Doug Martin injury: Buccaneers RB did not separate shoulder

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers got some good news on running back Doug Martin, but have a tough decision to make.

Doug Martin did not separate his shoulder in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Martin told Rick Stroud that X-rays were negative, giving the team some good news.

The second-year running back left Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons when he was hit in the end zone and fell hard on his elbow. That put pressure on his shoulder, and Martin was forced out of the game. He did not return.

Martin will undergo further evaluation Monday, which will determine his availability in the Buccaneers' next game. Week 8 starts early, as Tampa Bay is scheduled to face the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football, giving his shoulder just three days to recover before seeing NFL action again.

Starting Martin before he's fully healed could be a dangerous move on short rest because of how instrumental he is to the future success of the team, but it might be a necessity given the desperation the 0-6 Buccaneers find themselves in.

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