Foster gets first NFL start

Updated: November 9, 2003, 12:22 PM ET news services

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers running back Stephen Davis is inactive for today's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Second-year back DeShaun Foster will get his first NFL start.

Davis, who leads the NFC with 992 yards rushing, is suffering from an ankle injury and had not practiced since Carolina's 14-10 loss to the Texans last Sunday. Davis ran for 153 yards last week, but his ankle began to swell the day after the game.

"I think there has been improvement as the week has wore on," coach John Fox said Friday. "(But) we're not going to do anything wrong as far as what is in the best interest of Stephen. If he's ready, he's ready. If he's not himself, we'll hold him out."

Davis had said on Thursday during an NFL conference call with reporters that there was "no doubt" he would play Sunday.