TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Tampa Bay running back Carnell "Cadillac"
Williams was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, one day after
undergoing successful season-ending surgery to repair the torn
patellar tendon in his right knee.
The Buccaneers also placed left tackle Luke Petitgout on IR with
a right knee injury that will require surgery later this week. Both
players were hurt during last Sunday's 20-7 victory at Carolina.
The roster openings were filled by rookie running back Kenneth
Darby and tackle Dennis Roland, who were signed from the practice
The Bucs also released cornerback Marcus Hamilton from the
practice squad and signed tackle Ryan Gibbons, receiver Chad Lucas
and running back DonTrell Moore.
Coach Jon Gruden said he doesn't think Williams' injury, which
occurred when his right leg was caught awkwardly underneath his
body when he was tackled at the end of a long run, is
"Everybody's talking about that," Gruden said after practice
Wednesday. "I think any time you have a serious injury, people
question how serious it was and if you can come back from it.
Carnell's going to come back from this. He had surgery last night
in Alabama. It was a success. Now, it's a matter of the injury
healing properly and what will be a grueling rehab procedure."
Petitgout, a ninth-year pro signed during the offseason to
stabilize a young offensive line, limped off the field after
Carolina defensive tackle Kris Jenkins fell into his right leg.
Gruden also expects him to recover.
"We think he'll be just fine," the coach said of Petitgout,
who will be replaced by second-year pro Donald Penn when the Bucs
(3-1) travel to Indianapolis to face the unbeaten Super Bowl
champion Colts (4-0) on Sunday.
Penn, who played the second half against the Panthers, is
looking forward to this week's assignment of blocking three-time
Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney, one of the NFL's top pass
"He's a great player. ... I'll have my work cut out for me,"
Gruden plans to replace Williams, the NFL offensive rookie of
the year two seasons ago, by using the combination of Michael
Pittman and Earnest Graham. The duo gained 138 yards against
"We lost Cadillac, it's a huge loss, but I'm pretty
comfortable," Graham said. "I've been playing for two weeks now,
getting quite a few carries, so I'm cool. We have a big game this
week and I'm ready to go contribute."
Pittman was the starting running back during Tampa Bay's 2002
Super Bowl season and held the job until the Bucs selected Williams
with the fifth pick in the 2005 draft. Graham is a fourth-year pro
who played mostly on special teams until his workload increased
with Williams nursing sore ribs the past three weeks.
"I'm a little rusty on some things; my footwork ... some
situations I haven't been in," Graham said. "But I'm definitely
going to get it. ... I'm getting warmed up."