TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS UPDATE 

lKOETTER OPTIMISTIC THAT MARTIN CAN RETURN FOR WEEK 10

Following up on a previous item. ... Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio, head coach Dirk Koetter said Friday night there is optimism that starter Doug Martin can return to practice from a hamstring injury next week and play in Tampa Bay’s Nov. 13 home game against Chicago.

“We’re hopeful that after these three days off that maybe he has a shot at Chicago,” Koetter told host Alex Marvez. “But hamstrings seem to linger a little bit. We’ll have to wait and see.”

The NFL’s second-leading rusher last season with 1,402 yards, Martin initially injured his hamstring during a Week 2 loss to Arizona. The Bucs had expected Martin to return for a Week 7 game at San Francisco, but he suffered a setback during rehabilitation that has sidelined him ever since.

“These hamstrings are just delicate,” Koetter said. “He was 90-plus percent back and doing his rehab run one day and he tweaked it again. (Bucs trainers) kind of had to go back and start over.”

Compounding the loss of Martin are injuries that have struck his replacements. Charles Sims (knee) has landed on injured reserve and Jacquizz Rodgers was forced to miss Thursday night’s 43-28 home loss to Atlanta with a sprained foot. Antone Smith became the latest casualty against the Falcons with what Koetter described as a “fairly significant ankle injury.”

“It looks like he might be lost for an extended period of time,” Koetter said.

The lone healthy running backs currently on the roster are Peyton Barber and Mike James. Despite all these issues, Tampa Bay (3-5) still ranks a respectable 17th in NFL rushing rankings with a 108.4-yard average.


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