Hopes that running back Doug Martin would be back on the practice field on Monday as the Bucs prepare to host the Bears, were dashed as the team took the field at 10:10 a.m. without No. 22 earlier today. At least during the 30 minute portion of practice that was open to the media.
The position went from bad to worse with the news that Antone Smith, who was injured late in last Thursday night’s matchup with the Falcons, was placed on injured reserve. The team promoted undrafted rookie Russell Hansbrough from the practice squad to the active roster after placing Smith on IR according to Tampa Times reporter Greg Auman.
The Bucs luck with injuries to their running backs is almost unbelievable.
The Bucs lost Martin in Week 2 against the Cardinals with a hamstring injury, and the former Boise State star hasn’t seen the field since. Tampa Bay went with Charles Sims next with poor results, and then lost him after the Denver Broncos game with a knee injury. Jacquizz Rodgers was the Bucs next man up, and the former Oregon State standout played well through nearly three games before suffering a foot injury late in the Bucs loss to the Raiders. Tampa Bay signed Smith last month, but he went down in the fourth quarter of last Thursday night’s game against the Falcons with a knee injury and is lost for the season.
Former Bucs running back Mike James was signed last week and now is in the rotation with rookie Peyton Barber and Hansbrough. Bucs general manager Jason Licht is no doubt scouring the waiver wire for any available help, but the hope that Martin returns soon is the best case scenario for a team decimated by injuries at running back.
Wide receiver Louis Murphy was also a no-show on Monday which doesn’t bode well for his return this season. Monday was the deadline for his designated return under the 21-day window. The Bucs did get a bit of good news as defensive tackle Clinton McDonald was back on the field with the team.