Bucs' G Carl Nicks has surgery to get rid of MRSA - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Bucs' G Carl Nicks has surgery to get rid of MRSA

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By FRED GOODALL

AP Sports Writer

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Carl Nicks, one of three members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers diagnosed with MRSA, has had surgery to get rid of the staph infection.

The 28-year-old guard had surgery Tuesday night and coach Greg Schiano said that Nicks is doing well.

The two-time All-Pro was diagnosed as having MRSA in a blister of the left side of his foot during training camp in August. He was treated with antibiotics and appeared in two regular season games before the Bucs announced last week that Nicks had a recurrence.

Kicker Lawrence Tynes also was found to have MRSA in August and is on the non-football injury list. A third case was discovered last week, but rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks has not been sidelined by the infection.

"Carl got an opinion outside of town and they decided they were going to do surgery," Schiano said Wednesday. "I don't have a timetable (for recovery), and I don't really have any more than that."

If the 6-foot-5, 349-pound Nicks winds up on injured reserve, it will be the second straight year that his season has ended because of a problem with his left foot.

An All-Pro two years ago with New Orleans, Nicks signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract with the Bucs as a free agent in March 2012. He missed the final nine games of last season with a toe injury that required surgery. The MRSA infection discovered in August sidelined him the final preseason game, as well as the first two weeks of the regular season.

Nicks returned to the lineup last month and played against New England and Arizona before learning MRSA had returned to the same location.

An infectious disease expert who was flown in for consultation last week said the infection -- which is resistant to many common antibiotics -- had gotten into the bone in Nicks' foot.

"The reality is that often times when MRSA gets into the bone, antibiotic therapy alone is not enough to actually cure it," Dr. Deverick J. Anderson, an associate professor of medicine at the Duke University Medical Center and co-director of the Duke Infection Control Outwork Network, said during the visit to the Bucs' training facility.

"Typically, in that scenario, that is where you try antibiotic therapy and if it continues to recur, that indicates that you may require a surgical procedure to definitively remove that infection."

In all, Nicks has played in just nine of 21 games since joining the Bucs, who are off to an 0-5 start this season.

"It's tough. He's in our prayers, and we're definitely thinking about him," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "We've just got to keep him lifted at a time like this."

The Bucs have had the training facility professionally cleaned on two occasions, and Anderson spoke with the players about things they can do personally to minimize the risk of contracting MRSA, which can enter the body through cuts and abrasions and can potentially be life-threatening.

Hospital patients and workers, long-term residents of health care facilities such as nursing homes, and athletes in contact sports are among those considered high risk.

Players have been given a special soap to use and have been encouraged to -- among other things -- sanitize their hands as much as possible, shower after practice and/or lifting weights and avoid sharing towels and equipment.

McCoy said hearing from Anderson put players at ease.

"When you're kind of out in the blue about what it is or what has happened, when you have a specialist come in and talk to you about it, it helps," the fourth-year pro said. "You can ask all your questions, and it makes you more comfortable with the situation."

Banks was diagnosed as having MRSA last Thursday. He was cleared to play against the Eagles two days later, when the league and NFL Players Association issued a joint statement saying that he did not pose a risk of transmitting MRSA to others.

To avoid more cases and the prospect of a long-term problem with MRSA, the head of a California-based company that sanitizing hospitals said the team will have to make sure the infection is completely removed from the building.

"It's not going to go away on its own," Ed Marshall, chief executive officer, of Medizone International, Inc., said. "And conventional cleaning isn't going to do it."

Marshall said MRSA is a lot more common -- and dangerous -- than the general public realizes.

"This is not like having a runny nose and a cold," Marshall said. "Now you've got strains of MRSA that are highly antibiotic resistant. And there's a couple of strains that they have no antibiotics to treat."

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