NEW ORLEANS – Saints quarterback Jameis Winston was diagnosed with a torn knee ligaments on Monday that will end his season, coach Sean Payton said.
Payton has confirmed the extent of the injury, first reported by the NFL Network, following an MRI scan that showed an anterior cruciate ligament tear and damage to the medial collateral ligament in Winston’s left knee.
Winston picked up an injury early in the second quarter of New Orleans’ 36-27 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. On the play, Winston was rushing when he was shot from behind by linebacker Devin White, who was penalized for a collar tackle.
Winston’s knee flexed as he fell. He couldn’t leave the pitch unassisted and was replaced by Trevor Siemian for the remainder of the game.
Payton also said he was content to stay with the three healthy QBs remaining on the Saints roster: Siemian, Taysom Hill and rookie Ian Book.
“We’re happy with the quarterback,” said Payton.
Winston was 4-2 in six full games as a starter and his 16-yard touchdown pass to Tre’Quan Smith on Sunday tied the game against Tampa Bay at 7. It was also the score when he left. the game.
Siemian was the main substitute against the Bucs because Hill was still recovering from a concussion against Washington in Week 5. Payton said Hill’s condition is progressing well, but declined to comment on whether Hill was cleared to. resume training this week.
Even though Hill is back against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Payton declined to comment on how he would approach the decision to give Siemian a chance to pick up where he left off, or install Hill, who went 3 -1 as a starter last season while Drew Brees was sidelined with rib and lung injuries.
“That will be the $ 6 million question and honestly, we’re going to take a close look at what’s best for our team in this game,” against Atlanta, said Payton. “As the week goes on, we’ll see how we want this to play out.”
Winston came to the Saints as a reserve to learn from Payton and Brees in 2020, after the Buccaneers allowed him to enter free agency so they could replace him with Tom Brady.
While the Bucs drafted Winston No. 1 in 2015, he was a mercurial artist early in his career, often canceling highly productive stints with costly mistakes.
In 2019, he led the NFL with 5,109 yards and 33 passing touchdowns, but also led the league in interceptions with 30 – and the Bucs missed the playoffs.
In New Orleans, Winston had focused on improving his cover readings and decision-making, and his 14 touchdown passes against just three interceptions this season – not to mention his record of wins as a leaving – indicated that he was making progress on this front.
“We were really encouraged. We felt like, man, we had seen the strength in arms, the leadership, all of that stuff,” Payton said. “He was someone who had become an essential part of what we were doing.”
Now his future in the NFL is once again less certain. He only had a one-year contract with New Orleans, turns 28 on Jan.6, and is set to finish the league year as a free agent as he recovers from reconstructive surgery knee.