Jameis Winston has sprained AC joint, could still play

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not off to a good start, and it doesn’t get better with news that quarterback Jameis Winston has an injured throwing shoulder.

Winston, who left Sunday’s game in the first half with the injury, has a sprained AC joint in his right throwing shoulder according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. While that sounds bad, Rapoport also reported that Winston could play through the injury.

Winston continued to play for a while Sunday after suffering the injury and was warming up in the second half, though he never went back in the game. That indicated the injury wasn’t too serious. If Winston can’t play, Ryan Fitzpatrick would step in. Fitzpatrick is unlikely to turn around Tampa Bay’s 2-3 season.

The problem if Winston plays through the injury is he might not be effective. If Winston’s arm strength is impacted by an injured shoulder, that has clear ramifications with his play. Quarterbacks have played through the injury, however. One notable recent example is Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who suffered a reported sprained AC joint against the Cincinnati Bengals in the playoffs at the end of the 2015 season. Roethlisberger missed some time in that game but returned to lead a game-winning drive, then played the next week against the Denver Broncos and had 339 passing yards in a loss.

Not all injuries or players are the same and perhaps Winston won’t be able to bounce back as quickly as Roethlisberger or others who have dealt with that injury. But it gives the Buccaneers hope that Winston can continue to play. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than watching their disappointing start turn quickly into a lost season without their quarterback.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals defeated the Buccaneers 38-33. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!