Winfield is arguably one of the Bucs' best defensive players. After starting as a safety and moonlighting as a nickelback last year, he has made almost a full-time transition to the role but still lines up as a safety about 30% of the time, giving the Bucs greater ability to disguise their coverages.
Winfield's injury is a huge blow to a reeling 3-4 team that has dropped four out of its past five games and has already been without several members of its defensive backfield.
Safety Logan Ryan was placed on injured reserve and underwent foot surgery last week with the hopes of returning for a postseason push.
Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting has missed the past two weeks with a quadriceps injury, but although he hasn't practiced, he is now running, a sign of progress.
Also of note -- wide receiver Russell Gage, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Panthers, is undergoing an MRI, leaving his status for Thursday night up in the air.