Bucs' Freeman limited in practice; QB Johnson to start?

Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman was limited in practice Thursday with a shoulder injury, as the Buccaneers now face the prospect of starting Josh Johnson at the QB spot for this weekend's clash with the Carolina Panthers.

The St. Petersburg Times reported that Freeman made soft throws during the walkthrough portion of practice, but his injured right shoulder hurt enough to keep him on the sidelines again for the majority of the day.

Bucs coach Raheem Morris said, via the Times, that the shoulder injury Freeman sustained during last Sunday's loss to the Tennessee Titans remains an issue, but he's not sure what specific medical issues his quarterback is enduring.

Speaking on his radio show later Thursday, Freeman said he could have played in a game Wednesday if necessary, according to the Tampa Tribune.

It's been a rough season for Freeman -- both on and off the field. Freeman, who currently is day-to-day, sprained his right thumb during an Oct. 23 loss to the Chicago Bears, and then suffered a cut to the same appendage eight days later after a gun range mishap.

Freeman said Wednesday that his decision to visit the range wasn't the smartest thing in hindsight, but he maintained the cut, which needed five cosmetic stitches, has not affected his play.

Freeman has thrown for 2,715 yards with 16 touchdowns to 18 interceptions this year. Johnson has not started an NFL game since 2009.

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