The sprained ankle defensive tackle John Henderson sustained in Monday night's practice is minor and the possibility exists Henderson will participate in tonight's practice at the Jaguars' Alltel Stadium training facility.
"'Big John' looks pretty good. He may go in tonight's practice," coach Jack Del Rio told reporters following this morning's special teams-only practice.
The news on Henderson is especially good for a team whose injury list is beginning to mount. That list includes: defensive ends Tony Brackens (torn calf muscle) and Paul Spicer (foot sprain), offensive linemen Mike Compton (broken thumb) and Ephraim Salaam (knee sprain), tight end George Wrighster (foot sprain), and running backs LaBrandon Toefield (high-ankle sprain), Joe Smith (high-ankle sprain) and David Allen (ankle sprain).
Brackens has been out of action for a week and is likely to miss at least another week of practice, and that's a particular problem for the Jaguars because training camp ends a week from today.
"We're in an awkward situation. We really need to evaluate him," Del Rio said of Brackens, whose contract would require the Jaguars to guarantee Brackens' $1.025 million salary if he is on the team's final roster. The Jaguars were in the process of evaluating Brackens' comeback from offseason knee surgery, when he suffered the calf injury at the end of the first week of training camp.
Spicer is the heir apparent to Brackens at left defensive end. Del Rio said "Spicer is doing well and is getting close to returning" to practice.
Compton was to undergo surgery today to have a screw inserted in his broken thumb. Del Rio said Compton will be out of action for 10-14 days.
Salaam hyperextended his knee in Saturday's preseason opener. He experienced swelling in his knee but will return to practice tonight.
The three running backs have long-term ankle sprains. Toefield and Smith have missed more than a week of practice and there's no forecast for their return. Allen, who is competing with wide receiver Jermaine Lewis to be the team's feature return man, will probably be out of action for an extended period of time due to what would seem to be a significant ankle sprain.
"This time of year you get sprains, pains and aches," Del Rio said.
The performance of the offense in Monday night's practice helped ease the sting of the Jaguars' mounting injury report. "I was very pleased to see the offense respond and have a very efficient two-minute drill," said Del Rio, who was critical of the offense's performance in Monday's morning practice.
It's also a major positive of this training camp that prospects have surfaced at the troubled defensive end position. Brandon Green, Jorge Cordova, Bobby McCray and Akin Ayodele have all flashed pass-rush ability at defensive end.
"We understand that we need to have a better pass-rush this season. We will affect the quarterback this year. We won't let him sit back there," Del Rio said.
The Jaguars will host the Tampa Bay Bucs this Friday in the Jaguars' preseason home opener, and owner Wayne Weaver has made sure the game will be televised to the Jacksonville market.
"I expect our football team to have a good showing. We're playing at home in front of our fans and we should want to go out and put our best foot forward," Del Rio said.