Friday, July 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Injured RBs Martin, Rodgers still absent from Bucs practice

TAMPA — On Friday, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said on national radio he was "hopeful" that injured RB Doug Martin "maybe has a shot" at returning for a home game against the Bears after missing six games with a hamstring injury.

But if Bucs fans had hopes Martin would return this week, there was no indication of that Monday as Martin and Jacquizz Rodgers were still absent when the Bucs returned to practice. Rodgers, who missed Thursday's game with a foot injury, still had a walking boot on his injured left foot in the locker room Monday.

Koetter declined to elaborate on their status.

Martin hasn't practiced since his injury in Week 2, but Koetter on his weekly radio show said he's still hopeful that Martin, Rodgers and Charles Sims — still on injured reserve for at least three more weeks — will all return in the second half of the season.

As expected, the Bucs put veteran RB Antone Smith on injured reserve with a season-ending knee injury, promoting undrafted rookie Russell Hansbrough from the practice squad to be the new No. 3 running back. Until Martin is back, they'll go with rookie Peyton Barber (31 rushing yards, 24 receiving in his first career start Thursday) and veteran Mike James, who rejoined the team last week after being waived-injured with a hamstring injury in Week 1.

MURPHY DONE: WR Louis Murphy, who had returned to practice three weeks ago after ACL surgery in November only to suffer an unrelated setback, is done for the season and won't play a snap in 2016.

Murphy, 29, who played at Lakewood High and Florida, had a 21-day window to return to the active roster but hadn't practiced since his setback.

He's under contract for 2017 with a $2 million salary, but his injury status puts his future with the Bucs in question.

MORE INJURIES: The Bucs placed DE Howard Jones (knee) on injured reserve, but Koetter said the team will wait until Wednesday before filling that spot depending on how other players recover from lingering injuries.

Starting LG Kevin Pamphile missed practice while he remains in concussion protocol, WR Russell Shepard remains out with the hip injury that kept him out of Thursday's game and C Joe Hawley didn't practice as he recovers from a knee injury that sidelined him Thursday.

WR Mike Evans remained in concussion protocol, Koetter said, but was able to practice. DT Clinton McDonald, who has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, also practiced.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

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