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Black’s future with Bucs no more clear following surgery

Posted Feb 21, 2013 by Roy Cummings

Updated Feb 21, 2013 at 06:10 PM

Tribune Staff

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Quincy Black’s future with the team is no brighter today than it was before he has surgery last month to repair nerve damage in his left shoulder.

Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said Thursday that Black came through the rare nerve-graft surgery well but it may be months before the team knows if the surgery was successful enough to allow Black to continue his career.

“You generally like to walk out of any surgery and say that it was a successful surgery, but the reality is, that because of the nerve damage and the nerve grafting and everything, you won’t know if it’s successful or not for several months,’’ Dominik said during a break at the NFL Scouting Combine. “It’s a tough injury and a unique injury and at the same point it’s hard for us to have any timetable or feel for it.’’

Black was injured during the Bucs Nov. 11 victory over the Chargers at Raymond James Stadium while making a tackle against San Diego running back Ryan Matthews.

After being carted off the field with his head secured to the gurney he spent the evening in the hospital and was later placed on injured reserve. He had surgery at the end of January.

Black’s situation, meanwhile, has left the Bucs with several options to consider regarding his future, including the possibility they may have to releases him to save the $5.5 million salary he’s slated to make in 2013.

Other options include holding on to Black, placing him on either injured reserve or the physically unable to perform list and hoping he will eventually recover to a point where he can play again.

Either way the Bucs are now on the lookout for a replacement for Black, who is not expected to be ready for the start of the offseason program and is likely to miss most, if not all of training camp and the 2013 season.

“We do have some guys that are on the roster that would have an opportunity to maybe (replace Black),’’ Dominik said. “Obviously Adam Hayward filled in for him last year. We also have Jacob Cutrera and Najee Goode could go to Sam, although he’s ideally a Mike (middle) linebacker.’’

Should the Bucs chose to former option and release Black he will become eligible for a $1 million insurance payment for this year and would become eligible for another $500,000 insurance payout should he not play in 2014.

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