah.
Bucs general manager Mark Dominik released the following statement:
“Our primary concern is always the health and safety of our players and staff. Our players were informed of the situation and we sought the advice of experts, including the NFL’s medical advisor, who provided counsel and approved of our comprehensive measures including the treatment of our practice facility,”
The facility will undergo a second cleaning when the team travels to Miami to face the Dolphins Saturday. There have been no indications that the team will cancel or postpone the trip. No other infections have been reported.
The New England Patriots, who held joint practices with the Bucs for three days prior to Friday night’s game, have not issued a statement about the outbreak, nor have they reported any infections with their own players.