JACKSONVILLE – His wait appears over.
Jaguars defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot is expected to play Sunday, ending a season-opening absence from the active roster because of an Achilles injury sustained late last season.
"I'm pretty excited," Smoot said as the Jaguars (3-2) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (3-2) at EverBank Stadium Sunday at 1 p.m.
Head Coach Doug Pederson on Friday morning said Smoot "should be good to go" Sunday.
"He's had two good weeks of practice; he feels good," Pederson said. "All indications are there that he would be ready to go for this game."
Smoot, a seventh-year veteran, sustained a season-ending torn Achilles in the Jaguars' 19-3 victory over the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J., last December 22. He re-signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent shortly before 2023 Training Camp.
Smoot spent training camp and the first four weeks of the regular season on the Physically Unable to Perform list with the team opening a 21-day window for his return last week. He did not play in a Week 5 victory over the Buffalo Bills, but practiced full all three days this week.
"I'm just really excited to get back out with the guys," he said. "With the support of my family and everything, the mental thing has been easy, luckily, but the physical thing has been ups and downs, just trying to get back into it.
"Some days are good, some days are bad, but this last month and a half, they were really good."
Smoot, a third-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2017 NFL Draft, has 22.5 sacks in six seasons with at least five sacks in each of the last four seasons.
"He brings a veteran leadership and presence out there," Pederson said. "You can play him in base defense, you can play him in nickel in pass-rush situations. There's his production that comes from being inside and all of that on third down and stuff.
"I don't think you want to put him on a pitch count, but I think you have to monitor, and you don't want to get his rep count too high [Sunday]. At the same time, you want to let him get comfortable with the game and see how he is doing throughout the course of three hours or so that you're out there."
NOTABLE - INJURY UPDATES
- With defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton returning to practice this week with his window open to return from injured reserve, Pederson said "it's not out of the question" for the veteran to return before the team's November 6 bye. Hamilton, who will not play Sunday, has been on injured reserve since the week leading to the regular-season opener with a back issue. "We'll see," Pederson said. "DaVon is feeling good, his strength is good, his weight is good, all that."
- Wide receiver Zay Jones and left guard Walker Little were ruled out Friday for Sunday's game after leaving a victory over the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday with knee injuries. Neither practiced this week. Linebacker Devin Lloyd is listed as questionable and Pederson said he is expected to play Sunday after missing the last two games with a thumb injury, with rookie cornerback Christian Braswell ruled out with a hamstring injury. Lloyd is expected to play with a soft hand cast protecting the thumb. "It doesn't change anything, but from a grip standpoint, he just can't bend that thumb because it's immobilized basically," Pederson said of Lloyd. "He has the ability to use his four fingers, but he says he feels fine. He feels comfortable using it the more time he's out there, just catching a football is probably not the most ideal with a cast on your wrist."
QUOTABLE - HEAD COACH DOUG PEDERSON
- Pederson said he liked how the team responded this week after spending 10 days in London for Week 4 and 5 victories over the Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills: "It got better each day. I felt that energy and the guys are getting their bodies back from the ten days in Europe and London. It takes time for being over there, just getting used to the time change again, but guys have done a nice job this week." Asked if he was pleased with the team's turnaround this week, he said: "So far, yeah. I'll let you know Sunday at about 4:30."