Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie CB Johnthan Banks was the latest player to contract the MRSA staph infection, and the rash of MRSA infections suffered by Buccaneers players nearly led today’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles to be canceled. Star guard Carl Nicks and kicker Lawrence Tynes notably contracted MRSA earlier this season, but the report that surfaced yesterday that Banks also has MRSA created some alarm.
Thankfully, Buccaneers official site beat writer Scott Smith reports that Johnthan Banks has been cleared by the NFL and NFLPA to play in today’s game, as there is “no risk of MRSA transmission”.
Losing the 24-year-old Mississippi State product would have been a tough blow for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, even if they are going up against a team that doesn’t really use their No. 2 receiver, Riley Cooper, much. The Buccaneers have very little depth at corner, and Johnthan Banks is a key starter at the position opposite of Darrelle Revis. The Bucs also don’t use Revis exclusively on an “island” to shadow the opposition’s top receiver (their loss, really), so Banks will likely have to face Eagles star wideout DeSean Jackson a couple of times this afternoon. Most of D-Jax’s time will be spent on Revis, but it’s great to hear that he won’t be picking on a backup corner. It’s even better to hear that other players on the field won’t contract MRSA because of Banks.