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Leftwich needs time

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The protective boot has been removed but the prognosis for Byron Leftwich's recovery hasn't changed.

"There's really nothing to add," coach Jack Del Rio said when asked to give an update on the state of Leftwich's left ankle, which was fractured in the first quarter of the Nov. 27 game in Arizona.

Leftwich met with reporters on Wednesday and was reserved in his hopes for returning to action this season. Leftwich stood on crutches but the protective boot had been removed from his left leg on Monday and he has started to put weight on his left foot.

"There are no setbacks and the bone is doing what it's supposed to do. It's healing," said Leftwich, who was x-rayed and evaluated earlier this week.

Asked what the chances are he'll be able to play again this season, Leftwich paused for thought, then said, "If it's humanly possible, I'll be there.

"It's still broken. A bone doesn't heal in two weeks. It just aches sometimes for no reason," he added.

Leftwich was on the sideline during Sunday's game against the Colts. "I almost thought I could play when the Jets flew over. I took a step and it wasn't ready. You hate not being able to play in big games. It's frustrating but you gotta do what you gotta do to get healthy," he said.

Meanwhile, David Garrard began preparing for his third consecutive start at quarterback. This week's opponent is the San Francisco 49ers, who are last in the league in defense and in offense. The 2-11 49ers have allowed 381 points and scored only 186.

"I feel like I'm coming into a little bit of a groove," said Garrard, who has thrown for 481 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and an 84.4 passer rating since replacing Leftwich.

"We want to play our best football down the stretch," Del Rio told reporters. "First, it starts with qualifying (for the playoffs). Beyond that, it's about being healthy and playing at a high level."

The Jaguars will clinch a wild-card spot with a win over the 49ers, a Denver win over Buffalo and losses by San Diego, Kansas City and Pittsburgh.

It would help the Jaguars' postseason cause greatly if running back Fred Taylor is able to hit his stride in the final three games. Taylor carried 10 times for just 19 yards against the Colts, in what was his first action in three weeks. Taylor said he's healthy but not 100 percent recovered from his sprained ankle.

"I have to work out some timing with the offensive line. I don't want to start doubting myself. I don't think I'm off a whole lot. My thing is to practice and try to get better. My game is just keep playing and everything will work itself out," Taylor said.

Taylor gave way to Greg Jones in the second half of Sunday's game and that raised suspicion that Taylor may be losing his grip on the starting running back job.

"Some of my (carries) were taken away but that's what the game called for. If it's not broke, don't fix it and we'd been winning. If it calls for me to take less (carries), that would be fine," Taylor said.

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