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Friday October 14th, 2011

Without LeGarrette Blount, the Bucs are pretty thin at running back. (Cal Sport Media)

If Tampa Bay is going to keep pace with New Orleans in the NFC South, the Bucs will have to do so without starting running back LeGarrette Blount. A report Wednesday indicated the Blount suffered a Grade 2 MCL tear in his knee, an injury that could sideline Blount for "several weeks."

Needless to say, that's a potentially huge blow to a Tampa Bay team that's already had to scratch and claw its way to a 3-2 record.

Despite struggling in the first half all year, the Bucs had run off three in a row following a Week 1 loss to the Lions. But their season hit a major bump Sunday in San Francisco, where the 49ers handed Tampa Bay a humiliating 48-3 loss.

Blount was hurt during that blowout defeat -- he finished with just 34 yards rushing on 10 carries.

If Blount's out of the lineup, Earnest Graham would take over the No. 1 running back duties. Graham has just 84 yards rushing this season and 249 total since 2009. Can he handle the duties of being the top back?

Tampa Bay might not have any choice. The Bucs waived fourth-string running back Allen Bradford, meaning Graham and Kregg Lumpkin are the lone options at the moment, though a free-agent running back figures to join the fold sometime very soon. The timing on this injury really could not be any worse for the Bucs -- Sunday, they host New Orleans, which holds a one-game lead on them in the NFC South.

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