The Buccaneers played their opener without guard Carl Nicks and struggled to generate a consistent rushing attack with running back Doug Martin, so they’d surely like to have him back in the lineup as soon as possible in hopes of keeping that from happening again.
Nicks took a step toward that return on Wednesday when he was what the Buccaneers website termed a “very limited” participant in practice for the first time since the discovery of a MRSA infection in his foot. Nicks said that he feels ready to play in this week’s game against the Saints, but that the decision about playing isn’t going to be up to him.
“It’s frustrating, but at the same time you can’t mess around with MRSA,” said Nicks. “So I’m going to do exactly what they tell me to do, what the doctors tell me and the coaches tell me. I know they have my best interest at heart, so I’m going to follow all their directions.”
If Nicks does play on Sunday, he’ll be going against Sean Payton for the first time since leaving the Saints since Payton was suspended for the only meeting between the teams that Nicks played in last season.
“Do I have motivation to come back and play the Saints? Sean Payton — haven’t seen him in a while,” Nicks said. “No, I’ve got nothing but respect for those guys. I love the way they compete and that’s how I got my competitive edge. I’d love to play them but we’ll see how it goes.”
The next two days will give us more insight into whether Nicks will take on the Saints, but Wednesday’s development was the best news in a while for the Tampa guard.