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Jaguars QB Lawrence plans to play despite sprained big toe

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

By MARK LONG

AP Sports Writer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence felt a sense of relief Wednesday that he was merely missing the first practice of his NFL career.

Lawrence said he "kind of dodged a bullet for sure on that hit," which left him with a painful big toe. The second-year pro initially feared he sustained a potentially season-ending knee injury when he was sacked on the final play of the first half at Detroit last Sunday.

But tests revealed no significant damage and just a sprained toe on his left foot, an injury Lawrence and coach Doug Pederson expect will allow the quarterback to return to practice later in the week and probably play at Tennessee on Sunday.

"That's the plan," Lawrence said. "All I can do is just take it day by day and, if I can, I'll be out there."

Lawrence wore a protective shoe on his foot in the locker room and around the facility Wednesday. Pain and swelling subsided enough that he was able to put on sneakers and join teammates on the field for part of practice. He listened and watched from the sideline as backup C.J Beathard directed the offense.

It was the first time Lawrence had missed a practice since sitting out consecutive weeks as a junior at Clemson in 2020 because of COVID-19.

"I've had a relatively healthy career, thankfully," Lawrence said. "The way my leg got caught, it scared me. So thankful that it's nothing major and really, really fortunate."

Pederson called Lawrence "day to day" and said he's "progressing in the right direction."

"We'll just keep him out today," Pederson added. "He'll get all the mental reps today but nothing from the standpoint of moving around."

Lawrence has started every game in two seasons since being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft. He has completed 65.6% of his passes this season for 2,834 yards, with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also has three rushing scores and a league-high six fumbles.

If he's unable to play Sunday at AFC-South leading Tennessee (7-5), Beathard would make his 13th professional start.

"Obviously, when it's your quarterback, or any player, there's a level of concern," Pederson said. "But we've still got several days before the game. He's tough and he'll do everything he can I know in his power to try to be out there. But we'll just take it day by day."

The Jaguars (4-8) last won at Tennessee in 2013. They have dropped eight straight in the Music City, including a 20-0 debacle last year that was among the reasons owner Shad Khan fired then-coach Urban Meyer.

Jacksonville remains mathematically alive in the division with five games remaining, although Pederson acknowledged that facing the Titans is pretty much a do-or-die opportunity in the AFC South.

"You're running out of opportunities," he said. "We got five games (left), three division opponents and two games against the same team (Tennessee). So, yeah, you're looking up and going, `You know, you're running out of chances.'"

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Updated December 7, 2022

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