Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin has been inactive with a torn labrum in his left shoulder since Week 8 after suffering the injury against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 20. On Friday, the team announced Martin will be placed on injured reserve, a move that will end his 2013 season.
Martin, selected in the first round of the 2012 draft out of Boise State, rushed for 1,451 yards and 11 touchdowns in his rookie campaign. As with most aspects of Tampa Bay's offense, Martin was off to a relatively disappointing start in 2013 -- his yards per carry average dropped from 4.6 to 3.6, and he scored just one touchdown on the ground.
Rookie Mike James will take his place as the team's primary back, as he has done to date.
The way in which the Bucs' oft-criticized front office handled the injury was interesting, to say the least. Head coach Greg Schiano first said he hoped Martin could return later in the season but eventually bowed to medical inevitability.
“You know I think it's really just going to be a medical decision,’’ Schiano said Thursday, ahead of the Bucs' Monday night matchup with the Dolphins, via the Tampa Bay Times. “At what point do you say Monday is out of the question? We'll see. And if it is, I think it's going to be all or nothing. It's got to be a decision we've got to make. Everyone collectively has got to make a decision, and we've got to go with it. When we make it, I'll let you guys know and we'll move forward with it.’’
Martin had regained some strength in his shoulder, but the 0-8 Bucs had to consider the possibility of Martin re-injuring the shoulder during what's already a lost season and losing him for a longer period of time. Schiano, general manager Mark Dominik and the team's medical staff met to discuss the matter Thursday.
James, a sixth-round pick out of Miami, rushed for 158 yards on 28 carries in Tampa Bay's near-win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. He has 254 rushing yards on 55 carries for the season.
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