Eben Britton hasn't given up hope.
Britton, a second-round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft and the Jaguars' starting right tackle much of the past two seasons, practiced on a limited basis Monday as the team began early preparations for Sunday's regular-season opener.
Britton missed the preseason after undergoing back surgery early in training camp.
"We've got a few days," Britton said Monday as the Jaguars began preparing to play the Tennessee Titans in the 2011 regular-season opener at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 m.
"We don't know what's going to happen. We'll just keep working and see how it goes."
Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio said this past Friday that while Britton may return to practice this week there is a chance he won't start for the regular-season opener.
"We'll have to work through that as a team and an offense," Del Rio said at the time.
Guy Whimper, a sixth-year veteran from East Carolina, started all four preseason games in Britton's place. Del Rio said Whimper has been "pretty solid" in Britton's absence, and that Whimper and right guard Uche Nwaneri "have been getting on the same page on things."
The Jaguars also kept rookie free agent offensive tackle Cameron Bradfield on the 53-man roster.
"It's no different than it has been," Britton said. "It's taking it one day at a time and this is a one-day-at-a-time deal. With these nerves, each individual is so unique. It's a lot about what the previous day's work has done to your body and how it reacts.
"Nerves are a crazy part of the body. What I'm continuously gathering is that the nervous system is kind of one of those parts of the body that nobody really knows about yet. Every individual is completely different. Through this whole process, it's like every day I come in and it's, 'How do you feel? Is there pain down the leg? How is the incision feeling?'''
Britton, who said he has been stretching and conditioning extensively since two days after surgery, went through drills "against air" Monday, working on zone-blocking and pass sets with opposition.
"I wasn't going against an opponent, necessarily, but going against air is the first step to that," Britton said. "It felt good out there. We'll see how it is tomorrow and keep pushing it. I got to move around and feel it. It's a day-to-day thing. I think today was a really good step in the right direction."
Britton said much of his regime now is flexibility and core work.
"That's the bread and butter," he said.
While Britton and the Jaguars haven't discussed Britton's situation much, he said, "There wasn't much more information to give you guys throughout this whole thing. It's completely day to day – just working through it aggressively."
"Every day we just push it a little bit further," he said. "With this type of thing, you don't want to sit and relax. Today was a really good step in the right direction, doing football movements.
"We'll see how it is tomorrow, come back and keep growing. We'll see what happens Wednesday."