Bucs’ Doug Martin out for second straight week
This should come as no surprise, since the shoulder injury that Martin suffered in Week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons was initially expected to shut him down for the entire season. Even the most ambitious timelines had Martin returning no sooner than for Monday Night Football against the Miami Dolphins in Week 10. But the Buccaneers have been reluctant to officially rule out Martin with a torn labrum, and though they still have no timetable the team considers it possible for him to return at some point this season. Under the most optimistic scenarios, the Buccaneers are hoping that Martin can find his way back on the field this season after strengthening his shoulder in rehab over the last few weeks.
"The injury he has, if you can do your job, then you can play. He's a tough guy and he wants to play,” Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano said. “There's been tons of guys that have done it. Not that it means that he can, and it's not a slight if he can't, it's just physiological. Can you or can't you? Some can, some can't."
But Schiano also acknowledged that Martin will eventually need surgery repair the shoulder injury at some point, even if he is able to return now and decides to hold off the procedure until the offseason.
"We wouldn’t bring him back unless he can be very effective," Schiano said. “He's going to need to get it repaired, and it doesn't make a difference if he does it now or does it at the end of the year.”
“So if he can function, he wants to and we want him to (play. If he can't function at a high level, then we'll shut it down. But it's not an issue of (it getting) worse. It's none of those things.”
Playing against the Seahawks without their start running back on the field will be huge disadvantage for the Buccaneers this Sunday. But given how the season has gone for them (0-7), having a healthy Martin in 2014 will be more valuable for the Buccaneers than risk putting him in harm’s way as part of a series of questionable decisions the team has made this season.
In Martin’s absence rookie Mike James started last week, rushing for 39 yards on 10 carries and adding 25 receiving yards on four catches against the Carolina Panthers. James will once again benefit from experience as the starting running back while veteran Brian Leonard could also see increased playing time against the Seahawks this Sunday.