The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed Carl Nicks on injured reserve Tuesday, losing the services of their best offensive lineman for the remainder of the season.
Nicks has battled through a toe injury for most of the season. It's a serious loss for this young offense. Nicks is in the prime of his career and one of the game's premier road-graders.
Signing wide receiver Vincent Jackson grabbed all the headlines in the offseason, but it was the Nicks acquisition that immediately upgraded the Buccaneers' offense. The cherry on top was pulling Nicks away from the NFC South rival New Orleans Saints, for whom he started 61 games over the past four seasons.
The Buccaneers hit their stride in October, averaging 34 points and 472 yards per game. Quarterback Josh Freeman has been sacked just four times and posted a 113.4 passer rating this month, while the running game has pumped out 406 yards. Losing their best interior lineman is crippling.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.