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Inside the Jaguars: Receivers ready


JACKSONVILLE – Ace Sanders is used to this by now. So is Mike Brown.

And why wouldn't they be?

The Jaguars' wide receiver corps rarely has stayed the same from week to week this season, so as Sanders and Brown see it, entering the final two weeks of the 2013 season in an uncertain state isn't particularly usual.

"I don't think you ever expect guys to go down, but you prepare as if no matter where you are, you're always one play away," Brown said Thursday as the Jaguars (4-10) prepared to play the Tennessee Titans (5-9) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

The latest high-profile injury news at the receiver position came this week when the Jaguars placed Cecil Shorts III on injured reserve. The team's leading receiver, he underwent sports hernia surgery on Thursday.

On Wednesday, wide receiver Jeremy Ebert – who has spent this season on the Jaguars' active roster and practice squad – sustained a high-ankle/knee sprain. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Thursday Ebert likely won't play Sunday, but the hope is to get him back for the regular-season finale at Indianapolis next week.

That sort of week has been the norm this season. In addition to Justin Blackmon being suspended four games to start the season and indefinitely after the Week Nine bye, injuries have hurt significantly and often.

Sanders, a rookie from South Carolina, has played all but one game this season, but injuries and absences at the position forced him to work at various spots rather than staying at his more natural slot position.

"It's just something that we're dealing with," Sanders said. "We've sort of been dealing with it since the beginning of the season, especially with guys going down unexpectedly. We've just had to go with the flow."

Brown has missed five games with injuries and by the end of the season, Shorts will have missed three. Stephen Burton, who joined the team the week before the regular season off waivers, spent five weeks inactive early in the season and another four late in the season before being placed on injured reserve with a concussion.

Stephen Williams, acquired six games into the season off waivers from Arizona, played two games as a reserve before sustaining an Achilles injury that had him inactive for three games before being placed on injured reserve.

Asked this week if he was numb to injuries at the position, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch laughed.

"We didn't lose anyone last week I don't think, right?" he said. "So we're playing with the same group we played with. By IR-ing (WR) Cecil (Shorts III), I think going into the last game I didn't think we'd get him back probably for the rest of the year. We prepared for it."

With Shorts and Ebert out, Brown and Kerry Taylor – who has been with five teams since 2011 and who signed off the Arizona practice squad - likely will start Sunday, with Sanders playing the slot.

"You just prepare yourself and if things do happen, that's the only way to be ready," Brown said. "You can't go in saying, 'Oh, I'm second-string. That's when you get caught off guard."

Also around the Jaguars Thursday:

*Running back Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) and linebacker Geno Hayes (knee) missed practice for a second consecutive day, with Bradley saying the plan remains to evaluate Jones-Drew on Friday.…

*Safety Johnathan Cyprien did not practice for a second consecutive day because of a thigh injury, but he and Bradley each said they felt better about his status for Sunday than they did Wednesday. Cyprien is expected to practice Friday, Bradley said….

*Defensive end Jason Babin, center Brad Meester and defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks returned to practice after missing Wednesday with veteran days off….

*Defensive tackle Roy Miller missed a second consecutive day of practice with a shoulder injury, but Bradley said the plan remains for him to play Sunday…

*Cornerback Alan Ball (shoulder) missed practice after being limited Wednesday, but Bradley said Ball likely will play Sunday….

*Safety Josh Evans (shoulder), middle linebacker Paul Posluszny              (groin) and tight end Marcedes Lewis (thigh) practiced limited for a second consecutive day, and offensive tackle Austin Pasztor (shoulder) and linebacker Nate Stupar (neck) worked full after being limited Wednesday….

*Guard Mike Brewster underwent ankle surgery Wednesday after fracturing his left ankle Sunday….

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