“Truly, [it's a matter of] the doctors and the trainers telling me that he’s capable to do this and there’s no risk of further injury, [that] he’s strong enough," said Head Coach Greg Schiano on Wednesday. "And even then, we’ve got to make a decision organizationally, is it the best thing to do? I think that’s what we’ll do here in the upcoming weeks and as soon as I know, I’ll let [everyone] know.
“It’s just a matter of dealing with Doug and our trainers and our doctors. Is he okay to play? Is it in his best interest? Does it affect him negatively if we do the surgery at the end of the year or now? If at any moment it affects him negatively, then we’ll do it now."
Martin hasn't played since hurting his shoulder while trying to make a diving catch in Atlanta in Week Seven. While the Bucs have acknowledged that Martin's injury will require a corrective procedure, both the player and the team believe there is a possibility he can play through the injury and have the surgery after the season. Martin will need to pass certain thresholds in terms of both the amount of pain he is feeling and the functionality of the shoulder in order to be effective enough to warrant having him on the field. In both of those areas, he is seeing improvement.
Essentially, the progress in Martin's shoulder has been encouraging, but has not yet reached a point – or, conversely, come to a halt – where the team could decide one way or another if he'll be able to return this season.
"Like I said, we're taking it day-by-day, week-by-week," said Martin, who will be the one who will determine if the pain is tolerable. "I feel like it will be my decision. Right now it's still in that time of seeing how it is, and that's it."
I feel like it will be my decision. Right now it's still in that time of seeing how it is, and that's it.
"[I tell him to] just keep his body in shape and stay in his playbook," said Martin of James. "He's doing a good job right now. That was an awesome game last week. I just told him to keep it up and keep his consistency going."