Bucs RB Doug Martin practices after day off

Doug Martin returned to practice Friday and, though listed as questionable, is expect to play Sunday. AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman

TAMPA, Fla. -- Lovie Smith said running back Doug Martin would be OK after sitting out practice Thursday, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach was right.

Martin returned to practice Friday and said he feels good after nicking his knee in practice on Wednesday. Martin said he will be "perfect" when the Bucs host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Officially, Martin is listed as questionable after limited participation on Friday.

"I nicked it," Martin said. "It's one of those things that a full day [off] would probably be the best for it, and I practiced today. I nicked it early in practice, and I practiced the rest of the day. So it's fine.

"It was definitely a relief. When I first got it, I knew it wasn't anything serious."

The development serves as positive news for the Bucs' run game, which should receive a stiff test against the Panthers. Carolina ranks fourth in the NFL in rush defense, allowing just 75.7 yards per game.

Martin, who leads the Bucs in rushing with 176 yards on 46 carries, was held to 46 yards in a loss to the Houston Texans in Week 3.

"It's good to see him out there," Smith said. "Sometimes, when a guy misses practice in a week, it's about being ready for the weekend. So especially with a running back like Doug, he knows the plays. Running backs, carrying the ball as much as they're going to do for us, missing a day every once in awhile isn't the end of the world. But he was good to go today."

In other injury news, cornerback Johnthan Banks (knee), tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder), center Evan Smith (ankle) and tight end Luke Stocker (hip) are doubtful for Sunday. Defensive end George Johnson (neck), defensive end Gerald McCoy (shoulder), wide receiver Russell Shepard (hamstring), offensive tackle Donovan Smith (knee) and safety Major Wright (abdomen) are questionable. Safety Chris Conte (hip) is probable.