Bucs guard unsure on return date
By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 20, 2002
LAKE BUENA VISTA -- He has been hobbling around training camp the past few days, gingerly walking on his crutches, eager to get back in the lineup.
But the wait for guard Cosey Coleman, who tore the meniscus in his left knee in warmups before the game on Aug. 12 against the Dolphins, likely will be four to five weeks.
"I'm going to try to be closer to four weeks than to five, and hopefully, if everything goes well I might be ready for opening day," Coleman said. "As far as I know, it's realistic. ... But to be honest, at times, the way it feels, it's more like, "Who knows?' "
Coleman's "freak injury" came on a routine drill, one he said he has been doing for 10 years. This time, his left knee just gave out.
"I've done that drill a million times," Coleman said. "I don't think I did anything out of the ordinary, but I guess it was time for something to happen. I was doing a one-on-one drill with (defensive tackle Anthony) McFarland. He went to the inside, I stepped to the inside and I don't even think we had made contact yet and my knee just buckled. I bounced right back up but had to reach for Kenyatta's (Walker) shoulder."
Coleman said he always has had "loose knees" and has been in situations where the flexibility in his knees has averted damage rather than caused it. Coleman said it was difficult for him in the locker room at Raymond James Stadium hearing the crowd and not being able to participate. He said he was thinking the worst.
"What was going through my mind was ACL or MCL tear," he said. "I immediately thought of something serious. I thought what could be wrong with my knee that I can't put any weight on it? I can't walk on it."
SPUR DOG: Ccoach Steve Spurrier, whose undefeated Redskins face the Bucs on Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium, is drawing as much attention this preseason as Jon Gruden.
Spurrier's offense has put up big numbers, which is beginning to quiet critics who questioned whether his offensive scheme will work in the NFL.
Walker, who played for Spurrier with the Gators, isn't surprised at his success so far.
"It's a lot of different formations, a lot of receivers," Walker said of Spurrier's offense. "It gives any defense problems."
As for assertions that Spurrier runs up the score against opponents, Walker defended his former coach.
"You've got to like somebody like that. It's football. When you see blood, you want to cut even more," Walker said. "I don't know if you were in his position if you would do it, but if you've got somebody down, you want to beat them down. That's just him."
SIX AND COUNTING: It was just another Monday workout except to Gruden. The day marked his six-month anniversary since becoming Bucs coach.
"It's been a good six months," he said. "I'm really pleased with the coaching staff. I can't say enough about them, the group of guys we've got. The effort has been super."
BACK AT FULL TILT: The team worked out in pads in the morning for the first time since the Jacksonville game on Friday, then put on shorts and helmets in the afternoon session, which was cut short slightly by rain.
Gruden said he liked what he saw from the morning practice.
"I thought it was good energy. I thought our players responded," he said. "We had a real good, physical inside running period over there on both sides. We practiced some third and 4s, some third and 6s. We had a good 7-on-7 (drill). I thought our guys responded to a good, physical, lengthy practice, and we executed at times pretty good."
QUARLES STILL OUT: Linebacker Shelton Quarles remains sidelined with a pulled right calf muscle. He watched practice with the calf heavily taped.
Quarles said the injury is not serious and said he'll return whenever the training staff gives him the word, which is expected to be this week. His status for Saturday remained uncertain.
"We don't think it's anything serious," Gruden said, "but we might hold him for a day or two until that pain resolves itself."
INJURY REPORT: Right guard Todd Washington (swollen knee) and defensive end Greg Spires (sore left hamstring) sat out.
Gruden said Washington had swelling in his knee and "didn't feel like he could go today."
Spires said he will return today.
"I'm not hurt or anything," he said. "It's just for precautionary reasons. I don't want to go out there and tear it up completely."
TAKING A KNEE: After two days of practicing on a tender left knee, defensive tackle Warren Sapp appears to be holding up well.
"He's doing fine, if today's any indication," Gruden said. "He was very disruptive today. ... He has come in here on a mission, and I'll be really surprised if he doesn't have a great year."
Gruden said Walker continues to improve at right tackle, but added Walker still has adjusting to do.
"He's played two games (at right tackle). At times you see the ability; you see the flash; you see the range and the talent that he has," Gruden said. "But there are some instinctive things he's got to work through right now. Hopefully, within the next 10 days or so, he'll be ready to go in the opener (Sept 8)."
-- ROGER MILLS, DARRELL FRY, RICK STROUD
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