TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jameis Winston says consulting Dr. James Andrews about his sore throwing shoulder was "standard protocol" and not an indication the injury is worse than he and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers initially believed.
"I've known Dr. Andrews for a long time," the 23-year-old quarterback said Wednesday, a day after traveling to Pensacola, Florida, to visit the renowned orthopedic surgeon he has known since he was in the sixth grade.
"All the doctors are working together to come up with what they think," Winston added. "All I know is for the next two weeks I'm going to be rehabbing to get the shoulder 100 percent."
The Bucs announced Monday that the third-year pro, who sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder on Oct. 15, will miss at least two games after aggravating the injury during last week's 30-10 road loss at New Orleans.
Coach Dirk Koetter reiterated doctors believe the best course of action at this time is rest.
Winston has played through the injury the past three weeks, with Tampa Bay (2-6) extending its losing streak to five games.
"Dr. Andrews has been involved in this since the beginning. He's been getting the updates every week. He's been seeing the MRI reports every week," Koetter said. "Yesterday was just the first time Jameis went there in person."
On Sunday, Ryan Fitzpatrick will replace Winston, who's made 40 consecutive starts to begin his pro career. Fitzpatrick will face the New York Jets, the veteran backup's team the past two seasons.
"It's challenging. But at the same time, it gives me an opportunity to be there for my team in any way that I can — not just on the field," Winston said of the decision to shut him down. Obviously I want to be out there playing. I love this game. I'm very passionate about this game. I look at it as a great opportunity to rest and become 100 percent."
Meanwhile, the quarterback apologized for his role in a sideline skirmish last Sunday with New Orleans cornerback Marshon Lattimore. The incident escalated when Bucs receiver Mike Evans got involved, too.
Evans was suspended one game by the NFL for violating league rules on unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness after running up from behind and knocking Lattimore to the ground when the Saints rookie pushed Winston in response to the quarterback coming off the sideline to confront Lattimore. Winston was not in the game at the time because of his injured shoulder.
"I want to apologize for the incident ... (It's) just something I can't do," the quarterback said, adding he acted in the "heat of the moment."
"I can't come off the field and make any gesture toward an opponent, let alone touch them," Winston said. "I can't do that."
Evans leads the Bucs with 40 receptions for 532 yards and four touchdowns. He appealed the league discipline; however, the suspension was upheld Tuesday.
"I want to sincerely apologize for my actions. ... I saw my quarterback getting shoved and I let my emotions get the better of me," Evans said in a statement released by the team.
"My response was not appropriate and not a true indication of who I am as a player and a person," Evans added. "I take pride in playing the game the right way, and I realize it was unprofessional and hurt my team."
Evans will sit out Sunday's game against the Jets.
Winston would not be surprised if he winds up being fined by the NFL.
"I haven't received it yet," the quarterback said. "It's probably coming."
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