TAMPA - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have removed Josh Freeman's soft cast and the second-year quarterback said Monday his fractured right thumb is progressing on schedule.
Freeman fractured the tip of his right thumb in a preseason game against Kansas City 10 days ago and the Bucs expect their starting quarterback to return in time for the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against Cleveland.
"Definitely, I'm making progress," said Freeman, who watched Monday afternoon's workout from the practice field. "I'm in just a splint now and everything's right on schedule. We've got it immobilized and it's definitely healing. I'd like to get back on the practice field starting with our preparations for the Cleveland game next Monday."
Coach Raheem Morris continues to be optimistic Freeman will be ready when the games count.
"I trust him enough to let him go out on the field this week," Morris said. "Everything's going the right way for him ... everything's on schedule. I'm not supposed to say this, but Josh was out there gripping a ball the other day."
According to Morris, every Buc player should be available to play against Cleveland.
That includes right guard Davin Joseph and safety Sabby Piscitelli, who are both scratched from Thursday night's final preseason tuneup at Houston.
Joseph did not play against Jacksonville Saturday night due to a hip flexor incurred during practice last week. Piscitelli, a starter last season who is now backing up newcomer Sean Jones, suffered a concussion in the 19-13 loss against the Jaguars.
"Davin's good," Morris said. "He got the hip flexor and he'll be out this week. It's not worth it to force the issue."