Coach Jack Del Rio was at a loss for an explanation. For the second time in three days a Jaguars defensive tackle succumbed to the morning heat, and Del Rio was left to defend a practice regimen he described as being "scaled down."
John Henderson, the Jaguars' first-round draft choice in 2002, was felled by the heat in the final minutes of practice this morning. Henderson provided the same anxious moments -- before he was whisked from the field to a waiting ambulance -- as defensive tackle Larry Smith had on Sunday morning.
"'Big John' had an episode where he was short of breath, so we went into the mode of getting him cooled down and treated," Del Rio said.
Henderson was fed fluids intravenously in the ambulance, while Del Rio conducted his post-practice press conference. He was taken to Baptist Hospital after his condition was stabilized.
"We anticipate he'll be just fine," Del Rio said.
Henderson, 6-7, 328, is a few pounds over his target weight, but Del Rio added: "He's not terribly out of line from where we want him to be. He's not a sloppy guy."
The former Tennessee star had shown signs of wilting in the heat of Sunday's morning practice, but made it through Monday's session without incident. And Monday's morning practice was more grueling than today's.
"We had as cool a morning as we've had here in camp. At this time of the year, to have as cool a morning as we had, it's a break, plus we were on the grass," Del Rio said.
The rookie head coach, in just the fourth day of his first training camp, is searching for answers to the heat mystery. He didn't discount night practices or consideration of a "bubble" indoor-type facility.
"There's a good chance that before the end of camp we'll have some lights," Del Rio said of moving some of the Jaguars' practices to night.
And about a "bubble," for which Tom Coughlin campaigned throughout his eight years as coach, Del Rio added: "We would love to have one. We'll continue to look into that. It's a decision the organization has to make."
But the Smith and Henderson episodes may also be isolated incidents that are not indicative of a team-wide problem. By training camp standards, this morning's practice was a cakewalk. The Jaguars spent at least half of the two-hour session in walk-throughs, and Del Rio's schedule provided for two, five-minute water breaks. The Jaguars have an air-conditioned pavilion at their practice facility for getting players out of the sun during water breaks.
"We've only had four IVs (intravenous treatments) in the first four days of camp, and that's down from past years here," Del Rio said.
"I believe there's a certain amount of work you have to do. It's a physical game. But this is the kind of camp you should be able to get through and get to the season fresh," Del Rio said in defending his regimen.
"It's obviously serious. We have two guys who've needed serious medical attention. No camp is easy. But this is not unduly tough. I know we're doing the right things. I feel good about our approach," he added.
Smith spent Sunday night in Baptist Hospital and underwent tests before he was released Monday afternoon. He did not practice with the team this morning. Del Rio said Smith conducted an indoor workout while the team was on the field.
"They'll go on an ultra-sensitive watch list," the coach said of his two defensive tackles.
"We're taking all of the proper steps. We will continue to critique ourselves, but we believe we're in line with what needs to be done," Del Rio said.