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Open locker room: Gerhart to practice, Shorts still uncertain


JACKSONVILLE – Cecil Shorts III is still waiting and seeing.

As for Jaguars running back Toby Gerhart, he said late Thursday morning he plans to practice Thursday – and that he's optimistic he will play against the Washington Redskins Sunday.

Shorts, a four-veteran wide receiver, missed the regular-season opener with a hamstring injury and Gerhart – a fifth-year starting running back – missed practice Wednesday with an ankle injury through which he played in the opener.

Gerhart said he is progressing from the injury.

"It's going pretty good," Gerhart said Thursday as the Jaguars (0-1) prepared to play the Redskins (0-1) at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, Sunday at 1 p.m. "It's coming along. I'm going to go out there and try to practice and see how it goes."

Thursday's practice will be Gerhart's first extensive work on the ankle since the end of Sunday's loss in Philadelphia.

"We'll take it play by play and see how it goes," he said.

Gerhart, who signed with the Jaguars in the offseason after four seasons backing up perennial All-Pro Adrian Peterson in Minnesota, went down awkwardly after being tackle by Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, and said he worried at first the injury was more severe.

"I thought, 'No way – the first chance to start and be the guy and this is how it's going to go,''' Gerhart said. "My initial thought was I had destroyed my knee and honestly I thought my leg was broken, too. I got up and took stock of it and everything felt OK. Everything checked out.

"It was panic mode. It felt like it stretched everything out from my knee down to my ankle. It really hurt, but I looked down at it and it was still there, so it was good."

Shorts, who missed the first two preseason games with a hamstring that he reinjured last Thursday, is not expected to practice Thursday afternoon. He has been held out of practice at times during his career for precautionary and rest reasons.

Shorts said Wednesday's practice "went all right," and that he "felt OK" while practicing. He added that he did not have a setback Wednesday.

"I'm just going to continue to get treatment and see how things go from there," Shorts said. "I'm not sure if it was part of the plan, but that's just what we're going with today."

Asked if the plan was to practice Friday, Shorts said, "We'll see how it goes. I'm not sure what's going to happen from here on, but we'll see how it goes."

Shorts said he felt no worse Thursday after working Wednesday.

Shorts played through a groin injury last season before missing the final three games, and missed most of the team's on-field offseason work with a calf injury.

"This last year, it's been rough honestly," Shorts said. "I'm just going to stay positive and be the best teammate I can be, try to help these guys out as much as I can and enjoy the ride."

Shorts was asked if he gets more frustrated with each incident.

"I wouldn't say frustrating is the word, but it gives me a chance to realize how blessed I am," he said. "I've made it here, but as fast as you can get a blessing it can get taken away as fast. You get a perspective on football and get an opportunity to really step up for my teammates."

Shorts said he may readdress his offseason work program, but that he won't consider that until next offseason.

"Right now, I'm just worried about getting as healthy as I can be right now and being the best teammate I can be," he said.

Also around the Jaguars:

*Gerhart rushed for 42 yards on 18 carries Sunday, a day when the team rushed for 64 yards on 25 carries. "There were definitely some missed chances," Gerhart said. "We were one block away, or maybe I put my foot in the ground too soon and could have stretched it another step or two to help them out – or whatever it may have been. We're a young offensive line and a young offensive team. We're going to have growing pains and we're going to be on an upward trajectory." …

*Wide receiver Allen Robinson said he felt fine with no setbacks after the regular-season opener. He had missed the entire preseason with a hamstring, making Sunday his first NFL game of any kind. Robinson, a second-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, caught one pass for no yards and said his focus is continuing to hone his route-running. "That's something even as a team we preach – just staying with the process," Robinson said. "I missed five weeks. It was good getting out there last week and knocking the rust off. I'll just continue working on everything I need to improve on."  Asked if Robinson was ready for a more extensive role Sunday, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said, "He only has had six practices since OTAs. We had a rookie minicamp, a big practice and really not much. He's getting started but a lot of these guys have had a lot more practices than he has so we've got to make sure we put him in the best possible position to succeed."

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