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Thursday, November 21, 2013
Mason Foster optimistic about return

By Pat Yasinskas

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Mason Foster may have a dilemma.

He wants to play on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, but he also is smart enough to realize there's a chance that might not be the best long-term move.

Foster suffered a concussion in the victory against the Atlanta Falcons.

"I love to play football," Foster said. "It's tough to deal with something like this because I've never had to before. But, at the same time, I've got to look out for my future and make sure I'm able to play down the road and not get seriously hurt."

Foster said he's optimistic he'll be able to play Sunday, but nothing is definite. Foster is going through the NFL's protocol for players with concussions. Coach Greg Schiano said he's cautiously optimistic about the linebacker's chances of playing Sunday. Foster has yet to practice this week, but he's doing whatever else he can to get ready for the Lions.

"It would be best to practice before you go out there against a great team like the Lions," Foster said. "But I'm just doing what I can. Anything they let me do, I'll do as far as studying and taking mental reps and watching film. I just keep going over it my head and keep preparing like I'm going to play."

Foster said he'll leave it up to the team doctors to make the decision on if he's cleared to play Sunday.

In other injury news, cornerback Johnthan Banks (shoulder) practiced fully on Thursday.