TAMPA — The Bucs will decide if RB Doug Martin will play again this season before Monday's game against the Dolphins, the team said Thursday.
Indications are the Bucs are leaning toward placing Martin on season-ending injured reserve and scheduling surgery for the torn labrum in his left shoulder within a few weeks rather than risk further injury with the team off to an 0-8 start. Martin was hurt trying to make a catch in a 31-23 loss at Atlanta on Oct. 20.
"It's really just going to be a medical decision," coach Greg Schiano said. "At what point do you say Monday is out of the question? We'll see. And if it is, I think it's going to be all or nothing."
Schiano, GM Mark Dominik, Martin and the team's medical staff were expected to meet later Thursday.
"It'll be my first surgery,' Martin said. "There will be some butterflies there at first. But that's what is needed to continue to my career."
The second-year player has responded well to treatment and regained some strength and mobility in his shoulder.
Perhaps making the decision easier is rookie Mike James rushed for 158 yards on 28 carries and passed for a touchdown in a 27-24 overtime loss at Seattle on Sunday.
SAPP-LIKE: Hall of Fame DT Warren Sapp has said current DT Gerald McCoy has the tools to be as good — if not better — than he was.
"If not bigger, faster, stronger than me," Sapp said.
Sapp, in town to be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor on Monday, said while McCoy has just two sacks, he has dominated, especially Sunday.
"A bowling ball of butcher knives," Sapp said.
Sapp said the Bucs aren't using the Pro Bowl player as well as they could, needing to move him around to get one-on-one matchups. Schiano, who had lunch with Sapp on Wednesday, said they do move McCoy around.
But when it comes to Sapp's lofty praise, McCoy believes he has to earn that comparison to his mentor.
"It means a lot. It's a great compliment," McCoy said. "But he said I have the potential to be as good or better than him. A lot of people have potential. It's about what you do with it. Do I have the potential to be as good or better?
"Yes. But it's up to me whether I reach that, and I'll leave it at that."
MEDICAL MATTERS: S Dashon Goldson, who missed the past two games with a left knee injury, believes he'll be able to return Monday.
Goldson has practiced the past two days, encouraged with how his knee has progressed since injuring it against the Falcons.
"I'm feeling really good," Goldson said. "It's my first week really back; felt good to be out there with my teammates. It's a lot better than I thought it'd be. Working the kinks out a little bit."
Goldson said it was tough having to stay in Tampa Bay and watch Sunday's 27-24 overtime loss.
"I almost jumped through that TV screen," he said.
But patience, it appears, might work out for Goldson.
"It was frustrating due to the fact where we are as far as the team and our record and wanting to be out there," he said. "I knew we had to take it day by day, making sure I was healthy so I wouldn't be out there hurting the team."
Other injury news: RG Davin Joseph, who was held out of Wednesday's practice for a planned rest day, returned and should be good to go.