Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin will sit out Sunday afternoon's game against the St. Louis Rams, according to multiple media outlets. Bobby Rainey will start in Martin's place as the two teams square off at 3:05 CT in Raymond James Stadium.
Martin was hurt in last week's season-opening loss to the Carolina Panthers, suffering a knee injury which forced him from the game. Martin practiced on Thursday and Friday after missing Wednesday's session, but it appears the team has decided to withhold him from action in a prudent attempt to maximize the back's long-term outlook. With Doug Martin out, Bobby Rainey is the next man up for Tampa Bay.
After a sensational rookie campaign in 2012, where he rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns, Martin missed 9 games last season due to a shoulder injury. Coach Lovie Smith called the injury "minor" earlier this week, but the Bucs will move forward into Sunday afternoon with Rainey and Mike James seeing an uptick in their workloads.
"I've talked about how important Doug is to us," Smith said Thursday. "Just our running game in general, we were trying to get it going with all of our guys. Doug is our lead guy. We weren't able to (establish the run) for whatever reason this first game, but we'll stay committed to it."
Despite that committment, both Rainey and James will be dicey fantasy plays this afternoon as they face a stiff Rams defensive front. Even with the absence of Chris Long, St. Louis still boasts one of the better defensive line corps in the league, with players such as Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers, and rookie Aaron Donald in tow.
If you were counting on Martin today, be sure to check the waiver wire for alternative options.