Alstott out this week with neck injury

Updated: October 7, 2003, 8:33 PM ET

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay running back Mike Alstott was placed on injured reserve Tuesday night with a neck problem that may require surgery.

Buccaneers general manager Rich McKay said the season-ending injury, which has bothered the six-time Pro Bowl fullback for about three weeks, is not believed to be career-threatening.

"In looking at it today and talking to the doctors, the safe way to go is to shut Mike down," McKay said.

"It should not affect his career. He should be able to return, based on where it is and what it is. But it is something that more than likely will require surgery."

Alstott started Monday night's game against the Indianapolis Colts, despite sitting out two days of practice to undergo tests last week. He rushed for 1 yard on three carries and had two receptions for 25 yards before leaving in the second half.

McKay said the Bucs are not sure when Alstott originally hurt his neck. It's also unclear when he aggravated the injury in the overtime loss to the Colts.

The eighth-year pro was examined by specialists last week and cleared to play after traveling to Pittsburgh for more tests on Sunday. The exact nature of the injury has not been revealed.

"I would say it's a disc. But if you get beyond that, I'm lost," McKay said, adding that no date has been set for surgery.

"It won't be tomorrow. It won't be next week. It probably won't be in three weeks. We'll take our time. But because of that it was time to shut him down," he said.

With Alstott out, Jameel Cook becomes the starting fullback with Darian Barnes as his backup.

Cornerback Brian Kelly topped the rest of the injury report. He is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins because of a left pectoral strain.

Receiver Keyshawn Johnson is questionable because of a left thigh bruise that kept him from playing in overtime against the Colts.

But the new wasn't all bad.

Michael Pittman, who rushed for a season-high 106 yards on 16 carries but was unable to finish against the Colts because of a stomach virus, is expected to play against Washington.

Meanwhile, the Bucs claimed safety Travaris Robinson off waivers from the Atlanta Falcons, signed receiver Charles Lee to a two-year contract, and agreed to terms on two-year deals with linebackers Vinny Ciurciu and Justin Smith.

The team released receiver Marvin Minnix, defensive end Ron Warner and linebacker Jack Golden, who was waived injured. Running back Travis Stephens was signed to the practice squad.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index