Quality backup out; Jurevicius activated

Updated: October 23, 2004, 1:11 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

It's bad enough for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that the losses keep mounting. Complicating the plight of the Bucs, and making it even more difficult for coaches to find combinations and continuity, is that the team is amassing injuries, as well.

Ellis Wyms
Defensive End
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
11 8 3 0 0 0

The latest setback is a left shoulder injury to backup defensive tackle Ellis Wyms, who will miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum, team officials confirmed.

Wyms was placed on injured reserve so the Bucs could move wide receiver Joe Jurevicius to the active roster for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears.

The labrum tear was discovered during surgery in Miami earlier this week on what was originally believed to be a more benign shoulder problem.

Combined with Damian Gregory's season-ending knee injury, a torn patella tendon suffered in last week's loss at St. Louis, the Bucs are suddenly woefully thin now behind starting defensive tackles Anthony McFarland and Chartric Darby.

"You know the old saying," said Darby. "When it rains, it pours, right?"

Despite its 1-5 record, Tampa Bay has remained stout on defense, and the versatility and depth of its front four had been among the Bucs' strengths. The loss of Wyms, however, is going to force line coach Rod Marinelli to scramble a bit with his rotations.

Not only will the two starters have to log increased snaps, but ends Dewayne White, Josh Savage and Corey Smith probably will have to move inside and provide some playing time at tackle.

A four-year veteran, Wyms, 25, was a quality backup, arguably good enough to start for some other franchises in the league. He had played in all six games, largely splitting time with Darby at the nose tackle spot, and had 19 tackles.

During the offseason, Wyms signed a six-year, $20 million contract, which included a $1.5 million signing bonus, while he was a restricted free agent. The former Mississippi State standout, who also has played end during his career, likely will need several months of rehabilitation from the shoulder surgery.

Jurevicius, a seven-year veteran, had been sidelined most of the past year by knee and back injuries. He has had five starts and played in 20 games since joining the team in 2002.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.