JACKSONVILLE – Practice was good, and Chris Smith is going to get a chance Sunday.
Those were major topics when Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley spoke to the media Thursday afternoon, as was the fractured right hand of starting middle linebacker Paul Posluszny.
Posluszny's status Sunday remains a primary issue this week, with much to be determined before anything final is determined.
"What we have to determine is one, medical," Head Coach Gus Bradley said Thursday as the Jaguars (4-8) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (6-6) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. "Is he cleared with his surgery, where is he at and how soon can he play? That's first and foremost."
Posluszny, the Jaguars' second-leading tackler and defensive leader, on Tuesday underwent surgery on a fractured right hand sustained Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. The Jaguars have yet to rule him out Sunday against the Colts, though he has missed practice both days this week.
Second-year Jordan Tripp would start for Posluszny, and Bradley said a factor is how effective Posluszny can be playing with a cast or club on his hand.
"What can he do and how can he take on blocks and things like that?" Bradley said. "I think we have to put all of those things together."
The Jaguars appear to be getting healthy at the Otto linebacker position next to Posluszny. Dan Skuta, who has missed three of the last four games with a groin injury, worked full Thursday after returning to practice on a limited basis Wednesday.
Tripp played much of the Tennessee loss at Otto in place of Thurston Armbrister, who had played the Otto in recent weeks in place of Skuta before being benched Sunday for ineffectiveness.
"It felt good today," Skuta said.
Posluszny was one of three Jaguars players not practicing Thursday along with wide receiver Bryan Walters (back) and Leo defensive end Ryan Davis (knee).
Walters, who has played a key role as a reserve this season, missed a second consecutive practice. He played Sunday after missing Wednesday and Thursday practice with the injury.
"With Walt it's going to be day to day," Bradley said. "I think that there's days that he feels pretty good and other days stiff in the morning and then he feels better."
Take a look at images of Thursday's practice as the Jaguars prepare to host the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field on Sunday.
Bradley said Davis' injury, along with a need for increased productivity at the Leo position, means Smith will be active at the Leo Sunday. Smith, a second-year veteran, has been inactive eight of the last nine games but had a quarterback pressure against the Chargers two weeks ago.
"I've just got to go out there and do what I do," Smith said. "Like I told Gus, 'Whenever my number's called, I'm there running.' I just have to be ready for all positions this week."
Smith, a fifth-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, had three sacks while playing seven games as a rookie. He has no sacks and six tackles in four games this season.
"My conversation with him has been during this time can you continue to compete through practice and continue to improve?" Bradley said. "And he really has. He's done a great job with that. I think I mentioned it two weeks ago: we're trying to find ways to get him up and we're finding a way."
Also on Thursday, defensive end Chris Clemons worked full after missing practice Wednesday with a veteran day off and safety Johnathan Cyprien (stinger) worked full after missing Wednesday. Safety Sergio Brown (hamstring) and tight end Nic Jacobs (hamstring) worked limited for a second consecutive day while wide receiver Allen Hurns (ankle/thigh) worked limited after being full Wednesday.
Defensive tackle Roy Miller (knee) worked limited after not practicing Wednesday and right tackle Jermey Parnell was added to the injury report with a knee injury.
Bradley called Thursday's practice "very, very competitive," and said the team's red-zone period stood out on what may have been the most competitive Thursday practice of the season.
"We amped it up and did five plays in there and it was really at the request of the players," Bradley said. "We normally have two or three plays down there and they said, 'Let's go five' – extremely competitive situation so there were different aspects of that throughout practice."