The Jaguars have lost defensive end and star pass-rusher Aaron Kampman for the rest of the season. Kampman sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament to his "good" knee during practice on Thursday.
"Not good news. Just heard the news. He's got a torn ACL and he's going to be out for the year," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio told reporters following practice on Friday.
The injury means Kampman will spend a second consecutive offseason in recovery from knee-reconstruction surgery. He tore the ACL in his other knee in week 11 of last season and underwent knee reconstruction in early December. Kampman is likely to follow the same surgery/rehab timetable for this injury.
"I spoke to the team that things happen. We talked about it's a part of football. It's a shame because he's a special man," Del Rio said.
Kampman leads the Jaguars with four sacks and 30 quarterback pressures. He was signed in free agency and immediately became the centerpiece of the team's effort to improve its pass-rush. The Jaguars were last in the league in sacks (14) last season. Midway through this season, they've equaled last year's total.
"You play the next guy," Del Rio said, not wanting to designate who that player will be on Sunday when the Jaguars host the Houston Texans. "It produces an opportunity for somebody to play more. We've gone heavy at defensive line all year."
Rookies Austin Lane and Larry Hart are likely to experience the greatest increase in playing time. Lane is a left defensive end who would allow veteran Derrick Harvey, who lost his starting job two weeks ago, to move to Kampman's right end position, the blindside pass-rush spot. Hart is likely to be used mostly in pass-rush situations.
Kampman sustained his injury on the last play of one-on-one drills on Thursday.
"When it happened, it was slightly different but I had a pretty good intuition it was going to be bad news," Kampman said during a phone interview on Friday. "This last experience made me a better man and made me stronger. I learned a lot of lessons and I guess I have more lessons to learn."
Kampman's knee injury last season was surgically repaired by the Green Bay Packers' team doctor. Kampman said he was in the process of gathering information about plans for the surgery that will repair this injury. He said he's likely to undergo a patella tendon graft, as he did with the previous injury.
"I learned with the other one that the key is you never look back, you only look forward. I know exactly what we're dealing with and I know the journey. It's no picnic," he added.