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Leftwich news Monday


According to coach Jack Del Rio's comments at Wednesday's press conference, next Monday will be the day of reckoning for Byron Leftwich's left knee injury and the prognosis for its recovery.

"It's a situation that may not require surgery. We will know Monday for sure, definitively, from the doctors, what the situation is; whether he's out one week, two weeks," Del Rio said.

Del Rio spent much of Wednesday's press conference "mending fences" with reporters who believed the coach was hiding Leftwich's injury during Monday's press conference. Del Rio explained he was aware of the MRI test Leftwich underwent on Monday morning, but the coach said he had not seen the test results until after he had met with reporters at 2:40 that afternoon.

"There's no conspiracy theory. I ask you not to get ahead of the story, please. I did not sound the alarm on Monday, very simply, because I didn't think there was a need to. Byron finished the game on Sunday. He was sore. We had two weeks until our next game," Del Rio said.

"What happened is he had an MRI on Monday. I was in my bunker (watching tape). That's just the truth. There's not an attempt to hide anything," he added.

Leftwich's MRI caused him to fly on Tuesday to Birmingham, Ala., where Leftwich was examined by renowned knee surgeon Dr. James Andrews. Following that examination, the Jaguars released a statement claiming Leftwich had sustained a sprained knee near the end of the first half of Sunday's loss in Houston. The Jaguars did not offer a timetable for Leftwich's recovery.

At Wednesday's press conference, Del Rio explained that Leftwich will be re-evaluated by Andrews on Monday and, at that time, a more complete update will be offered. That update will include a prognosis for when Leftwich might return to action.

Del Rio said Leftwich has not officially been ruled out of the team's next game, Nov. 14 against Detroit. Del Rio referenced a similar injury Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre suffered at a bye-week time, and that Favre was able to play in the Packers' next game.

"Monday, I'll know whether there's an opportunity he'll be available for the game (against Detroit), or, if not, how long he'll be out. It's unlikely," Del Rio said of the prospect Leftwich will be able to play against Detroit, "but I'm not prepared to rule him out. The doctors told me exactly what I've told you: We'll evaluate on Monday."

Apparently, Andrews and the Jaguars medical staff want to re-evaluate the knee after the swelling is reduced.

Del Rio said it "is no issue" that Leftwich continued to play on an injured knee. He sustained the injury with 1:17 left to play in the first half when Texans defensive tackle Gary Walker hit Leftwich low. Leftwich limped from the field and was examined by doctors at the Jaguars bench. After two plays, Leftwich re-inserted himself in the game. "The doctors never ruled him out," Del Rio said.

Leftwich played the second half without incident and appeared not to favor the left knee. He moved freely and was his effervescent self in the postgame locker room, but he experienced swelling after returning from Houston.

Though all of the media attention was on Leftwich's injury, Del Rio focused his players on a more physical practice on Wednesday. In keeping with the "run the ball, stop the run" theme of which he spoke on Monday, Del Rio put his team through a rigorous full-pads practice that included a lively and sustained nine-on-seven drill.

"We got after it," tight end Kyle Brady said. "I think it's good. You don't want to get lax, lazy or think you've arrived."

Running back Fred Taylor, who was forced out of Sunday's game early in the second quarter with a hip-pointer injury, participated in practice on a limited basis.

"We had guys flying around," said Taylor.

When asked if he'll be able to play when the Jaguars host the Lions, Taylor said, "No doubt at all, none."

Del Rio hopes he'll get similarly good news about Leftwich next Monday.

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