The 3-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers own the worst record in the NFC South, but that's unlikely to factor into the playing status of quarterback Jameis Winston once he is medically cleared from his current shoulder injury.

Head coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht expect Winston to return as soon as possible, despite Licht hinting last week at an extended absence.

"I do,'' Koetter said when asked if he believes Winston will play again in 2017, according to Rick Stroud of "From what I know, I do. But again, it was rest him for two weeks, see where he's at. We talked to multiple doctors. That's what the plan is. There's really nothing to add to that right now. I know Jameis is planning on playing again and there's been no discussion between Jason, myself of him not playing again. That would all be something that would have to come up in the future.''

Ryan Fitzpatrick started for the first time this season in Week 11 against the New York Jets and led the Buccaneers to a 15-10 victory. Fitzpatrick threw for just 187 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Winston was completing passes at a career-best rate of 61.4 percent before finally being sidelined by the injury he has battled through for much of the season. He has 10 touchdowns with six interceptions through parts of eight games, with the limited playing time putting him on pace for career lows in both statistics.

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