JACKSONVILLE – Running back Maurice Jones-Drew is very uncertain for Sunday. He's not alone.
Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III missed a second consecutive practice Thursday with a groin injury that has bothered him throughout much of the season, making the status of the Jaguars' leading rusher and receiver for Sunday uncertain.
"I think they're both very questionable – very questionable," Head Coach Gus Bradley said as the Jaguars (4-9) prepared to play the Buffalo Bills (4-9) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
"We have our fingers crossed on both of them."
Shorts normally has a day off of practice each week to rest the groin, but Bradley said the Jaguars opted to give him an extra day off this week. Shorts said while the area has been an issue all year, it was more severe against Houston.
"It's a 'feel' thing," Shorts said. "I've been dealing with it all year – it's just a matter of it not getting better. It's getting worse.We'll see how it feels (Friday). If I'm able to play, I'm playing."
Bradley said if Shorts can't play Mike Brown, Kerry Taylor and Jeremy Ebert likely would play the outside receiver roles with rookie Ace Sanders staying in the slot. Sanders has been effective in recent weeks from the slot and the Jaguars want to keep him there.
Sanders also would continue to fill the team's punt-returner role.
"We're trying to keep Ace locked in at his position and not move him around," Bradley said. "Mike Brown gives us flexibility to play all the positions."
Jones-Drew, who has rushed for 719 yards and five touchdowns on 209 carries this season, sustained a hamstring injury in a victory over Houston last Thursday. Jordan Todman will start if Jones-Drew can't play.
Todman has getting about eight carries a game in the last three games while sharing carries with Jones-Drew, and Bradley said if Jones-Drew can't play there would be a similar split with Todman and rookie Denard Robinson.
"It has been a good week for Denard Robinson, to see him get more reps," Bradley said. "I just see a different 'D-Rob' this week.' I think he understands he's going to get an opportunity more than likely. He's always upbeat and positive, but he seems a little more focused."
Robinson, a fifth-round selection, has rushed 17 times for 27 yards this season, gaining a first down and fumbling twice. Bradley said he remains confident the Jaguars can find a long-term role for the former Michigan quarterback.
"I do think we will because of how competitive he is," Bradley said. "This has been a challenging year for him, but I think he's figuring out the running back spot and figuring out what he needs to do and how he needs to train himself for full season. I think all those things will benefit him.
"I think maybe he thought it might not be until OTAs before he could relay turn it on, but now this opportunity presents itself – I think that's why the excitement is building."
Said Robinson, "You always look forward to getting on the football field and do what you love to do – just getting in the game is good enough for me. Whatever I can do to help the team out, that's what I want to do."
Also around the Jaguars Thursday:
*Safety Josh Evans (shoulder), offensive tackle Austin Pasztor (shoulder) and safety Chris Prosinski (concussion) all remained limited for a second consecutive day, while guard Uche Nwaneri was added to the injury report as limited with shoulder injury. All are expected to play Sunday….
*Kicker Josh Scobee practiced limited with a left (non-kicking) hip injury after missing practice Wednesday, and Todman (shoulder) worked full after being limited on Wednesday. All are expected to play Sunday, with Scobee kicking Thursday after not kicking Wednesday.
*Defensive end Jason Babin, defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks and center Brad Meester all returned to practice after veteran days off Wednesday…
*Safety Johnathan Cyprien (thigh) and linebacker Geno Hayes (knee) missed practice but are expected to play Sunday, as is defensive tackle Roy Miller, who missed a second consecutive day of practice with a shoulder injury….
*With Cyprien, Evans and Prosinski injured, the Jaguars have an uncertain situation at safety. If Evans can play and Cyprien can't, Evans would start at free safety with Winston Guy or Prosinski at strong safety, Bradley said Thursday. "We'd have to do some juggling around, but we have some guys who have played both positions, so that's a good thing,'' Bradley said…
*If Jones-Drew can't play, Todman likely would move off kickoff returns with Taylor moving into that role….
*Running Delone Carter, signed Monday as a free agent, also could be active if Jones-Drew can't play. Carter, a fourth-round selection by the Colts from Syracuse in the 2011 NFL Draft, has rushed for 499 yards and five touchdowns in two NFL seasons. Bradley said while Carter doesn't know the entire playbook he will know enough of the game plan to play if needed. "He's learning some specific plays he would be in on,'' Bradley said….