TAMPA — Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will start Sunday at Detroit though a right thumb injury kept him from fully participating in practice most of the week.
Friday, Winston was able to grip a football and throw it. On Wednesday, he took throwing reps without a ball in his hand, then graduated to throwing a tennis ball Thursday.
“Jameis threw the ball well today and he’s ready to go,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said. “Just to be able to (show) strength with the ball and hold on to it, more so getting it knocked out of his hand and throwing it. He’s fine.
“That’s the one thing about him, he’s dependable. You want that in all your players. Knock on wood, we’ve been pretty injury-free this year. So to have guys who put it on the line each and every week when they’re injured, not injured, but in pain, that’s pretty good.”
Left tackle Donovan Smith did not practice this week with knee and ankle injuries, and Arians said he will be a game-time decision.
“We’ll see,” Arians said. “It’s going to be close.”
If Smith does not play, it would be the first game he has missed in his five-year NFL career after 77 consecutive starts.
“When a guy’s pretty dependable, you know it’s bad when they don’t make it (to practice),” Arians said, referring to Smith. “I know he’ll give everything he’s got.”
The Bucs will be without defensive tackle Beau Allen — who injured his ankle by stepping on someone’s foot late in Thursday’s practice — as well as receiver Mike Evans and outside linebacker Anthony Nelson.
The Bucs will get right guard Alex Cappa and rookie receiver Scotty Miller. Despite Miller’s return, Justin Watson will retain punt return duties.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @EddieInTheYard.