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Knee Injury Befells Bucs Pro Bowl Guard Davin Joseph

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are preparing to be without Davin Joseph for the foreseeable future after the Pro Bowl guard went down with what is believed to be a serious knee injury during Friday night’s 30-28 preseason victory over the New England Patriots.

“It doesn’t look,” coach Greg Schiano said of Joseph’s injury after the game.

The 6-foot-3, 313-pound Joseph went down with 1:05 left in the first half and instantly began clutching his right knee after a Patriots player landed on his leg from behind. Teammates huddled nearby as medical personnel tended to the seventh-year pro from Oklahoma.

Joseph was eventually carted off the field, and early indications weren’t encouraging. More tests will be done today to get a final evaluation on the injury.

He started all 16 games for the Bucs last season in earning his second consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl. Tampa Bay selected Joseph in the first round of the 2006 Draft.

He was among the three Buccaneers lineman – all former first-round picks – to go down with injury on Friday night. Tampa Bay officials, however, were less concerned about the fates of defensive end Adrian Clayborn or defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. Both players left the game with unspecified injuries.

Losing Joseph for the season or for any extended period of time would be a major blow to an offensive line that many feel could rank as among the league’s best. The Bucs spent big money to sign All-Pro Carl Nicks as a free agent in the offseason, and the hope was that he and Joseph could give the team the league’s top guard tandem.

Ted Larsen replaced Joseph in the lineup Friday night, but third-year player Derek Hardman is listed behind Joseph on depth chart at right guard. Larsen started 10 games as a rookie in 2010, although it was primarily at left guard. Either player could be in the starting lineup when the Bucs conclude the preseason with a date at Washington next week and open the regular season on Sept. 9 by hosting Carolina.

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