At least two Tampa Bay Buccaneers players have been afflicted by staph infections, and the team is currently working to prevent an outbreak at the Bucs' training camp facilities, according to Chris Mortensen and Alex Marvez.
Guard Carl Nicks and kicker Lawrence Tynes have both missed practice recently for what had been previously reported as toe injuries. As it turns out, the players have actually been dealing with MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant strain of the staph bacteria. Nicks' injury had been described as an infected toe blister previously and was expected to keep him out for at least a month. No update on either player's status has been made public since the news of the staph infections broke.
Marvez reports that team officials discovered the outbreak last week and informed players and coaches on Monday. The team's headquarters have been sanitized, and players have been given special soap in hopes of limiting the spread of the bacteria, which is passed through skin-to-skin contact.
This is not the first time a staph outbreak has plagued an NFL locker room. The Cleveland Browns were subjected to a rash of infections between 2003 and 2008, during which seven separate cases were observed in five different players, including tight end Kellen Winslow and receiver Braylon Edwards. Center LeCharles Bentley, now retired from football, sued the team for making him rehab in facilities where previous players had gotten infected. Bentley claimed the infection prevented his injured patella tendon from healing properly, forcing him out of the game.