Doug Martin expects to be cleared
Martin told the Tampa Bay Times that he is almost fully recovered from shoulder surgery and that he anticipates returning to full activity next week.
"I feel great. My arm is about to get cleared this week," Martin told the Times. "I'm just getting my strength back. It's been too long since I've been out of the game."
Martin sustained the season-ending injury in Tampa Bay's Week 7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, suffering a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The 25-year-old figures hopes to bounce back in 2014 under new coach Lovie Smith, who recently said he plans to use Martin as the lead back in a rotation.
"I think you have to have a bell cow," Smith said during the NFL owners meeting earlier this week. "[Martin] is ours. At the running back position, there's enough reps to go around. We want three guys we feel comfortable with.
"Two will play, but it's not a rotation that where every series we're going to have a different guy in there. We'll have a starter, then we'll have a backup that will give him quality backup minutes."
Martin was one of the NFL's top rookies in 2012, rushing for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns. He ran for 456 yards and one touchdown in six games last season.
ESPN.com Buccaneers reporter Pat Yasinskas contributed to this report.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Sources: Bears to start Clausen over Cutler
- 49ers release McDonald amid investigation
- 49ers' Harbaugh 'considering' Michigan job
- Rivera: NFC South champ worthy of playoffs