Shortly before boarding their plane bound for the nation's capital, the Buccaneers took a few moments Tuesday to reflect on a teammate who didn't make the trip for the preseason finale.
Veteran G Davin Joseph's surgery to repair a torn meniscus was successful, coach Greg Schiano said.
Joseph, the club's player representative and a mainstay on the offensive line since his 2006 rookie season, was carted off the field in the second quarter of Friday night's preseason game against New England at Raymond James Stadium.
"You mourn it and then you move forward,'' Schiano said of Joseph, who is out for the 2012 season after being placed on injured reserve. "He'll be part of the moving forward because he'll be here, helping out in addition to getting his rehab.''
Tonight's matchup against the Redskins will see several potential replacements competing for Joseph's spot at right guard. Ted Larsen, Derek Hardman and OT Jamon Meredith are expected to play, and the Bucs could seek to fortify the position Friday when NFL clubs must reduce rosters to 53 players.
"We're looking at a bunch of guys at guard,'' Schiano said, "and we'll make that film part of our evaluation process.''
Larsen worked out at center during Tuesday's practice before the Bucs headed for Washington.
"Davin's the leader of our offensive line,'' Larsen said, "but injuries are part of this game.''
K Connor Barth said Joseph's presence will be missed in the locker room, while Larsen expressed confidence that his fallen teammate will return.
"Davin Joseph is the leader of this line and he's been a great guy to learn from about how to be a pro,'' Hardman said. "If anyone can come back even stronger, it'll be him.''
Playing it safe
QB Josh Freeman won't play tonight, Schiano said, as the Bucs prepare for the regular-season opener against Carolina on Sept. 9.
DT Gerald McCoy, who hurt his left knee against the Patriots, returned to practice, while DE Adrian Clayborn (arm) was limited to working out on the stationary bike. MLB Mason Foster (hamstring) was sidelined Tuesday.
"Foster is getting better,'' Schiano said. "Hopefully, it can become a non-issue sometime in the near future. Will he play opening day? I'm not sure — I hope so. Clayborn will be OK, he just needs a couple of days.''