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Winston day to day with sprained AC joint in shoulder,

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

By FRED GOODALL

AP Sports Writer

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Jameis Winston has a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder, an injury the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hoping will not cost him any more playing time.

The third-year quarterback was hurt during the first half of Sunday's 38-33 loss at Arizona. X-rays were negative, and coach Dirk Koetter said an MRI performed Monday revealed no structural damage.

"He'll be day to day for right now," Koetter said, adding that Winston has not been ruled out for next Sunday's game at Buffalo. "He's sore. He's sore most weeks. ... We just have to see how it goes during the week."

Winston has started 37 consecutive games to begin his career after entering the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

He was replaced against the Cardinals by veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who rallied the Bucs (2-3) from a 31-0 third-quarter deficit to make the final score deceptively close.

Winston was injured when he was hit by Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones less than six minutes into the game. He played two more series before being replaced by Fitzpatrick, who threw for 290 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Koetter said Winston almost certainly will not throw much - if at all - in practice this week. Still, he reiterated it would be premature to conclude the young quarterback won't be able to play against the Bills.

"The way I understand it is, he will be cleared medically to play," Koetter said.

"I know Jameis can handle a lot of pain. That's not going to be an issue," the coach added. "I think it's going to be more, does Jameis feel he can play at the level he needs to play at? Obviously, though, the No. 1 thing in all this is Jameis' long-term health."

Winston completed his first three passes after being injured against Arizona, and then removed himself after throwing incompletions on his last three attempts.

"We'll be able to see, at some point this week, how it's affecting his velocity. That was the thing yesterday. ... Jameis loves to compete and play, but he felt like he just couldn't drive the ball down the field like he needed to," Koetter said.

Third-string quarterback Ryan Griffin is on the injured reserve-designated to return list. He's eligible to return to practice this week, but can't be activated for another two weeks.

Koetter said a decision had not been made on whether to bring in another quarterback this week.

Meanwhile, the coach said he has full confidence in Fitzpatrick - a 13-year pro who has started 116 games for six other teams - if Winston can't play.

"That's why you have an experienced backup," Koetter said. "Jameis likes to take every rep in practice, and so you need a backup who's not a developmental guy, a backup who can go in without getting any reps."

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Updated October 16, 2017

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