JACKSONVILLE – Somehow, some way, Paul Posluszny will find a way.
Even with something that might resemble a club – and with something a little cumbersome on his right hand – the Jaguars' starting middle linebacker said he plans to play Sunday.
Posluszny, the Jaguars' defensive captain and defensive leader on and off the field, said on Wednesday he has been cleared to practice – and that he will do so with a device protecting the right hand he fractured ten days ago in Nashville, Tennessee, in a loss to the Titans.
"You hate missing games – opportunities are not limitless," Posluszny said as the Jaguars (5-8) prepared to play the Atlanta Falcons (6-7) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
"If I can play and be a benefit to the team, then I'm going to do it."
Posluszny, who has missed two games this season including a Week 4 loss at Tampa, missed this past week's victory over the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field. He had surgery on December 8 to have three plates placed in the hand.
"They'd have to fine him, (to keep Posluszny from playing), I think," linebacker Telvin Smith said. "If he's on the roster, he's going to play this Sunday. That's great. That's what we need, that determination and grit. If he's helping the team, we're all for it."
Posluszny, the team's second-leading tackler despite missing two games this season, will practice with a protective device on his hand. He said he doesn't yet know exactly what that will entail, and said the process of finding something that will maximize protection and freedom of motion could continue throughout the week.
"The trainers have worked with this before," he said. "They've figured out ways to go about it. I'm sure they'll be able to put something together for me that can do the job and be protective.
"We'll adjust it throughout the week and see what we can wear, what feels comfortable and what's not comfortable. By the end of the week, we obviously need to have something set in stone that this is what we're doing Sunday."
Asked if he could play Sunday without thinking about the hand Posluszny replied, "I better be able to."
"It can't hold me up or make me hesitant," he said. "If that's the case I won't be beneficial to the team."
Posluszny wore a small cast on the hand as he spoke with reporters in the locker room Wednesday. Swelling remained from the surgery performed eight days ago, but he opened and closed his hand repeatedly and said he didn't expect pain to be an issue.
"I don't have much pain right now," Posluszny said. "With the surgery, that hasn't been an issue. We just want to make sure that continues and we keep everything safe."
Posluszny said though he won't tackle in practice this week, he and the Jaguars must figure out if he can tackle effectively with the device.
"I have to be able to make sure I can still do my job at a high level," Posluszny said. "Hopefully, we can mimic that through that drills and on-field prep that way."
Also on Wednesday:
*Running back T.J. Yeldon told the media he sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday. He appears unlikely to play against the Falcons. Reserve running back Denard Robinson, who rushed for 75 yards on 14 carries, likely will start in place of Yeldon.