From Raymond James Stadium
It happened early in Saturday night’s Chiefs-Buccaneers game here in Tampa. QB Josh Freeman felt pain in his thumb and knew something was wrong.
On his third passing attempt in the game, Freeman’s right thumb struck the helmet of Chiefs OLB Tamba Hali on his follow through.
“The next play, I couldn’t really grab it or grasp the ball too well, so I just tried to grip the points,” Freeman said.
But Bucs coach Raheem Morris took his second-year quarterback out of the game and sending him to the locker room for x-rays. The pictures revealed Freeman fractured the tip of his right thumb and will not play during the last two weeks of the pre-season.
Freeman is expected to be ready to play in the regular season opener for the Saints against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 12.
“I was hoping it was just jammed,” Freeman said. “But it was a little different pain than just being jammed. When I saw the x-ray, they said there was a little fracture. When I heard that and saw the x-ray, I was kind of freaking out. They said, “Hey, just take care of it and it’ll be a couple weeks.’ When I heard that, it made me feel a lot better.”
Morris can only hope that the thumb heals in three weeks and Freeman is ready to go for the opener.
“How big of a setback? It’s a team setback obviously when you lose your first quarterback,” Morris said. “We’re lucky. It’s an injury we expect him back the first week of the season. That’s very fortunate. It could be worse.
“I’ll have to get a feel for that, when he can practice exactly. Right now we know he fractured the tip of his thumb on his throwing hand. He has an even demeanor about it.”
Freeman was especially unhappy because he was scheduled for some extended playing time in the next few months.
“It’s kind of frustrating because this game I was supposed to get a lot more reps and throw 15 or 20 passes,” Freeman said. “I was looking forward to it, getting out there and getting to stretch the field with Mike Williams a little more and getting to work with Reggie (Brown). Other than that, I can turn my attention to Cleveland and these first few games and start getting ready for them. There’s different ways you can spin it, but I’m choosing to spin it positively.”
SPECIAL TEAMS ROUND-UP
It was pretty much a good night for the Chiefs kicking game in all areas. What went down:
- KICK COVERAGE â€“ Javier Arenas only got one chance to return a kickoff, but he punched it out for 54 yards. He showed good power and vision. Quinten Lawrence returned four kicks for a 17-yard average and was very pedestrian in his results.
- FIELD GOALS â€“ Ryan Succop hit 28 and 29-yard Field Goals.
- KICKOFFS â€“ Possibly the best game of Succop’s short career when kicking off the tee. His first kickoff was a bit short, landing at the Tampa Bay seven-yard. After that, his kickoffs were landing at the minus-one and minus-one and minus-eight yards. On those three kickoffs, the Bucs started their possession at the 18, 20 and 20-yard lines.
- PUNTING â€“ Dustin Colquitt kicked four times, averaging 44.3 yards per punt, with a net average of 39 yards. He had a 60-yard punt in the second half.
- PUNT COVERAGE â€“ Tampa Bay returners averaged seven yards punt return with the longest being 13 yards.
- KICK COVERAGE â€“ only one of three kickoffs produced any return yardage as there were two Succop touchbacks and an 11-yard return.
- PUNT RETURNS â€“ There was little business being done in the punt return game. Arenas had one return for one yard. He called fair catches on two other returns.
Walt Coleman’s crew was barely visible in this game. They walked off a single five-yard penalty against the Chiefs offense when G Ikechuku Ndukwe was called for a false start in the fourth quarter.
They did have one call reversed on a challenge by the Buccaneers. Todd Haley did not throw his red challenge flag. The Buccaneers were hit with three penalties.
Four players did not dress for the Chiefs â€“ QB Brodie Croyle, RB Kestahn Moore, FS Jon McGraw and G Darryl Harris. In the game, QB Bill Stull and DE Bobby Greenwood did not play. It was the first NFL game for both Stull and TE Tony Moeaki. At center, Casey Wiegmann started over Rudy Niswanger.
The Buccaneers did not dress RB Clifton Smith, OT Demar Dotson and WR Marc Stovall. Two players were dressed but didn’t get on the field of play â€“ WR Chris Brooks and DE Brandon Gilbeaux.