Bucs coach Greg Schiano appeared to be optimistic about the injuries to both Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin and safety Dashon Goldson.
Martin suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder in Sunday's game against the Falcons. Schiano said while it's a "stretch" for Martin to play Thursday against the Panthers, he wouldn't go any further than that, indicating they don't believe it's season ending.
"I think everybody's different," Schiano said. "There's different ways you can handle that injury. We will just wait and see how it responds to treatment."
Goldson hurt his left knee on the second play Sunday, when he said a Falcons receiver cut him. Goldson returned briefly to the game but said it wasn't the same. Schiano said it's possible Goldson could play Thursday, and the All Pro was seen walking around normally briefly in the lockeroom Monday.
"I think there's a good opportunity he can play," Schiano said. "We just got to see how it goes. It's truly day to day."
If Martin is out, the Bucs will turn to rookie running back Mike James, who had 14 carries for 45 yards on Sunday against the Falcons. Veteran running back Brian Leonard is also a potential option, with Schiano saying they'd also make a move to add another running back if Martin couldn't go.
"What I've seen of Mike the last few weeks, both in practice and the game, he's gotten a few more touches in each game," Schiano said. "I think Mike has really improved as a running back from the beginning stages of training camp, and made improvements steadily. When he's had his opportunities, he's done good things."