Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin hasn't played since injuring his shoulder against the Falcons on Oct. 20, but he remains optimistic that he will be able to see the field again in 2013.
Martin, who was held out of practice on Wednesday and is not expected to play Monday night against the Miami Dolphins, told Ira Kaufman of The Tampa Tribune that the torn labrum he suffered in Week 7 is improving.
"Everything is looking good. I'm doing everything the trainer's telling me and it is improving. The pain's decreasing and the range of motion is increasing.''
Martin's injury will eventually require surgery. Whether that takes place soon or whether he postpones it and returns this season is yet to be determined.
Rookie Mike James has played well in Martin's absence, rushing for 158 yards in last Sunday's loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Head coach Greg Schiano was careful to explain that a decision on Martin's return will not be affected by James's performance.
"(James's success) doesn't affect our urgency,'' Schiano said. "It's about having as many good players you can have on your 46-man game-day roster to help you win. It's just a matter of dealing with Doug and our trainers and doctors -- is he okay to play and is it in his best interest? What is best for everybody involved?''