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Jameis Winston did not practice Wednesday, expects to return to field Thursday for New Orleans Saints

'Really, it's more just trying to rest and trying to make sure he's healthy'

New Orleans Saints held practice in London and debuted their alternate black helmets Wednesday, Sept. 28 ahead of their Sunday game against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4 of the 2022 NFL season.

Jameis Winston didn't practice Wednesday in the New Orleans Saints' preparation for Sunday's game against Minnesota at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. But the New Orleans Saints quarterback expects to be back on the field Thursday, and plans to play Sunday.

"Really, it's more just trying to rest and trying to make sure he's healthy," Coach Dennis Allen said of Winston, who was listed with back and ankle injuries on Wednesday's practice report. Winston has been dealing with four fractured vertebrae in his back.

"I anticipate that he'll be back out there (Thursday)," Allen said.

"I can't tell you exactly how the healing process goes. We felt like today was a good day to give him a rest day and try get him a little bit of recovery, and I anticipate he'll be back out there tomorrow."

Winston said he was informed Wednesday that he wouldn't be practicing, but agreed that he would be on the field Thursday. He also didn't practice last Wednesday in the lead-up to the Carolina game, and was limited in practice last Thursday.

"The main thing is me healing and becoming healthy so I can best assist this team," Winston said. "My internal problems have nothing to do with the holistic part of this team. I'm preparing my best every single day to be as healthy as I can be for gameday."

Winston played with extra padding to protect his back against Carolina, which was a variation from his norm.

"My biggest thing was when you lace me up with all these pads, make sure I'm practicing in it, not just doing it on game day," he said. "I'm a stickler about that type of stuff, I want it the exact same way. But it's a learning process with everybody. It's me communicating with the trainers – and they're doing a good job – me communicating with D.A. But at the end of the day, when it's time to lace them up, we're ready to rock."

So far this season, Winston has five interceptions (all in the fourth quarter of the last two games) and has been sacked 11 times as the offense has struggled to find its footing. It has scored 10 and 14 points in the last two games, after scoring 17 in the fourth quarter of the season-opening comeback win against Atlanta.

"The success is in the struggle," he said. "You have to endure certain things that you don't necessarily want to endure, but you know that it's all a process of something that's coming for you.

"But you have to earn it, you have to work for it as much as you possibly can. When you work for things that doesn't mean you're going to get it instantly, but the persistence and the resilience will translate to it coming to you in the end."

Left tackle James Hurst said watching Winston deal with his injuries has been inspirational for him.

"As his teammate, I love that," Hurst said. "I know he's going to battle, I know he's going to be out there. If he can stand up, he's going to be out and I love that as a teammate.

"As an offensive lineman, we know he's battling through it so we've really got to keep him up. Gotta keep him off the ground, keep him from getting hit in any way we can – so whether that's blocking an extra second, whatever it may be, we've really got to focus in and know how important it is to do our job."

Allen said, "I don't think so," when asked whether he was concerned about Winston's availability for Sunday, and the quarterback said, "That's my plan."

"At the end of the day, my job is to be as prepared as I can be to perform on Sunday," Winston said. "I think I've been doing my best to do that."

Sunday, he hopes that will result in the Saints ending their two-game losing streak.

"We're persevering," Winston said. "We've got some solid captains. We've been here before, this is a long season. We're chopping wood and carrying water, and it doesn't stop."

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