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NFL notebook: Buccaneers dealing with staph infection outbreak

The Buccaneers’ Lawrence Tynes (left) and Carl Nicks are responding to treatment for MRSA infections.

file/chris o’meara/associated press

Buccaneers kicker Lawrence Tynes is responding to treatment for a MRSA infection.

Buccaneers guard Carl Nicks and kicker Lawrence Tynes are being treated for MRSA infections.

General manager Mark Dominik confirmed Thursday that Nicks has an infected blister on the side of his left foot and Tynes has an infected toe on his right foot.

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MRSA is a staph infection that is resistant to some antibiotics.

The cases were diagnosed last week while the Bucs were in New England holding joint practices with the Patriots before an exhibition game.

The team hired a company to sanitize One Buc Place, the team’s training facility, last week. A second cleaning has been scheduled.

‘‘Our primary concern is always the health and safety of our players and staff,’’ Dominik said. ‘‘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.’’

The entire roster was informed of the infections Monday.

The Buccaneers said they don’t know where Nicks and Tynes, who did not travel to New England, were exposed to MRSA. Both players are responding to treatment, and the club said no other MRSA infections have been discovered among the players.

Nicks has been recovering from surgery on his left big toe and has not played this preseason. He made the trip to New England and practiced, but did not play in the game.

Tynes, who helped the New York Giants win a pair of Super Bowls, signed with the Bucs before training camp, but has been sidelined the entire preseason by an ingrown toenail on his kicking foot.

HGH in limbo

The top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee says the NFL players’ union ‘‘is now holding HGH testing hostage’’ and that could ‘‘force Congress to intervene.’’

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland said the ‘‘NFL Players’ Association continues to disregard its promise to implement HGH testing.’’

The oversight committee held a hearing in December to take a look at the science behind blood tests for human growth hormone. HGH is a banned performance-enhancing drug that is hard to detect and has been linked to health problems such as diabetes, cardiac dysfunction, and arthritis.

Two full NFL seasons have passed without a final agreement on HGH since the August 2011 labor deal paved the way for testing.

Hours before Cummings weighed in, the man who oversees the NFL’s drug program said the union has ‘‘buyer’s remorse’’ about HGH testing. A union official retorted that ‘‘the only thing’’ the league cares about ‘‘is power.’’

The latest public back-and-forth — featuring Adolpho Birch, the NFL senior vice president of labor policy and government affairs, and George Atallah, the NFLPA assistant executive director of external affairs — comes exactly two weeks before the first game of the 2013 regular season.

Panthers top Ravens

Ted Ginn Jr. returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown and the Panthers’ defense scored three times in a 34-27 exhibition victory over the mistake-prone Ravens in Baltimore. Drayton Florence took an interception 71 yards into the end zone, Thomas Davis scored on a 2-yard fumble return, and linebacker Luke Kuechly picked off another of Joe Flacco’s passes late in the second quarter to set up a 54-yard field goal by Graham Gano for a 24-7 lead . . . As expected, Geno Smith will start at quarterback over Mark Sanchez in the Jets’ exhibition game against the Giants Saturday night. The announcement by coach Rex Ryan was expected since the rookie has worked with the first-team offense all week. Smith, in a tightly contested competition with Sanchez, did not play in the Jets’ preseason game last Saturday night against Jacksonville because of a sprained ankle. The Jets signed veteran wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi to add depth to their receiving corps. Massaquoi was cut by Jacksonville on Monday after signing a two-year deal in April. The signing comes as Braylon Edwards has sat out of practice all week because of a leg injury . . . After sitting out most of practice for a second consecutive week, Dolphins first-round pick Dion Jordan said he might not be ready for the start of the regular season. Asked whether he’d be surprised if he can’t go on Sept. 8 at Cleveland, the first defensive player taken in the draft said, ‘‘It wouldn’t be a surprise at all.’’ Jordan hasn’t taken part in a full practice since Miami’s 27-3 victory at Jacksonville Aug. 9. Jordan took part in non-contact work Thursday, before doing side work with a trainer. Jordan underwent surgery for a torn labrum on Feb. 28 and began training camp on the non-football injury list. He came off the list and began practicing on the third day of camp . . . The 49ers added another quarterback to the competition to be Colin Kaepernick’s backup, signing Seneca Wallace to a one-year contract.

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