Bucs' Gerald McCoy not 100 percent, still 'raring to go' for Panthers game

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy admitted Thursday that he has been limited because of a right shoulder problem.

"Of course," McCoy said.

Despite the pain, the Bucs are counting on McCoy to be active when the Bucs host the Carolina Panthers in Week 4. The three-time Pro Bowl player has been dealing with the issue since leaving late in the fourth quarter of a Week 2 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

Recently, Tampa Bay has used caution with him. McCoy, who has seven tackles and two sacks this season, was limited in practice both Wednesday and Thursday. Still, coach Lovie Smith knows there's a difference between being injured and being hurt.

"If there's an injury, stay out until you're ready to go," Smith said. "But this time of year, as physical of a football game as they normally are, you're going to have some hurt. And you just have to keep going."

The Bucs will need McCoy to fight through his pain when hosting the undefeated Panthers on Sunday. Carolina boasts the NFL's sixth-best rushing offense (132 yards per game) as part of a unit that has averaged 23.7 points per game in victories over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans and Saints.

"He's battling, putting himself in a position where he can go out and play on Sundays," Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said of McCoy. "Our doctors have cleared him. He's raring to go for this ballgame this week. He's not 100 percent. But there are a lot of guys who are playing who aren't 100 percent, and he joins that club."