Bucs’ Dirk Koetter confident Jameis Winston will play again in 2017

Jameis Winston will miss at least one more game to let a sprained AC joint in his throwing arm heal. After that, though, it’s unclear. 

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter said Monday that he still expects starting quarterback Jameis Winston to be back this season despite his recent struggles with a shoulder injury and the Bucs’ 3-6 record.

Winston will miss at least one more week in order to let the sprained AC joint in his throwing arm heal, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start against the Miami Dolphins. Fitzpatrick led the Bucs to a 15-10 win over the New York Jets Sunday, throwing for 187 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Koetter said last week that Winston would be out for “at least two weeks.” But on Sunday, general manager Jason Licht said during the Bucs’ pregame radio show that there was “no timeline” and that this could be an “extended situation.”

“We’re going to give it two weeks here to see how things settle down, but there is no time line on this,” Licht said via of the Tampa Bay Times. “This may be an extended period. There’s no new information. It’s still the same injury that we’ve diagnosed and had all of our doctors that do a great job with it. But this could be an extended situation. 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.”

Winston and the team’s head trainer, Bobby Slater, traveled to Pensacola, Florida, last Tuesday for a visit with Dr. James Andrews, who’s been consulted throughout Winston’s healing but had not yet seen the injury in person.

Koetter said last week that the visit with Andrews didn’t change the timeline. Surgery is currently not being considered, and right now they do believe that resting it is the best option.

“From what I know, I do [expect him back],” Koetter said. “It was ‘Rest him for two weeks [and then] see where he is at.’ He talked to multiple doctors and that’s what the plan is. There is really nothing to add to that right now.”

“I know Jameis is planning on playing again,” Koetter said. “There has been no discussion between Jason and myself of him not playing again. That would all be something that would have to come up in the future.”

The Bucs snapped a five-game losing streak Sunday against the Jets. But they are four games behind the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints and are 0-2 in the division, meaning that a comeback would be highly unlikely and it could do far more harm than good throwing Winston out there at less than 100 percent, especially given what’s happened with the Indianapolis Colts and Andrew Luck.

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