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Martin's Timetable Still Uncertain

Posted Nov 6, 2013

RB Doug Martin is seeing daily improvement in his injured shoulder but his status has not yet reached the point where the Buccaneers can determine definitely if he will play or not again this season

  • RB Doug Martin is encouraged by the progress in his injured shoulder but still not sure when he might return to action
  • The fine play of rookie RB Mike James has not affected the Bucs' urgency to get Martin back on the field
  • Martin's injury will eventually require surgery but perhaps not until after the season
Running back Doug Martin's injured shoulder is improving by the day, but his status for the remainder of the 2013 season is not gaining clarity as quickly.  The Buccaneers remain hopeful that their leading rusher can return to the backfield this season but have not yet reached the point where they can make that determination.

“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.

-- RB Doug Martin hasn't played since injuring his shoulder in Week Seven
"The pain's decreasing and the function, the range of motion, is increasing as well," said Martin on Wednesday.  "Everything is looking good.  I'm doing everything the trainers are telling me to do and it's improving.  We're taking it day-by-day right now.  [I'm getting] treatment, a lot of motion stuff and stability work.  Right now the trainers have me in the weight room, getting my strength back up."

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.
-- RB Doug Martin
Schiano said the emergence of rookie RB Mike James, who ran for 158 yards on Sunday in Seattle, has not changed the Bucs' approach to setting a timetable for Martin, as the team wants as many good players on the field as possible. Still, James has certainly helped Tampa Bay's offense weather would could have been a crippling blow, and his sidelined teammate has been impressed.

"[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."