TAMPA – The shoulder injury that has sidelined Jameis Winston won’t allow the Buccaneers quarterback to return as soon as he wants to but it won’t keep him out for as long as some were thinking it would either.
We’re not sure how this happened, but some have seemingly interpreted general manager Jason Licht’s claim that Winston could be out for an “extended period” to mean Winston might be done for the season.
That’s not the case, according to Bucs coach Dirk Koetter, who named Ryan Fitzpatrick his starter for Sunday’s game at Miami but fully expects Winston to be back under center before the season concludes.
“I do,’’ Koetter said Monday when asked if the team’s plans call for Winston to play again this year regardless of what the Bucs record is or where they are in the standings.
“Again, (the plan we adopted) was for Jameis to rest for two weeks and then we’re going to see where he’s at. We’ve talked to multiple doctors (about it) and that’s what the plan is.
“And I know that Jameis plans on playing again (this year). And there’s been no discussion between Jason and myself of him not playing again so that would all be something that would have to come up in the future.’’
Winston on Sunday missed his first game because of his injured shoulder since he was shut down during halftime of the Bucs loss at New Orleans last week after re-injuring the shoulder for the third time.
Licht said on Sunday that there’s a chance Winston will remain on the sidelines beyond the two-week rest period and that a decision to keep him out longer would be made with Winston’s and the Bucs futures in mind.
“(We have to think about) what is best for our future, because he is our future and we’re going to make the best decisions we can medically to ensure that he is our future,’’ Licht said.
Licht did not say Winston was being shut down for the season and while that is still a possibility, it makes more sense for the Bucs to play Winston as long as he’s healthy enough to play.
Though they’ll be exposing him to further injury by doing so, the Bucs believe Winston is still in the developmental stages of his career and will therefore benefit from any and all playing time he can get.
As for new injuries suffered during the victory over the Jets, Koetter said cornerback Vernon Hargreaves will get an MRI on his sore hamstring on Tuesday to determine the severity of that situation.