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Cornerback Brian Kelly and defensive end Patrick Chukwurah appeared at practice on Wednesday in a limited fashion, signaling that the pair may be available for Sunday's game against St. Louis.
Both missed Sunday's victory over New Orleans, Kelly with a groin injury and Chukurah with a partially torn MCL in his knee.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden answered "no" when asked whether the pair's time in practice on Wednesday was an indication on when the pair might return to game action.
Kelly stopped in the locker room to talk to reporters before Wednesday's practice and said that the rehab on his groin went well and that he would probably see some work this week.
"I feel like I have a good chance to be out there," Kelly said.
If Kelly cannot play against the St. Louis Rams this Sunday, Phillip Buchanon would start in his place for the second straight game. Buchanon had a fine game against the Saints, defending two first-half passes.
Chukwurah has been on the shelf since injuring his knee Aug. 25 against Miami. Chukwurah's rehab appears to be progressing, as he is no longer walking around the locker room with a limp.
Chukwurah has been out the past two regular season games.
"I'll do a little bit," Chukwurah said before the workout.
Wide receiver Joey Galloway and left tackle Luke Petitgout also practice in a limited fashion, both listed as a team decision. Galloway has received a rest each Wednesday the past three weeks. Petitgout was rested for the same reason. Petitgout missed a week of training camp with a back issue.
"I guess we have to announce that on this new list," Gruden said of Galloway. ‘He's not hurt, he just has his normal in-season Wednesday schedule. Luke Petitgout was held out today for the same reason."
The rest appears to be working for the 35-year old receiver, who is seventh among NFL receivers in yardage (207) and scored two touchdowns last week against New Orleans.
In St. Louis, cornerback Tye Hill (back) and guard Richie Incognito (ankle) did not practice. Quarterback Marc Bulger (ribs) and guard Claude Terrell (thigh) practiced.
Ruud wins NFC Award
Tampa Bay middle linebacker Barrett Ruud is the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after his 16-tackle performance against New Orleans.
Ruud also forced a first-quarter fumble from New Orleans' Reggie Bush, leading to the Buccaneers' first touchdown of the game.
This is Ruud's first Player of the Week award.
"I was a little bit surprised, I guess," Ruud said. "I didn't even know I was up for it. But it's cool. It's a good honor. But you have to move on quickly. It's something my friends can brag on more than I can."
PLAYER NOTES (Courtesy of staff reports)
QB Jeff Garcia has attempted 43 passes and has four completions of 40 yards or more.
QB Bruce Gradkowski could alternate as the No. 2 QB with Luke McCown for the remainder of the season.
RB Cadillac Williams says he can become an effective goal line back. Williams had two touchdown runs Sunday against the Saints.
FB B.J. Askew will remain the Bucs' starting fullback, ending an experiment at that position with Michael Pittman.
WR Joey Galloway averaged 33 yards per catch Sunday against the Saints. He has nine TDs in his last six games.
WR Ike Hilliard has 100 yards receiving in two games, his best start as a Buccaneer.
LB Cato June will continue to alternate with Derrick Brooks at weak-side LB during passing downs.
PK Matt Bryant has made all three of his FG attempts this season.
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and has won national awards for his Buccaneers coverage from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is also a contributor to the Scot Brantley Show from 4-7 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1490-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.