Garcia returns after getting 'bell rung', Williams leaves with rib injury

Updated: September 9, 2007, 9:06 PM ET
Associated Press

SEATTLE -- After one game, Tampa Bay is already dealing with key injuries, again.

Buccaneers quarterback Jeff Garcia and running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams both left Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks with injuries in the third quarter.

Williams' injury is the more serious. The second-year running back has an unspecified rib injury, coach Jon Gruden said, and was being evaluated following the Bucs' 20-6 loss.

"I don't like to think about injuries, certainly at the quarterback position or any position," Gruden said. "When Carnell is laying out there, when Brian Kelly comes limping off, you don't like to see it."

Tampa Bay also lost cornerback Kelly to a groin strain and receiver David Boston didn't play after injuring his foot in pregame warmups.

Garcia was "dinged" after getting hit while scrambling for a first down midway through the third quarter. He was taken to the locker room and examined by team physicians before returning to the sideline and re-entering with 7:48 left in the fourth quarter.

"I just got my bell rung," Garcia said. "Just the combination of taking a shot to my head and my head bouncing off the ground didn't create a real positive effect."

The 37-year-old Garcia, making his first start with the Buccaneers, left after a dual hit in the legs and shoulders at the end of a scramble. Garcia, playing in his 100th career game, dodged Patrick Kerney on a third-and-2 and ran 3 yards before Julian Peterson hit him low and LeRoy Hill hit him across the shoulders. Garcia stayed on one knee for a couple of minutes before trainers helped him off the field.

A moment after that, Garcia walked, then jogged into the tunnel that leads to the visitor's locker room.

Garcia completed eight of his first 10 passes and was 12-for-19 for 152 yards before leaving. Fourth-year veteran Luke McCown replaced him with Tampa Bay trailing 10-6 and 6:48 left in the third quarter. McCown stayed in the game even though Garcia returned to the sideline with his helmet on while standing next to Gruden. Garcia finally informed Gruden he felt well enough to finish the game.

"Once Jeff felt he could return to play we let him finish," Gruden said.

Garcia finished 19 of 27 for 201 yards.

Williams got hit simultaneously by Kerney, Brian Russell and Lofa Tatupu at the end of a 4-yard run. After a moment on the turf holding his arm, Williams walked slowly to the bench with trainers at each side. A few minutes after that, he walked slowly and unsteadily to the locker room.

Gruden was unclear as to the severity of the injury.

"I don't know that it's broken," he said.

Williams rushed for 60 yards on 12 carries, including a 20-yard run, before he got hurt. Michael Pittman replaced him.

The fifth overall pick in the 2005 draft, ran for 798 yards in 14 games last season before he missed the final two games with a foot injury. In his debut season, he ran for 1,178 yards and was AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

"We lost some guys that could have helped us," Gruden said.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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