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Cecil Shorts ruled out for Sunday


A difficult spot for the Jaguars got a little tougher Friday.

Cecil Shorts, the Jaguars' leading receiver, on Friday afternoon was ruled out of the team's game against the New York Jets Sunday because of a concussion sustained five days ago, a move that further weakened a lineup already hurt by injuries.

Shorts was one of six players ruled out on the team's Friday injury report.

"We definitely think it would be better for him to be very cautious," Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey said Friday as the Jaguars (2-10) prepared to play the New York Jets (5-7) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

Shorts, a second-year wide receiver who has seven touchdown receptions this season, was ruled out along with running back Rashad Jennings and defensive end George Selvie, each of whom also sustained concussions in a loss to the Bills Sunday.

Cornerback Aaron Ross (calf) and guard Mike Brewster (hand) also were ruled out, as was three-time Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who will miss a seventh consecutive game with a sprained foot.

The injuries confirmed the latest in a slew of recent lineup changes for the Jaguars, who will enter Sunday's game with Montell Owens starting at running back, rookies Justin Blackmon and Kevin Elliott at wide receiver, Chad Henne at quarterback and veteran Marcedes Lewis at tight end.

Owens will be making his first start at running back, Elliott also will be starting for the first time, and Henne will be making his third start with the organization.

"It is what it is," Mularkey said. "We've been dealing with it on defense with our linebacker position. It's been going on. We have to have guys come up and play to the best of their ability. Our guys have done that and that's all we've asked, is that they do the best they can, play with great effort, play physical and not have a drop-off in their play.

"However high a level that is that they can play, they can't have a drop-off in their play. It is what it is and we're going to step on the field with whoever's in that uniform."

Jordan Shipley, acquired as a free agent on November 20, will be the third receiver, and recently-signed rookie Toney Clements will back up the outside receivers.

"That's the name of this game – when you get your opportunity, you make the most of it," Lewis said. "Obviously, the margin for error is small. We just have to do what we've practiced all week, let it carry over and be professional."

Mularkey said while Shorts was officially ruled out Friday, the Jaguars planned and practiced throughout the week as if he wouldn't play. That meant working extensively with a group of young receivers opposite Blackmon, the No. 5 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.

"We kind of planned ahead," Mularkey said of Shorts. "He took a pretty serious hit, and just knowing the symptoms he has, we've been monitoring. We planned without and knew we could adjust."

Mularkey said while Shorts passed his baseline concussion test Tuesday, he has experienced symptoms this week.

"To me, I always have concerns when it's the guy's head, neck, back," Mularkey said. "Something that can be life-altering – I do have concerns about that. With regard to playing, that's second."

Brewster, an undrafted rookie, will be replaced in the lineup by fourth-year veteran Eben Britton, who played in place of Brewster last week. Brewster re-entered the game last week after sustaining a broken hand, but Mularkey said the injury is still too painful for Brewster to play Sunday.

"It's a pretty severe break, and it's painful," Mularkey said.

Also around the Jaguars Friday, cornerback Derek Cox practiced for a second consecutive day after missing the Bills game with a hamstring injury and is listed as probable. Cornerback Rashean Mathis also is listed as probable. Mularkey said he expects each to play, though he hadn't decided on the starting cornerbacks as of Friday afternoon.

Other Jaguars listed as probable: fullback Greg Jones (thigh), defensive end Austen Lane (foot), defensive tackle Tyson Alualu (calf), center Brad Meester (foot) and safety Dwight Lowery (foot).

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