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Friday update: Skuta officially ruled out


JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars returned to work Friday.

They did so after taking Thursday off for Thanksgiving, and they also did so in relatively good health 10 games into the NFL season.

Dan Skuta – the team's starting Otto linebacker – was ruled out for Sunday's key game against the San Diego Chargers at EverBank Field, but he was the only active Jaguars starter ruled out for the game.

Skuta, a starter in nine of the team's first 10 games, missed the team's victory over the Baltimore Ravens on November 15 with a groin injury, then played two quarters of a victory over the Tennessee Titans on November 19 before leaving. He had said earlier this week he doubted he would play Sunday.

The Jaguars officially ruled him out Friday on their final injury report of the week.

"He has gotten better," Head Coach Gus Bradley said of Skuta Friday as the Jaguars (4-6) prepared to play the Chargers (2-8) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

Of Skuta possibly returning next week at Tennessee, Bradley said, "I think that we'll see where he's at. I know he feels like about where he was last week, so I think more precautionary to get him back fully."

Rookie free-agent Thurston Armbrister is expected to start in start in Skuta's place Sunday. He started at middle linebacker in Week 5 at Tampa Bay, and has worked at the Otto since that game. He started for Skuta against Baltimore.

Running back Bernard Pierce (calf) officially was listed as doubtful for Sunday's game, as were wide receiver Neal Sterling (illness) and safety Craig Loston (ankle). Pierce missed the Titans game and Loston left the game late with the injury.

Sterling has been away from the team throughout the week dealing with the flu.

Running back Toby Gerhart (groin) was listed as probable, as were tight end Nic Jacobs (hamstring), wide receiver Allen Hurns (foot/thigh), defensive tackle Roy Miller (knee), defensive tackle Michael Bennett (hamstring) and cornerback Peyton Thompson (foot).

Miller had missed practice Wednesday because of a veteran day off, and Bennett is returning after missing the past two games. He could add depth at the three-technique tackle spot with starter Sen'Derrick Marks out for the season.

End Tyson Alualu has started eight games at three-technique, starting there early in the season with Marks out with a knee injury and again against Tennessee after Marks was placed on injured reserve with a torn triceps. Tackle Abry Jones and end Jared Odrick also have gotten work at the three-technique.

Also on Friday, the Jaguars' running game remained an issue entering the San Diego game.

The Chargers, who have lost their last six games, rank 26th in the NFL against the run having allowed 125.9 yards per game. The Chiefs rushed for 153 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries in a 33-3 victory at San Diego this past week.

The Jaguars have shown flashes of running well this season, but rank 24th in the NFL with 95.4 yards per game rushing.

"We'd like to do it every week," Jaguars center Stefen Wisniewski said. "We've got to get the carries up and the yards per carry up. Certainly every week, that's something we try to do."

Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon has rushed for 585 yards on 147 carries, leading AFC rookie running backs in rushing. He entered the Tennessee game with a foot issue, but came out of that game healthy.

"I think the foot thing is pretty good," Bradley said.

The Jaguars at times this season have struggled in short-yardage situations, with Gerhart stopped on four attempts from the 1-yard line in a victory over Buffalo in London last month and Denard Robinson stopped on three tries from the 7-yard line against Tennessee last week.

Check out images from Wednesday's practice as the Jaguars prepare to host the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

Bradley on Friday was asked about using Yeldon in short yardage. Asked if was a possibility Sunday, Bradley smiled and said, "Yeah."

"I don't think we were ever not comfortable with putting T.J. in there," Bradley said. "I think it was a situation where you have roles and packages set up for players in certain situations. I think the Buffalo game it was Toby and then it happened to where it was attack mode (against Tennessee) and Denard was in there.

"I think it happens more by that but it's not something we don't feel comfortable with having T.J. in there."

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