Bucs Expect to Have Injured QB Freeman for Opener

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - By the time Tampa Bay closed out an exhibition victory over Kansas City, Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman had regained his composure and was talking positively about the thumb injury that will sideline him until at least the opening week of the regular season.

The second-year pro feels fortunate to have only broken the tip of the thumb on his throwing hand and doesn't think it will hinder him from being ready to play when the Bucs face the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 12. The Bucs, too.

Freeman was the third quarterback selected in the 2009 draft behind Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez. He went 3-6 in nine starts as a rookie, and Tampa Bay - coming off its worst finish since 1991 - doesn't have an experienced veteran playing behind the 6-foot-6, 248-pound passer.

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