Bucs battling MRSA, but Eagles expect to play

Bucs battling MRSA, but Eagles expect to play
October 11, 2013, 3:30 pm
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The Eagles expect to play the Bucs on Sunday, and a league source says there are no plans to cancel the game despite the Bucs' ongoing issues with MRSA. (USA Today Images)

The Eagles are preparing to play the Buccaneers on Sunday in Tampa, but they are monitoring the Bucs’ staph infection situation closely, according to team officials.

The NFL players’ union is waiting to see the results of a containment report after a third Bucs player reportedly tested positive for a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection. The game is slated for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Raymond James Stadium.

According to an NFL statement, the league is working with the Bucs, the union and medical specialists on the issue. The league has no plan to postpone the game, a league official told CSNPhilly.com. 

“Our office, the NFLPA, and appropriate medical specialists are working with the Buccaneers’ medical staff to aggressively address the matter,” the release said.

An earlier report from ESPN's Adam Schefter and Trey Wingo stated that the NFLPA, pending the results of the containment report, could advise the two teams not to play. The NFLPA released its own statement Friday afternoon, referencing its "ongoing review" of the situation:

"We advised the NFL and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that an outside expert should be brought in to assess the situation and we are pleased with their decision to take that recommendation. We have also been in regular contact with the player representatives from Tampa Bay. We will reach out to the Philadelphia Eagles player representatives today and provide them with our best medical guidance and regular updates from the outside experts."

Eagles team president Don Smolenski said that, as of Friday afternoon, the Eagles are preparing to fly into Tampa on Saturday and play Sunday against the winless Bucs. Smolenski said the Eagles are keeping in contact with the league.

Reports indicate that Bucs rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks recently became the team’s most recent player since the summer to be diagnosed with MRSA, a staph infection that’s hard to treat because it’s resistant to common antibiotics.

Banks and offensive guard Carl Nicks, who contracted the infection in his left foot over the summer and reportedly had a recurrence this week, haven’t been ruled out for Sunday’s game.

The Bucs on Friday were addressed by Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON) Co-Director Dr. Deverick J. Anderson, according to the team's official website.

Veteran kicker Lawrence Tynes and Nicks each contracted the infection over the summer. Tynes landed on the non-football injury list and Nicks missed the first two games but had since returned the starting lineup before the recurrence this week.

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