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Wednesday, December 17, 2008
NFC South roundup: Brooks' injury better than expected


Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Some notes from around the NFC South.

BUCCANEERS

Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said the Bucs got some good news on linebacker Derrick Brooks, who suffered a rib injury Sunday. Gruden said Brooks' injury isn't as serious as first thought. Brooks didn't practice, but Gruden said he's hopeful the linebacker can continue his streak of playing in every game since coming to the NFL in 1995.

Gruden also said he hopes Jeff Garcia (calf) will be ready to start Sunday. Garcia practiced on a limited basis, but the Bucs changed up their practice schedule a bit to get backups Brian Griese and Luke McCown some work with the first team. Defensive ends Gaines Adams and Stylez (formerly Greg) White and offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah were limited in practice. Defensive tackles Jovan Haye and Chris Hovan, who had been bothered by injuries, were able to practice. Punter Josh Bidwell did not practice because of an illness.

PANTHERS

Carolina's in danger of having a defensive starter miss a game for the first time this season. Defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu (ankle) missed Wednesday's practice. Offensive guard Keydrick Vincent (groin) also missed practice. Darwin Walker would be the likely starter if Kemoeatu can't go and Geoff Hangartner is the top backup at guard.

ESPN Stats & Information passed along some notes on Carolina's road record. The Panthers are 3-3 on the road, but the wins have come against teams (Chargers, Raiders and Packers) that currently are a combined 14-28. Carolina's three losses (all on the road) are against teams (Vikings, Bucs and Falcons) that currently have winning records. Carolina's losses have all been by double digits and quarterback Jake Delhomme has thrown just one touchdown in those three games. Delhomme's passer rating at home is 100.8. On the road, it's 63.3.

SAINTS

Left tackle Jammal Brown returned to practice after missing last week's game with an injury. The Saints also signed cornerback Michael Lehan off Miami's practice squad to fill the roster spot that came open after the Saints placed Reggie Bush on the injured reserve list.

FALCONS

For those who have been asking for Atlanta's playoff scenarios since about Week 10, the NFL finally has sent out an official list of ways the Falcons can get into the playoffs this week.