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Open Locker Room: WR Cecil Shorts III questionable for Sunday


JACKSONVILLE – Cecil Shorts III is officially questionable Sunday.

Unofficially, the Jaguars' wide receiver said he's preparing as if he's playing – and that if there's any way he can play, he will do just that.

Shorts, a four-year veteran and the most experienced player in a young receiving corps, left practice on Thursday with tightness in his hamstring. He was listed as limited in practice that day, and while he participated in a walkthrough early Friday morning, he did not practice later in the day.

Shorts is listed as questionable on the Friday injury report, meaning there's officially a 50 percent chance he will play.

"I'm preparing like I'm going to play," Shorts said Friday as the Jaguars prepared to play the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2014 regular-season opener at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sunday at 1 p.m.

Shorts added, "If I feel good, I'm going. If I have a choice, I'm going to go. Right now, my mindset is I'm playing."

Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Shorts ran early Friday before the decision was made to hold him out of the late-morning practice.

"I don't want to jump too far ahead and say it's a strained hamstring or that he's out two weeks," Bradley said.

Shorts missed the first two preseason games this season with a hamstring injury, and then returned to play 15 plays in Week 3 against Detroit. He played into the second quarter in the preseason finale, and said afterward he felt 100 percent and ready for the season.

Shorts said his hamstring on Friday felt the same as it did Thursday.

"It's just a little tight," he said. "It doesn't feel like it's pulling or anything like that. I don't think it's anything serious, but we'll go day to day and see how it feels. We just wanted to be careful, and make sure it's nothing too serious. … If you've had a tight muscle before, you understand where I'm coming from."

Shorts said Sunday his status for Sunday will be a team effort.

"We'll make that decision when it needs to be made – if it's something that needs to be made," he said. "It might not even need to be made, and I can go out there and just play.

Shorts has 121 receptions passes for 1,756 yards and 10 touchdowns over the past two seasons, missing the final two games in 2012 with a concussion and then being hampered by a groin injury much of last season before missing the final three regular season games.

"I'm not even saying I'm frustrated," Shorts said. "I'm in a good place. I'll come in tomorrow (Saturday) ready to go, go through walkthrough. I'm staying positive."

Shorts is by far the Jaguars' most-experienced wide receiver, with second-year veteran Mike Brown the only other receiver with NFL experience. Rookies Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee are expected to play significant plays whatever Shorts' status.

"Let's hope everything works out (with Shorts), but we're going to have some talent out there," Bradley said. "They (the young receivers) are a talented group. It's just the inexperience, but they're talented."

Also Friday:

*Robinson (hamstring) practiced full for a second consecutive day after working limited Wednesday. After missing all four preseason games, he is expected to play a limited role on Sunday. He was listed as probable on the injury report. Bradley said Robinson took more reps Thursday than he had been taking and felt good on Friday. …

*Bradley said he expects Brown to return punts Sunday. Brown never has returned a punt in the NFL, but returned two for four yards in the preseason. Returner Ace Sanders is suspended for the first four games of the season. …

*Rookie running back Storm Johnson (ankle), offensive tackle Austin Pasztor (hand) and tight end Clay Harbor (calf) were officially ruled out for Sunday after missing practice for a third consecutive day. Tight end Mickey Shuler – claimed off waivers last weekend – is expected to play an extensive role in Harbor's absence, and Bradley confirmed that offensive tackle Cameron Bradfield is expected to start for Pasztor. "He's shown us he has the ability to do it," Bradley said of Bradfield. …

*Kicker Josh Scobee (right quad), punter Bryan Anger (right groin), defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks (shoulder) and guard Zane Beadles (calf) practiced full for a second consecutive day. All four are expected to play and are listed as probable on the injury report.

*Rookie tackle Josh Wells (shoulder) worked full after working limited Wednesday and Thursday. He was listed as questionable on the injury report. …

*Rookie center Luke Bowanko practiced full for a third consecutive day with a quad injury. He was listed as probable on the injury report. …

*Linebacker Geno Hayes and defensive tackle Roy Miller practiced after having veteran days off Thursday, and are expected to play Sunday.

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