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Bradley encouraged by Gabbert’s progress

Posted Sep 6, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert on injured thumb with 2013 regular-season opener two days away: “We’ll see how I feel tomorrow …”

JACKSONVILLE – Blaine Gabbert’s progression continued Friday.

With the thumb injury that kept him out the final two weeks of the preseason still limiting him in practice, Gabbert – the Jaguars’ starting quarterback – remains uncertain for the regular-season opener, Head Coach Gus Bradley said Friday afternoon.

Bradley said a decision on Gabbert could come as late as pre-game warmups Sunday, but Gabbert took most of the repetitions in practice Friday – a possible sign he is getting closer to being able to play.

“He did a little better job than yesterday,” Bradley said Friday as the Jaguars prepared to play the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2013 regular-season opener at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

 “We’re encouraged with what we saw from Blaine. He took steps in the right direction. It may go up until Sunday, pre-game, when we get a chance to see him. It’s important to see how he comes out the next couple of days.”

Gabbert was officially limited on the Friday injury report, as he had been throughout the week.

“It feels good,” Gabbert said. “It’s a day-by-day thing.”

Gabbert, who said the pain has been consistent this week, said he was encouraged that he had been able to progress each day, and said the next 48 hours “are big.”

 “We’ll see how I feel tomorrow after I threw a bunch today and go from there,” Gabbert said.

Also Friday, tight end Marcedes Lewis was ruled out after missing practice for a second consecutive day. He aggravated a calf injury on Wednesday that kept him out of three preseason games.

“You work so hard to get to this point,” Lewis said. “It’s something that happened during camp. We tried to be smart about it. We rehabbed me back. I was feeling great, had a great practice Monday and I was running great. I felt good. Wednesday, we’re in individual (drills) and I pulled up again.”

Lewis said the calf feels further ahead this week than it did when he initially injured it in preseason.

“Hopefully, I can get back as fast as possible,” Lewis said. “I feel terrible about it. Regardless of whether it’s out of my control, I feel like I’m letting my team down. They count on me so much. I beat myself up about it for a couple of days. I talked to Gus about it. I talked to (General Manager) David Caldwell about it. I feel a lot better about it, but I’m a competitor. I always have been. It sucks I’m going to miss the opener. I’ve never done this before.”

Allen Reisner likely will start in place of Lewis, with tight ends Clay Harbor and D.J. Williams – claimed off waivers from Philadelphia and Green Bay, respectively this past Sunday – also possibly getting extensive work Sunday.

“If there’s any bright side to this injury it’s that it happened early, and we got a chance to get those three guys in early and get a lot of reps with them,” Bradley said.

Said Reisner, “It’s going to be fun. It’s a great opportunity for me. It stinks in the way it’s coming, but I have to play my role and help the team win.”

Gabbert, running back Justin Forsett and guard Will Rackley are listed as questionable for Sunday, with defensive tackle Roy Miller, wide receiver Stephen Burton and defensive end Jeremy Mincey listed as probable.

Also Friday, safety Johnathan Cyprien had tightness in his hamstring, but Bradley said he should be ready to play Sunday.

Bradley said doctors are pleased with Gabbert’s progress, and reiterated what he said Thursday – that Gabbert isn’t putting himself at further risk if he plays Sunday.

“He’s not 100 percent and may have some soreness, but it can’t get any worse,” Bradley said. “He’ll just have to deal with that little bit of pain.”

Bradley said if Gabbert doesn’t start he likely will be made inactive, and Gabbert said he didn’t worry about the possibility of rainy weather Sunday.

“That’s something that’s out of your control,” Gabbert said. “My focus right now is on the game plan and executing our offense.”

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