TAMPA – Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was throwing the football at practice again on Thursday. He wasn’t throwing it very far. During the 30 minutes of practice open to the media, he made a few short tosses across the line to receivers, a few short tosses of the ball back to an assistant coach and one longer throw of about 30 yards to a ball boy, but he was throwing the ball again.
Whether Winston will be throwing a football on Sunday when the Bucs take on the Bills in Buffalo remains to be seen.
Just four days removed from suffering an AC joint sprain in his right throwing shoulder, Winston says he is definitely making progress in his recovery from the injury and feels better, but it still looks like a decision on whether Winston will play or not will be made closer to game time.
“I’m ready,’’ Winston said. “When it’s time, when they let me go, I’m ready.’’
Pain tolerance, Winston said, is still the biggest issue. There is obviously concern about greater long-term damage being done should Winston take another hit like the one that forced him out of last week’s game against the Cardinals, but pain is the overriding factor.
“The biggest concern is my shoulder,’’ Winston said before the practice in which he shut down his throwing after making those first few short tosses. “It’s not about the passes and making the throws. It’s just the pain. That’s all. This is a long season. My thought process is to play. But I’m going by what they tell me.’’
Winston said the call on whether he plays or not will be a “joint, team’’ decision, meaning that he will have some say in the matter. It will likely fall, though, to coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht to make the call, who will likely lean on the advice of the team’s trainers.
One thing we know for sure, this is not the first time Winston has tried to play with an AC joint sprain. Winston said on Wednesday that he’s played through “a couple of AC joint sprains’’ during his career and that he’s “used to the pain.’’
Winston is not used to spending a week more or less on the sideline and not throwing the ball before he plays a game, but he said he’s preparing just as he always does from a mental standpoint and that he is not concerned about going into a game off limited throwing reps.
“This game is such a mental (game),’’ he said. “As long as we get mental reps, I mean, I’ve been throwing a football practically my whole life so I know I can throw. I just think it’s about recovery being consistent in my reads and progressions. And when Sunday comes, we’ll know.’’.