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Brackens runs; Mills lost


On the same day Tony Brackens gave the Jaguars hope he might be able to play this season, the team lost promising, young defensive end Javor Mills for the season.

"It was not a strain; it's a ruptured ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)," coach Jack Del Rio said of the knee injury Mills suffered in Saturday night's preseason opener in Minnesota.

"All you can do is look at the positive side. I know that's difficult for him right now. I think he's a talented guy," Del Rio said.

The loss of Mills reduces the Jaguars' ranks at their position of most critical need. Mills had been competing with Lionel Barnes for a roster spot. Ahead of those two is starting right defensive end Hugh Douglas and Paul Spicer and Marco Coleman, who've been locked in competition for the starting job on the left side.

Will Brackens soon be added to the mix?

That's the burning question following this morning's practice, when Brackens did some brief running on a field adjacent to the live action.

"Tony Brackens started working a little bit on the side and obviously I'm happy about that," said Del Rio, who offered no timetable for Brackens' return to full action. "It's wait and see. I'm optimistic," Del Rio added.

Brackens is attempting a comeback from microfracture knee surgery last November and an appendectomy in mid-June. The veteran defensive end re-structured his contract this past offseason to allow for his comeback attempt, but he remains one of the Jaguars' highest remaining amortization players.

Meanwhile, defensive tackle Marcus Stroud returned to practice after missing Saturday's game with a knee bruise. And star running back Fred Taylor's knee injury officially remains a "bone bruise," as Taylor began his third week of inactivity.

"Nothing to add; nothing new," Del Rio said when asked for an update on Taylor's left knee.

But Taylor assured reporters during a post-practice interview that he would be ready for the start of the regular season. "It's not a sprain; it's a bone bruise. I'll be ready for the season," Taylor said.

Taylor was injured in practice on July 30. He said he sustained the injury when he made an awkward step.

"Let the fans know I'm fine. If it was the season opener tomorrow, I'd play. I'm going to be ready. I think it's going to be an outstanding year for me, personally. I told the coaches when they got here, I'll be a guy they can count on," he added.

Taylor developed a reputation early in his career for being injury prone. Fans dubbed him "Fragile Fred" when he missed the first three games of the 2000 season with a knee injury he suffered in the second preseason game, and Taylor has been dogged by that tag ever since.

Last year, Taylor was the Jaguars' starter in all 16 regular season games. With a new contract in hand, Taylor hopes to shed the past and become the durable running back the fans have demanded.

"I'm not worried about what they think. I'm concerned about what my teammates and coaches think." Taylor said. "I really want to be the workhorse. I haven't had the opportunity to get that label next to my name. It's always been the injury bug."

Other players who missed practice due to injury are: Cortez Hankton, Jermaine Lewis, Brandon Green and Barnes. Bobby Brooks sustained a groin strain and Daryl Terrell was forced out of action by a stomach virus.

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