The Jaguars expect to get several players back to action following their bye week, but they've lost wide receiver Mike Walker for an undetermined amount of time.
Coach Jack Del Rio told reporters at Monday's press conference that Walker has developed an infection in the knee he injured late in the Jaguars' loss to the Steelers. Walker sustained what Del Rio described as a minor medial collateral ligament sprain in that game but it's an infection in that knee that has now become the major concern. Walker has been admitted to the hospital and is receiving a regimen of antibiotics to treat the infection.
"He's going to miss next week for sure," Del Rio said, meaning Walker won't practice next week and won't play against the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 26. "It could be a couple of weeks."
It was the only negative news on a day when Del Rio gave a positive review of his team's performance in its 24-17 win in Denver on Sunday. The win evened the Jaguars' record at 3-3 and sent it into a bye week the team sorely needs to help bring several players back to health.
Del Rio said he expects safety Reggie Nelson, center Brad Meester, defensive tackle Rob Meier and guard Chris Naeole will be ready to play when the Jaguars host the Browns. Special teams standout Chad Nkang will be eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list and is likely to do so. Defensive end Jeremy Mincey and tight end George Wrighster will also be eligible to come off PUP, but the Jaguars can delay their decisions on them until week nine.
Walker had his best game as a pro against the Steelers, so the knee injury and the subsequent infection have come at an inopportune time for him, but the Jaguars would seem to be deep enough at wide receiver to overcome the loss of Walker.
Dennis Northcutt returned to active duty in Denver and caught three passes for 42 yards. Troy Williamson also returned to action and caught a 69-yard bomb from quarterback David Garrard. The catch was nullified by a holding penalty but Williamson provided a glimpse of what he can provide in the way of a sorely-needed deep threat.
Questions about the state of wide receiver Jerry Porter's recovery from hamstring surgery persist. Porter saw action early in Sunday's game but his playing time dwindled.
"He's just not a major part of our plans right now. We're not going to force him back into the flow. The only thing I'm worried about is putting ourselves into position to win games. It's not about any one person, it's about team," Del Rio said.
Indications are that Del Rio challenged his team to find a way to win in Denver. Coming off the heartbreaking loss to the Steelers, a win in Denver was critical and in his postgame press conference, Del Rio even referred to it as a "must game."
"Excuses weren't going to be tolerated. If you want something bad enough, you'll find a way to make it happen. I wanted to make sure we found a way, instead of making an excuse," Del Rio said.
The Jaguars will practice on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, then take Friday and the weekend off. Del Rio will host his charity golf tournament this week and the win in Denver will no doubt lighten the coach's mood on the first tee.
"It'll make my swing for my golf tournament much more fluid," he said.
On a somber note, Del Rio was asked to comment on the recent release of Richard Collier from the hospital.
"I just thank God he's alive. When I saw him the day after he was shot, I didn't think there would be a day when he got out of the hospital," Del Rio said.