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Brackens on IR list


The waiting has ended. Tony Brackens' left knee will not heal in time for him to complete this season, which caused the Jaguars to place Brackens on the injured reserve list today.

In a press release, the Jaguars said Brackens will undergo surgery to repair damage in his left knee and will miss the remainder of the season. Brackens had been attempting to recover from surgery performed on that knee last January.

"On Monday, Tony underwent an MRI on his knee for recent increased swelling and last evening Dr. (Carlos) Tandron talked with me about the MRI," Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin said in the release. "The MRI revealed articular cartilage wear, which will require surgery. At this point, the prudent move is for Tony to go ahead and undergo surgery so the knee can heal. I met with Tony this morning, we examined the facts, and both agreed that now is the time to have the surgery."

Brackens is the Jaguars' all-time sack leader. He sat out the first three preseason games before seeing limited action in the Aug. 29 finale against Dallas. He had been limited to one practice per week this season because of recurring swelling in the knee, but was able to play about half the plays in each of the first five regular-season games, while splitting time at right defensive end with Paul Spicer.

"Throughout training camp and up to now Tony has fought through the pain and contributed as well as he could," Coughlin added. "The unusual schedule that he has followed -- with one day of practice followed by stretching, strengthening, conditioning, and then playing on Sunday -- has been an effort to help Tony progress through this. He has shown patience and perseverance, he has played with pain and he has tried to be the productive player we know he is. But instead of gaining confidence in the knee, he has been losing confidence."

Brackens had one sack on Sept. 29 against the New York Jets. It was the team-record 49th sack of his career. In five games this season he also made 16 tackles, two quarterback pressures and one fumble recovery. Brackens holds team records for forced fumbles (27), fumbles recovered (13), and interceptions by a defensive lineman (four). He led the team in sacks in each of the last three seasons.

Last spring, the Jaguars re-structured Brackens' contract to reduce his 2002 salary cap number and allow the team to match the New Orleans Saints' offer to cornerback Jason Craft. The re-structured contract made Brackens a $3.24 million cap hit this season but increased his remaining bonus amortization to $13.825 million.

That figure is second-highest on the team, just beneath wide receiver Jimmy Smith's. Brackens' remaining amortization is where the real concern begins for the Jaguars. They will have to deal with Brackens' contract in a major way during the offseason, due to the high remaining amortization and a spike in salary. For that reason, it's most important his recovery from this most recent surgery begin as soon as possible.

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