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Cursed Bucs? Tampa's young D can't juke injury bug

Last season was not a pretty picture for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense, and the injuries -- still mounting -- didn't help.

Tampa's league-low 23 sacks in 2011 contributed to a 10-game losing streak that saw the Bucs fall to pieces on the defensive side of the ball. Behind those numbers, a series of grisly injuries has slowed the team's development. High draft picks, especially, feel like an endangered species:

Gerald McCoy, the No. 3 overall pick in 2010, tore his left biceps as a rookie. Six games into last season, he tore his right biceps and spent the rest of the year on injured reserve.

Brian Price appeared in only five games during his 2010 rookie season, plagued by repeated hamstring injuries. He rebounded to start 14 games in 2011.

Da'Quan Bowers has endured a rough road. He entered the league in 2011 plagued by knee issues and is now sidelined indefinitely after surgery for an Achilles tear.

Bucs running back Earnest Graham ruptured his Achilles in a Week 7 loss to the Chicago Bears last season. The 32-year-old told the Tampa Bay Times he's only "75 to 80" percent recovered and couldn't play today. Graham understands the struggle Bowers must overcome to return to the field.

"It's pretty difficult to come back from," Graham said. "It's definitely tough. DaQuan is going to eventually need to put weight on it and transfer his weight. It's one of those things where it can feel great, like you're ahead of the schedule, and the slightest thing sets you back to square one. ... I know he'll take his time. He's only 22, so it shouldn't be as tough."

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