December 23, 2015

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy says he has played most of the season with a torn right rotator cuff and the past two weeks with a broken left hand that required surgery.

The sixth-year pro said he's kept quiet about the severity of his injuries until now because he didn't want it to seem as though he was making excuses for not being as effective as usual in some games.

Tampa Bay (6-8) was eliminated from playoff contention last weekend. McCoy was announced as a Pro Bowl selection for the fourth straight season Tuesday.

''This has been my toughest year mentally,'' said McCoy, who has missed one game this year, sitting out Dec. 6 against Atlanta after breaking his left hand at Indianapolis the previous week.

The defensive tackle said he tore his rotator cuff in Week 2 at New Orleans. Meanwhile, his broken hand required the insertion of a plate and screws in what the Bucs described at the time as a minor procedure.

''I'm not going to make excuses,'' said McCoy, who leads the Bucs with 7 1/2 said. ''I just kept playing.''

After practice Wednesday, coach Lovie Smith was guarded when asked about McCoy revealing he has been playing with a torn rotator cuff.

''Do I confirm a torn rotator cuff? This is what I'll confirm: I don't let anybody go on the field with an injury. Guys, throughout the season, play with pain,'' Smith said.

''Everybody that is on the football field, on our team, has been cleared by the medical staff to play. I don't know exactly what you are talking about by that, but if you see one of our players on the football field, he has been cleared medically to play. Whether he is playing with some pain, I assume every player in the league right now is playing with pain.''

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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