Doug Martin remains confident he'll get back on the field this season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back has been at work rehabbing the torn labrum he suffered in the Week 7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Surgery to repair the injury is inevitable, but Martin's hope is that he can strengthen the area to the point where he can return in 2013.
"Everything is looking good," Martin said Wednesday, according to The Tampa Tribune. "I'm doing everything the trainer's telling me and it is improving. The pain's decreasing and the range of motion is increasing."
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported last month that the team initially had targeted Monday night against the Miami Dolphins as a potential return date. That's unlikely to happen, and the emergence of backup Mike James has helped keep the 0-8 Bucs competitive.
"(James' success) doesn't affect our urgency," Bucs coach 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 OK to play and is it in his best interest? What is best for everybody involved?"
The Bucs' plan was to shut Martin down if he experienced any setbacks during the rehab stage. He appears to be progressing well, though it's still fair to wonder if it's worth exposing a franchise cornerstone in a weakened state.