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Keyshawn shrugs off injury

By ROGER MILLS

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 11, 2001


TAMPA -- Keyshawn Johnson's deep thigh bruise, sustained on the fifth play from scrimmage Sunday after a hit from George Teague's knee, does not appear to be too severe and should not keep the receiver from playing Sunday against the Eagles.

"I don't miss games," said Johnson, who has started 77 consecutive. "I haven't missed a game since my rookie season. ... It's sore. When you get hit by somebody's knee, it's going to hurt. I think in the next couple days, it'll get better each time. I'll make sure I'll get the treatment to make it better."

Coach Tony Dungy said Johnson's bruise was very sore and could limit his participation in practice.

"Keyshawn, I think, is going to be okay by game time," Dungy said. "He's going to have a rough week of practice. He's got a bad thigh bruise and has some swelling in there. Actually, it was a little better than we thought it would be (Monday). We think he will be okay by the end of the week."

Johnson's was the only significant injury Sunday. Center Jeff Christy (left knee sprain) ran Monday morning and may participate in some drills Wednesday. The Bucs will wait until late in the week to decide whether Christy can play Sunday.

"I'll say there's a possibility of him playing," Dungy said.

THE OTHER BIG PLAY: Much praise has been showered on cornerback Brian Kelly for his highlight reel open-field tackle of Emmitt Smith in the first quarter. But Dungy said two critical efforts before that series were just as important.

Dallas might have scored on Reggie Swinton's 77-yard return had it not been for hustle by cornerback Ronde Barber and linebacker Al Singleton.

After Swinton erupted through the special teams coverage, Barber chased down the receiver, slowing him to buy time for Singleton's touchdown-saving tackle.

"Those kind of plays are big," Dungy said. "To save four points at the beginning of the game and not let them really get the momentum and give our defense a chance to turn it back, that was big."

NOT SO SPECIAL DAY: The Bucs certainly didn't have the best day on special teams, and Dungy hinted the team may opt to use more of the starters in the future.

"Overall, we played a game where we could have gotten beat on 20 special teams plays and we've got to get that corrected," Dungy said. "We've just got to play better or got to put guys in there who are going to play better."

Dungy pointed out that the Cowboys had veteran starters Dexter Coakley, Darren Woodson and Teague playing special teams.

"Hopefully, that's a last resort," Dungy said. "But we're going to have to do something.

"You have to kind of figure out in your mind. Are you going to stay with (the young players), let them work their way through it? Or are you going to say, "Hey, we've got to play our veteran guys no matter what.' Our thought process has always been to play the young guys and let them work through it."

CALLBACK: Monday, the Bucs signed defensive end Ron Warner to the practice squad. Warner was on the original 53-man roster but was released Saturday to allow the Bucs to add backup center Leon Hires to the active roster.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We like to keep them disappointed with wins. If we can just keep winning and they can keep being disappointed, we'll be all for that." -- Coach Tony Dungy on fans whining about the 10-6 win.

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