The New Orleans Saints will welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Caesars Superdome on Sunday afternoon in an important early season game for New Orleans if they are to compete with the Bucs for the NFC South division crown.
However, they’ll be doing so shorthanded, as Alvin Kamara remains out with a rib injury and they also face a potential issue at quarterback, where Jameis Winston will be suiting up and starting despite four fractures in his back, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 18, 2022
Jameis Winston playing with 4 fractures in his back today from L1 down to L4. Playing in a lot of pain with extra padding to protect the area but still playing @NFLonFOX
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) September 18, 2022
Winston will wear extra padding, but one has to wonder how many hits he’ll be able to take from a very aggressive Todd Bowles defense that lit up Dak Prescott and the Cowboys a week ago. The Saints backup is Andy Dalton, who has not had much success in recent seasons in spot duty in Dallas and Chicago, and Taysom Hill remains on the roster as someone who can take some snaps.
It seems risky for Winston to play through a back injury like this, even if doctors reportedly told him there’s no risk of further damage — which, seems hard to know for certain. It’s an important game but it’s still Week 2 of a 17-game season, and the Saints will need Winston as healthy as possible longterm if they’re going to compete for a playoff spot.