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Bucs QB Jameis Winston to start vs. Packers after returning to practice

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston returned to practice Wednesday and will start on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, according to Bucs coach Dirk Koetter.

Winston has been shelved for three weeks in order to heal his injured throwing shoulder.

"He's healthy. He's cleared to go," Koetter said. "Jameis is gonna start on Sunday."

"We're still taking it day to day," said Koetter. "He threw the football fine. His arm strength was fine. I don't think any guy that plays a skill position like that where timing is involved is gonna take three weeks off and be perfect on the first day but we'll see how the week goes."

Winston took all the reps during the 30-minute portion of practice that was open to the media. He threw mostly short and intermediate passes, first to tight ends and then to his wide receivers. He did not show any visible signs of the injury or appear to be challenged by a steady wind.

While he was out, Winston spent the majority of his time rehabbing with the training staff for nearly the full duration of practices. He also received a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection to help accelerate the healing process.

Winston went in for his weekly MRI on Monday and underwent a series of tests by the training staff. He had been playing through a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder, an injury he suffered in Week 6 when taking a hit from Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones. Winston was pulled after the first half of the Bucs' Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints.

"I know he's been missing it," said wide receiver Mike Evans, a favorite target of Winston's the past three years. "That's my brother. It's gonna be good to have him back."

When the coaching staff met Tuesday, they formulated a game plan for both Winston and backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, who led the Bucs to a 2-1 record while Winston was out.

"It's gonna be great. I've missed that guy out there the past couple of games," wide receiver DeSean Jackson said. "He's healthy finally now, so it's a great addition to have back. All we can do is take one game at a time and finish as strong as we can, so it's a great thing to have."

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy added: "I'm excited to have him back. ... He is the face [of the team]."

Winston is being investigated by the NFL for an alleged Uber incident that took place in March 2016. A female driver accused Winston of grabbing her by the crotch during the ride. Winston has denied the allegations, saying he believes the driver is mistaken about where he was sitting in the vehicle and the number of passengers in the car.