Bucs RB Charles Sims takes step toward playing

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' situation at running back is cloudy for Sunday's game at Cleveland.

Doug Martin may be sitting out and rookie Charles Sims could be making his NFL debut. Both of their situations are uncertain, so we'll offer this bit of advice for fantasy football players: start Bobby Rainey if you've got him.

Rainey doesn't have any health questions and the Cleveland Browns have the league's 30th ranked run defense. If there ever was a time for Tampa Bay's struggling running game to get going, this is it.

But fantasy owners might want to go ahead and pick up Sims. He's been on injured reserve since the preseason but returned to practice last week and took a major step Wednesday. Sims practiced in pads for the first time.

“It just felt great to be out there with the pads on," Sims said Thursday. “It's been two months since I was out there, so I was excited to get out there."

Sims suffered an ankle injury in the preseason. It remains to be seen if he'll be activated for Sunday. The Bucs could elect to go slowly and give Sims another week of practice before activating him.

“I'm just going day by day," Sims said. “Just see how I feel. I'll leave that up to the coaches to make that decision."

But Sims' fresh legs could be needed against Cleveland. That's because Martin, who is averaging only 2.9 yards per carry, has an ankle injury and was seen wearing a boot Wednesday. If Martin can't go, Sims could end up in a rotation with Rainey and Mike James.