Roy Miller, the Buccaneers’ starting nose tackle and quietly effective force on the defensive front, went from full health on Wednesday to a surprise appearance on the team’s injury report on Thursday. On Friday, Miller’s situation took a turn back in the other direction. The question is, was it far enough?
That question will remain unanswered into the weekend. The Bucs will release their official Friday injury report, complete with game status designations, later in the afternoon, but Head Coach Greg Schiano appeared uncertain after practice as to whether Miller would be available on Sunday to play the Kansas City Chiefs.
“He’s markedly better,” said Schiano. “Hopefully that will increase and he will be able to play. Right now you can’t be sure of that.”
Miller struggled at times with a back injury in 2011 but has flourished so far this season in the new “tilt nose” position he has inherited in the defense imported by Schiano and coordinator Bill Sheridan. Schiano said the fourth-year veteran has been thoroughly examined and Miller’s current discomfort, which he described at one point as a muscle spasm, is considered an isolated incident.
“It’s just one of those weird things – he picked up a basket of laundry or something goofy like that,” said Schiano. “He really struggled yesterday morning to even get up. It’s a muscle spasm and I think it’s coming around. Just like any guy on the street, you wake up and [the back pain] got you. He’s come around quite a bit since yesterday and I’m hopeful but you never know with these things.”
Gary Gibson would step into the starting lineup if Miller is unable to play. The Bucs also have Corvey Irvin as defensive tackle depth, and ends Michael Bennett and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim have been used on the interior line on occasion.