A couple hours after running down the Bucs’ latest injury woes to the Tampa Bay media Friday, head coach Dirk Koetter told a national radio program that the situation may be getting a little better.
Speaking with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Koetter said starting running back Doug Martin may return to the Tampa Bay backfield as soon as next Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
Bucs RB Doug Martin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“We’re hopeful that after these three days off that maybe he has a shot at Chicago,” Koetter told the hosts. “But hamstrings seem to linger a little bit. We’ll have to wait and see.”
The Bucs have been decimated by injuries on both sides of the ball this season, but the team may consider installing a revolving door to the running backs room at One Buc Place. Martin went down with a hamstring injury, Charles Sims III landed on the injured reserve list with a knee injury, promising newcomer Jacquizz Rodgers suffered a foot sprain against Oakland two games ago, and Koetter said Antone Smith is done for the year because of an injury sustained late in Thursday night’s loss to Atlanta.
Koetter told the radio hosts that Martin was at “90-plus percent” recently but experienced a setback when he “tweaked it again.”
Martin’s been listed on the Bucs’ injury report each week since getting hurt Week 2 in Arizona, but has yet to participate in practice. The fifth-year running back’s availability for next Sunday’s home game against the Bears will have to be monitored when practice picks back up next week. Initial injury reports are released Wednesday afternoons.
Without Martin and Rodgers, the Bucs are down to rookie Peyton Barber and fourth-year pro Mike James on the active roster. Rookie Russell Hansbrough is still on the team’s practice squad.