When the news broke that the Bucs would be without Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks and place kicker Lawrence Tynes, fans were understandably bummed out that two players would be sidelined with injury.
When it was found out that injury was MRSA, a serious staff infection, that worry stretched beyond the field.
"If it gets into the blood stream, it's quite serious," said Dr. Bob Rosequist of Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel.
MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is an infection that most often affects the skin.
It tends to spread so fast, it is nicknamed "flesh-eating bacteria."
"Its usually from contact with an infected person or a surface that an infected person has been in contact with," said Rosequist.
"The body cannot fight it alone, and antibiotics are used to help clear that infection up," said Warren McDougle of the Florida Department of Health, Hillsborough County.
It's not clear how Nicks or Tynes contracted the virus, but the Bucs aren't taking any chances. They had a cleaning company come in and flush the facility with the hopes that the MRSA wouldn't spread.
The experts say that's a smart move.
Dr. Rosequist says MRSA is not something you want to ignore.
"Staph can infect the heart valves, can get into blood vessels, can cause various forms of infections of the legs, kidneys, eventually can cause meningitis, or even death," Rosequist said.
It's not just athletes who are at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the infection can be picked up in dorms, military barracks, prisons and even daycare centers.
"If you start to see redness or puffiness, seek medical attention so it can be determined if you have a version of the staff infection that can be treated by any antibiotic, or you have one that needs some special attention," said McDougle said.
Thursday afternoon, the Bucs released this statement:
"Our primary concern is always the health and safety of our players and staff. Our players were informed of the situation and we sought the advice of experts, including the NFL's medical advisor, who provided counsel and approved of our comprehensive measures including the treatment of our practice facility."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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