The Tampa Bay Buccaneers confirmed Thursday that guard Carl Nicks is again undergoing treatment for a recurring staph infection (MRSA) in his foot. On Friday, the team revealed that yet another player has contracted the dangerous illness.
The Buccaneers did not reveal the name of that player, but NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports that it's cornerback Johnthan Banks.
Tampa Bay's release regarding the latest issue:
A third Tampa Bay Buccaneers player has been diagnosed with a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection.
Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON) Co-Director Dr. Deverick J. Anderson, recognized as the country’s leading authority on infections disease control, addressed the team and Buccaneers staff earlier on Friday.
Over the past two months the Buccaneers organization has been working with the world-renowned DICON and other infectious disease specialists to treat and educate its players, sanitize its training facility and install new health and safety protocol.
Nicks needed surgery on his big toe after coming down with the staph infection during the preseason. He then sat out the Buccaneers' first two games before returning to play against New England and Arizona. Nicks has not yet been ruled out for Sunday's game against Philadelphia officially, but it certainly would be a surprise if he were able to play.
Kicker Lawrence Tynes, meanwhile, required both surgery and the insertion of a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter) -- the latter to fight the infection with a more direct dose of antibiotics. The Buccaneers placed Tynes on the non-football injury list; Tynes filed a grievance against that designation, arguing that it attempted to shift blame off of the franchise.
As they did back in August after discovering Nicks' initial infection, the Buccaneers may have to treat their entire facility in hopes of preventing the MRSA bug from spreading further.
Update: NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith released a statement on the Bucs' continued MRSA problems:
We have been involved in an ongoing review of the MRSA incidents in Tampa Bay initiated by the concerns we had about the manner in which team officials responded to these cases.
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.
This underscores the need for a League-wide, comprehensive and standardized infectious disease protocol. It also calls for improved accountability measures on health and safety issues by the NFL over the clubs.