Buccaneers will not risk further injury to Doug Martin's shoulder
Head coach Greg Schiano told reporters on Wednesday that the team will not allow Martin to return to the field unless doctors confirm that the second-year back can do no further damage to his injured shoulder.
The decision is a smart, obvious one, but it was uncertain if such a dysfunctional organization would make the right move. The Buccaneers are 0-8 with no hope of making the playoffs, so bringing back Martin can not help the team in the short term. As a matter of fact, bringing back Martin could actually hurt the team, as if he leads the Buccaneers to a win or two, it will only hurt their draft position in April.
In addition, the coaching staff is likely to be gutted and replaced over the offseason - that means new schemes, plays, and philosophies. The offense that Martin would play in this season is likely completely different from the offense that he will be in next season. There is really not a single advantage to rushing Martin back to action, aside from maybe getting a few more fans at the games.
Martin will eventually need to undergo surgery on his torn labrum, but it can heal on its own to the point where Martin can play and delay the procedure. What the Buccaneers want to do is make sure that the injury does not get any worse, as the second-year running back is the focal point of the future of this offense. If doctors decide that the injury can not worsen, Martin will return to the field and undergo surgery over the offseason.
Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reported back on October 25 that Martin could be out "two weeks to two months." There is obviously a ton of uncertainty surrounding the star running back's timetable, and we simply have to sit back and wait for the doctors to clear the Muscle Hamster for live action. Fantasy owners have to hang tight, and hopefully they picked up Mike James to plug into their lineups in the meantime.