Running back Carnell Williams participated fully in practice on Thursday, according to both Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden and running backs coach Art Valero.
It’s an encouraging sign that Williams could play on Sunday against New Orleans.
Wednesday Gruden referred to Williams as “very limited” and doing most of his work above the neck. On Thursday Williams participated more fully in practice. Valero said he “did everything.”
Gruden was a bit more cautious.
“I’ve been optimistic that he would play and today was a good sign, although we’ll see how he feels tomorrow when we practice again,” Gruden said.
The chances of cornerback Brian Kelly playing on Sunday, however, seem to be diminishing. For the second straight day Kelly did not participate in practice due to a groin injury.
Gruden didn’t list Kelly as doubtful, partly because he’s still learning the NFL’s new injury list.
I can’t really say doubtful; this new injury list is new, you know what I mean?” Gruden said. “But he is making progress and we’ll just try to update you better tomorrow.”
If Kelly cannot play the Bucs have a few options. They could use newly-signed Sammy Davis as the nickel corner to replace Phillip Buchanon, who would replace Kelly on the right side.
Or the Bucs could use Ronde Barber as the nickel corner and slide Davis over to Barber’s left cornerback position. Davis said as much on Thursday.
The only other player limited in practice on Thursday was defensive tackle Chris Hovan, who has an ankle injury. Gruden said Hovan did not practice, but is expected to play.