Bucs optimistic Garcia will play despite being limited in practice

Updated: December 13, 2008, 3:18 AM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay quarterback Jeff Garcia was limited during practice Friday because of a right calf strain and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Atlanta.

Jeff Garcia

Garcia

Coach Jon Gruden said he was optimistic that Garcia, who missed part of training camp with a similar injury, will be able to play. If he doesn't, the Buccaneers likely would turn to Luke McCown or Brian Griese.

Gruden didn't sound overly concerned that Garcia has been limited in practice this week.

"The guy's a veteran player. We never like to see a guy not practice, particularly at that position, but he's an experienced guy," Gruden said. "He did take some reps (Thursday) and the day before, so he has participated to a degree. This is just a tough situation right now, but we're hopeful he can play."

Garcia was benched following a season-opening loss at New Orleans. He regained the starting job when Griese was injured in Week 5 and has led the Bucs to a 6-2 record since. Last Monday's 38-23 loss to Carolina dropped Tampa Bay (9-4) out of a tie for first place in the NFC South.

Griese hasn't played since hurting his elbow on Oct. 5. However he practiced this week and is throwing the ball well.

"In my opinion he was full-go. He looked sharp today and I'm really encouraged to have him back," Gruden said of Griese. "He's a good quarterback and Luke McCown's a player, too. We're hoping Jeff's ready to go, and I'll be optimistic on that."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press