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BillyCarpenter1 09-04-2003 03:15 PM

Bucs Pro Bowl linebacker breaks arm

Pro Bowl middle linebacker Shelton Quarles will miss several games after fracturing his left forearm in practice on Thursday…Fourth-year veteran Nate Webster will step in…Details to follow
Bad Break for Quarles
The Bucs will be without LB Shelton Quarles for several weeks after Quarles broke his left forearm falling awkwardly in practice on Thursday

Sep 04, 2003 -

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were hit with a dose of bad news on Thursday afternoon when linebacker Shelton Quarles fractured his left forearm during practice. Quarles is expected to miss several games due to the injury.

Quarles was participating in a special teams drill when he fell awkwardly and suffered the injury. With the Monday night season-opener in Philadelphia just four days away, the Bucs will now turn to intense fourth-year player Nate Webster to fill the void in the middle of the defense.

"It's tough to lose a guy like Quarles any time," said Head Coach Jon Gruden. "At the same time, we're excited about Nate Webster. He's a good football player. We're going to miss Quarles – he's a leader, a playmaker and he's unique. That's what Nate Webster has to be now, and he has that capability."

The lack of injuries was perhaps the most positive running story of training camp, but Tampa Bay's luck appears to have turned around as the regular season approaches. Early in the preseason finale on August 28, tight end Rickey Dudley sustained a severe high-ankle sprain and was subsequently released with an injury settlement. Now Quarles, who had missed only two games in his first six NFL seasons (in 2000 to a groin injury), becomes the first starter to go down.

Last year, Quarles made an extremely successful switch from strongside to middle linebacker, eventually landing in his first Pro Bowl. He produced a career-high 159 tackles, 11 behind team leader Derrick Brooks, and added two interceptions and a sack. Webster has played in 48 games and started one since being drafted in the third round in 2000 and has a total of 118 career tackles. will provide additional information on Thursday's developments shortly, including reactions from Gruden, Webster and Linebackers Coach Joe Barry.

[Edited on 4/9/2003 by BillyCarpenter1]

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