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Inside the Jaguars: Shorts thinks he'll play


JACKSONVILLE – Cecil Shorts III doesn't know with absolute certainty if he will play Sunday.

He does know he'll play if it's at all possible.

Shorts, whose status for Sunday has been in doubt all week because of a sprained SC (shoulder) joint, worked on a limited basis Friday as the Jaguars went through their last full practice preparing to play San Diego Sunday in Jacksonville.

Shorts said after practice he thinks he'll play against the Chargers.

"I'm not the guy to make predictions," Shorts said as the Jaguars (0-6) prepared to play the Chargers (3-3) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

"But I'm doing everything I can to get on that field – so, yeah, I'll be out there Sunday."

Rookie wide receiver Ace Sanders has been ruled out with a concussion, as has wide receiver Stephen Burton (concussion), defensive end Jeremy Mincey (concussion) and quarterback Blaine Gabbert (hamstring).

Wide receiver Justin Blackmon did not practice Friday, but Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said he expects Blackmon – who has 19 receptions for 326 yards and a touchdown in two games this season – to play on Sunday.

"He got quite a few reps yesterday and we wanted to make sure that he would be available on Sunday," Bradley said of Blackmon. "We think he's good to go."

Shorts and Blackmon are listed as questionable for Sunday, as are rookie cornerback Dwayne Gratz (ankle) and safety Johnathan Cyprien (calf).

Shorts, who left a loss to Denver Sunday after three plays, and Cyprien – who finished the game at Denver but missed practice Wednesday and Thursday – worked limited to get a feel for their progress.

Bradley said each could be a game-time decision.

"We've just got to really take as much time as we can with these guys getting back to health," Bradley said.

Bradley said that wide receiver Jeremy Ebert could be signed from the practice squad Saturday. If that doesn't happen, Bradley said Shorts likely will play.

"It's just something I've got to deal with," Shorts said. "I'm sure the adrenaline will kick in. I just have to play ball. You have to fight through."

Shorts, who led the Jaguars in receiving yards last season, missed two games with concussions last season, but said he never before has been in a situation where he has spent the week preparing to play through pain.

"It's kind of waiting to see – I don't like it," Shorts said. "It's a weird injury, in a weird spot – there's not much you can do for it, honestly."

Asked about playing through pain, he said, "It will feel good as long as the ball's in my hand. I'm not worried about it."

Gratz, who has been out since the regular-season opener with high-ankle sprain, worked on a limited basis much of the week, splitting repetitions with veteran Will Blackmon, who has started the last five games in Gratz's place. Bradley said if Gratz plays it will be at corner, not nickel back.

Bradley said Gratz and Blackmon each likely will play the spot.


*Bradley said linebacker Russell Allen (ribs), tight end Marcedes Lewis (calf), defensive tackle Roy Miller (shoulder), defensive end Andre Branch (knee) and running back Jordan Todman (thigh) were listed as probable…

*Lewis, who has missed five of six games this season, had what Bradley called a very good week and is expected to play Sunday. "I think we've got to be smart with him," Bradley said. "He feels really good, though. Of all the guys I talked about he's probably the guy we're most confident about and the progress he's made this week. I think we have to be smart as far as long drives. If it's a ten-play drive, which would be a great thing, something like that would happen and we'd have to be smart."…

*Veteran center Brad Meester will play his 200th game for the Jaguars Sunday. Meester, a second-round selection in the 2000 NFL Draft, is in his 14th Jaguars season and has started all 199 games in which he has played. "What an accomplishment," Bradley said. "The players are all excited for him and what a milestone for him to reach. It really states about his character, perseverance and competitiveness and what he brings to the table. He's a special guy."

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