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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs’ Nicks progressing during MRSA treatment

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Published:   |   Updated: August 28, 2013 at 06:18 AM

TAMPA — According to his Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates, Carl Nicks is progressing well from the MRSA infection that indefinitely sidelined the Pro Bowl guard and Tampa Bay kicker Lawrence Tynes.

Nicks and Tynes were diagnosed with MRSA, an aggressive and potentially dangerous staph infection, two weeks ago while the Bucs were in New England to practice against the Patriots.

MRSA is highly contagious and the Bucs hired a specialized company to scrub down their facility twice since becoming aware of the problem.

“From what I can tell, everything’s going well with Carl,’’ Bucs right guard Davin Joseph said Tuesday. “A guy who loves the game like he does is bound to be disappointed not to be on the field, especially as the season nears. But his attitude has been positive and he’s coming in here every day with a purpose about him.’’

Just when Nicks was making steady progress from surgery on a left toe injury that sidelined him for the final nine games last season, he developed a blister on the side of his left foot that became infected.

Tynes, signed five weeks ago following a season-ending Achilles injury to kicker Connor Barth, suffered a toe infection on his right kicking foot early in training camp.

When Nicks and Tynes failed to respond to treatment, the Bucs ordered cultures that revealed the presence of MRSA — a staph strain that is particularly resistant to common antibiotics.

While Nicks is being treated in Tampa, the team confirmed Tynes is home in Kansas City, where a PICC line has been installed. Typically, a PICC line runs between the upper arm and a large vein in the chest near the heart to facilitate prolonged IV antibiotic treatment.

Unlike Tynes, Nicks has not had a PICC line inserted.

“They are responding well,’’ Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. “Carl I know more about because he’s here. Carl’s healing up, but a timeline I don’t know. I can’t put a definite date on that, but he’s healing and recovering. Lawrence is not in town, but everything that can be done is being done to make sure everybody recovers.’’

The Bucs are still undecided on their kicker for the Sept. 8 regular-season opener against the Jets, with untested Derek Dimke competing against veteran Rian Lindell.

Gabe Carimi, who played exclusively at tackle until a flurry of injuries in Chicago prompted the Bears to switch him to right guard last year, opened in Nicks’ spot at left guard in Saturday night’s preseason game at Miami.

“I see Carl limping around here and he says he’s getting better,’’ right tackle Demar Dotson said. “It seems like he’s in good spirits, but I know it’s hard on him. I’m sure it’s hurting him inside. It would be hurting me. They bring you here and pay you the big bucks to play football. It would be hard on anyone with some pride — and Carl’s got a lot.’’

Nicks, 28, earned two Pro Bowl berths in New Orleans before signing a five-year, $47.5 million deal with the Bucs as a free agent in 2012.

He was not made available to the media on Tuesday.

“Carl’s been through a lot,’’ center Jeremy Zuttah said. “A guy like that is a game-changer. There’s a lot of difference when he’s out there and I think he’ll be back sooner rather than later. It’s easy to get down when you progress and then have a setback, but Carl’s a professional. He’s determined to get better and he’s not discouraged. It’s just another bump in the road.’’

Defensive end Adrian Clayborn experienced his own road blocks last year, when a knee injury in Week 3 sidelined him for the remainder of his second NFL season.

“Being hurt last year, I feel for the guys who are down,’’ said Clayborn. “I hope he comes all the way back because it’s a game he loves to play. It’s rough for him right now, but he’ll be alright. We’re strong individuals mentally and let’s be honest, we don’t have too much to complain about.’’

Lindell, signed last week after being released by Buffalo, said he and Tynes have crossed paths a few times during pre-game warmups.

“I’m hoping he makes a full recovery,’’ Lindell said. “I don’t remember any MRSA cases in my 10 years with the Bills. I make sure I’m clean. I just showered and now I’m heading to the cold tub. It’s a scary deal, but I trust they’re taking care of all the precautions.’’

ikaufman@tampatrib.com

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Twitter: @IKaufmanTBO

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