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Bucs TE Tom Crabtree suffers high ankle sprain

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are short-handed at tight end after losing Tom Crabtree to a right ankle injury in the opening quarter of their 30-12 preseason loss to the Washington Redskins on Thursday night.

Crabtree did not return to the game after rolling his ankle while attempting to clear a hole for running back Mike James. Crabtree wheeled around on the ground grasping at the ankle before a cart arrived to take him away.

X-rays were negative, but coach Greg Schiano said Friday that Crabtree suffered a high ankle sprain, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

Third-stringer Nate Byham stepped in on two tight end sets alongside Luke Stocker, who has spent the summer locked in a position battle with Crabtree. It would be costly for the Bucs to lose Crabtree for any length of time considering how thin Tampa Bay is at the position. Stocker and Byham combined for just 19 receptions one season ago.

Crabtree signed a two-year, $1.6 million contract with the Bucs in March after spending the first three seasons of his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers. Nobody would mistake him as a pass-catching threat, but he's a solid blocker with a chance to be Tampa Bay's top guy at a very thin position.

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