Jameis Winston gives the Bucs the best chance to win each game. If he is healthy enough, he plays. Thirty-nine straight games, this has been true. It’s the Bucs and Winston. They’re as inseparable as a man and his shadow.

But Winston is hurt. The only thing anybody debates is the degree to which it affects his performance.

He suffered an AC sprain in his right throwing shoulder and had to leave the Bucs’ game at Arizona on Oct. 15. They trailed 24-0 at the time and lost 38-35 after a furious rally led by veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The past two weeks, Winston hasn’t been cleared to throw until Friday. That means he misses the heavy game-planning work on Wednesday and Thursday.

The first week with the injury, it didn’t seem to hurt Winston at Buffalo when he passed for 384 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He gave the Bucs a lead with just more than three minutes to play, but the defense collapsed and they lost 30-27.

Then came Sunday. On a blustery day, he missed a lot of throws he normally makes. He went 21-of-38 for 210 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He also lost a fumble.

"Yeah, it was not Jameis’ best game," coach Dirk Koetter said Monday. "… Jameis missed some throws that he normally makes."

The question the Bucs are dealing with: If Winston cannot practice, should they shut him down? Should they sit him against the Saints on Sunday, give his shoulder a week or two off to possibly heal and go with Fitzpatrick?

The belief by some is that while Winston got away with not practicing much before the Bills game, it may have hurt his timing and precision against Carolina.

"I can’t explain why he would play so well at Buffalo and miss some throws" Sunday, Koetter said. "The one thing that was different was it was much windier. That was about as windy of a game that I’ve been in in a long time in the NFL. I’m not sure how much that affected him."

So is there any scenario where if Winston is cleared to play, the Bucs would considering not starting him?