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Koetter – QB Winston will take all 1st-team practice reps Friday

Roy Cummings



Photo by Icon Sportswire

  TAMPA – Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was throwing the football at practice again on Thursday. He didn’t throw it for very long or throw it very far but that will change on Friday.

After giving his sore right shoulder a very brief test run on Thursday, throwing just one short pass across the line of scrimmage, Winston is expected to make all the throws in practice on Friday.

“We made a decision to hold him for another day, but I full expect that Jameis will take all the snaps tomorrow, all the snaps with the ones,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. “You can draw your own conclusions.’’

One conclusion that can be drawn from that is that Winston is indeed ready to play and perhaps start just five days after he suffered a sprain of the AC joint in his right throwing shoulder last Sunday.

Koetter wasn’t ready to make that announcement just yet and it’s still quite possible that the Bucs will wait until game time on Sunday to determine Winston’s status.

However, should Winston be able to make all the throws as Koetter suggests he will in practice on Friday that would be a strong indication he will not miss a game as a result of the injury.

Winston in the wake of last week’s game, a 38-33 loss to the Cardinals in which he was all but pulled himself from the lineup after three series, that his intention was to not miss a start. Now it seems he could make good on that vow.

“I’m ready,’’  said Winston, whose throwing session on Thursday included a few short throws of the ball back to an assistant coach and a longer throw of about 30 yards to a ball boy. “When it’s time, when they let me go, I’m ready.’’

Pain tolerance, Winston said, is still the biggest issue. There may also be some concern about Winston doing greater long-term damage to the shoulder by playing but Koetter suggested that fear has already been eliminated.

“The doctors make that call, not me,’’ he said. “And if there was any further risk of injury other than the normal playing football then Jameis would have no chance to play. So I guess you can deduce by that that that’s not the case.’’

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, 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.’’.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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