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Garrard: "I definitely want to be out there"


David Garrard says his back feels a lot better today than Thursday.

That doesn't mean the Jaguars' starting quarterback will play in the team's open-to-the-public  scrimmage Saturday at EverBank Field at 7 p.m., but Garrard said he expects to be fine moving forward – and besides, he said he wouldn't have been the spotlight at the event had he played.

"I'm pretty sure everybody wants to see 11, anyway," Garrard said with a laugh following a short morning "mock game" at EverBank Field Saturday.

"Eleven" is Blaine Gabbert, the Jaguars' rookie quarterback and the No. 10 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft.

With Garrard not participating, Gabbert and veteran Luke McCown will be the only quarterbacks available.

Garrard, who has been working with the first team in Jaguars 2011 Training Camp when healthy, missed both of the team's practices Friday after leaving practice with tightness in his back Thursday. Although Garrard made contact with defenders on multiple plays Thursday night, he said, "little hits like that don't affect me."

Garrard said he first became concerned about his back Thursday after completing a deep pass in the night practice to Jason Hill.

"It started the chain of events, and as practice went on, I felt my back getting tighter and tighter," Garrard said. "It wasn't until that last throw that kind of set it over the top."

Garrard added, "I'm much better. The fact that I'm up and walking around, I'm pretty good. It's no fun when your back just tightens up on you like that."

Garrard said while he has dealt with lower back issues previously, it never had kept him out of practice or games.

"It's just been kind of there aggravating me, always kind of nagging," he said. "I just don't want to be one of those guys when I'm done who's walking all limped over and can't stand up straight. . . .

"I've had back issues before, but never to the point where it kept me from being able to do stuff, where you guys (the media) probably  would have never even known I had it. But this time it was definitely noticeable."

Garrard not working with Jaguars trainers and chiropractors during the 136-day lockout likely influenced the situation. Garrard said he normally works with chiropractors throughout the offseason, but because of the lockout did not have access to the Jaguars' trainers and chiropractors. He said he has been working with the group since camp began, "but I just got back into the maintenance a little late."

"There are a lot of the things I do maintenance-wise to keep my body healthy and to be able to absorb all of those hits," Garrard said. "I think my body was saying, 'You've done so much already. It's time to shut things down a bit.' That's what I got from it.

"It probably used more explicit words when it really said it."

Garrard said while he can't do any chiropractic work on the back right now, the focus will be on stretching and ice with the idea of letting the back "calm down and relax."

"I hate to be sidelined by an aggravating back, but when your back tightens up on you, there's not that much you can do," Garrard said. "It's part of the game, but I just feel like with the way the off-season went this year, not being able to get any kind of maintenance, I think it just happened."

Garrard said the back felt fine in the off-season, "but there are things you do to (have it) continue to feel fine and as the off-season went on and we were working out, working out, working out I started feeling tightness in my back and a little in my hamstring."

Garrard said this was about a week before camp.

"Once I got here, I finally started getting all my treatment and maintenance and everything," Garrard said. "I just think it was a little further along than I felt it was. When you get into the off-season, it's usually your time to relax and take a break, but there are some things maintenance-wise you have to do to make sure you're ready to go whenever you get things kicked back on."

While Gabbert is widely considered the team's quarterback of the future, Garrard – who has a good relationship with Gabbert -- has said publicly he plans to make that process as difficult as possible for the rookie.

"I definitely want to be out there," Garrard said. "It's not to be out there just to look better than Blaine. I want to be out there so I can continue to get better as a quarterback and get this offense rolling. I never want to miss any time out there. I think you guys know over my career I don't miss very many games. I don't even like to miss practices. But that's just what it is.

"There are some things you can control and some things you can't. There's no way I can really control this."

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