JACKSONVILLE – The hoping for the best continues.
That has been the status of Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette’s hamstring throughout the week, and it remained that way Thursday.
Fournette, who missed practice Wednesday and again Thursday, told reporters attending his weekly media availability Thursday afternoon his status for Sunday would be a game-time decision.
“It feels good,” Fournette said as the Jaguars (1-0) prepared to play the New England Patriots (1-0) at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 4:25 p.m.
Fournette, who jogged on the side at practice Thursday afternoon, said he liked his chances to play Sunday.
“Most definitely,” he said. “I like it now. As the days have been going on it feels better and better.”
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone on Wednesday said the team likely will have Fournette test the injury Friday afternoon.
“It’s not up to me what they want me to do,” Fournette said. “It’s their call about the speed and the tempo of what they want me to do.”
Marrone also said Wednesday he had no problem playing Fournette if the second-year veteran doesn’t practice this week.
“Even though I’m not practicing I’m still in film every day in the morning,” Fournette said. “Even when I’m doing therapy I’m going through plays.”
Fournette, who led the Jaguars with 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns rushing as a rookie last season, rushed for 41 yards on nine carries before sustaining a hamstring injury in the Jaguars’ Week 1 victory over the New York Giants this past Sunday.
Sunday’s game not only is the Jaguars’ ’18 regular-season home opener, it is the first time the Jaguars and Patriots have played since New England beat Jacksonville in the AFC Championship Game in January.
“Of course any person would give anything to play,” Fournette said. “It’s a great football team we’re going against – very competitive. We’ll just have to see.”
Fournette was asked about balancing the desire to play with being smart about the injury early in a 16-game season.
“As a competitor, nobody wants to miss any games,” Fournette said. “We have a lot of big games early in the year. Every game counts to me as far as a player and one of the leaders on this team.”
Fournette said he sustained the injury on a second-quarter swing pass, and he said he believes the injury occurred shortly before he was contacted by a Giants defender on the play.
“I think it was from me planting,” he said. “I felt it pop before I got hit.”
Fournette said he had a more severe hamstring issue while running track in high school.
“My main focus is to strengthen it back up – to get the swelling or whatever it is in there, then come out Sunday and play,” Fournette said.