The Day After Jaguars Week 17 Win Over Panthers: Injury Updates for Possible Returns in Week 18

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Carolina Panthers / Running Back Tank Bigsby (4) / Kam Need (Jacksonville Jaguars)

By John Oehser |Jaguars Senior Writer  JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars’ injury news was mixed Monday.

There was some good news at wide receiver and some bad news at the same position – and at quarterback, the news was that Trevor Lawrence‘s status remains unknown entering the final week of the 2023 regular season.

“He is progressing,” Head Coach Doug Pederson said Monday, a day after the Jaguars’ 26-0 victory over the Carolina Panthers at EverBank Stadium.

Lawrence missed his first career start Sunday with a sprained AC joint sustained in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the previous Sunday. Backup C.J. Beathardcompleted 17 of 24 passes for 178 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions in his first start since joining the Jaguars as Lawrence’s backup in 2021.

The Jaguars (9-7) will play the Tennessee Titans (5-11) at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday. If the Jaguars win, they will win their second consecutive AFC South title.

“We’ll see,” Pederson said Monday of Lawrence’s chances to play Sunday. “He was in today getting his treatment and rehab and all that. It’s kind of day to day right now, so we’ll see how he is on Wednesday. We’ll see what his limitations or whatever might be.

“He’s definitely improving.”

Lawrence did not practice Wednesday, Thursday or Friday last week.

“He didn’t have a setback,” Pederson said. “He just wasn’t there as far as throwing the football at the end of the week so we just kind of kept him inside. He did come out for some of the team stuff and was around for that, but just wanted to get extra time in the training room before he came out.”

Pederson also on Monday said the Jaguars could be significantly healthier in the starting lineup at wide receiver Sunday, with Zay Jones having a chance to return after missing the last two games and Christian Kirk eligible to have his window opened to return from injured reserve this week.

Kirk, who caught 57 passes for 787 yards and three touchdowns in the first 12 games of the season, missed the last four games with a core muscle injury sustained in a Week 13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Added Pederson, “It was definitely a bad injury for him and obviously bad for our offense. But he’s in a position right now to maybe help us this week. We’ll see where he is at, if we go ahead and open his window on Wednesday and get him out there and see what he can do. You definitely want your best players on the field this time of year. He’s one of those players for us.”

Jones, who has 28 receptions for 274 yards and two touchdowns this season, has missed eight of 16 games this season. He missed six of the team’s first 14 games with a knee issue before missing the last two games with a hamstring injury sustained in a Week 15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Jones practiced limited all three days last week and was listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week before being ruled out Sunday.

“I would expect Zay to potentially get more practice time this week and hopefully he’s in a position by the end of the week to play in this game,” Pederson said. “We’ll see where he’s at.”

Also on Monday: Pederson said wide receiver Jamal Agnew – the Jaguars’ fourth receiver after Jones, Kirk and Calvin Ridley – will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury sustained Sunday.

Agnew, the team’s top kick and punt returner, caught 14 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown in 11 games this season. He was injured Sunday after a 48-yard reception from Beathard – the Jaguars’ longest past play of the game and a play that set up a 24-yard field goal by kicker Brandon McManus that gave the Jaguars a 9-0 halftime lead.

“The guys are getting healthy, which is good this time of year – especially with the opportunity that we have this weekend,” Pederson said. “It’s good to have these guys back in the lineup. On the flip side, it’s unfortunate that Jamal’s going to missed not only offensively, but also in the kicking game.”

Pederson noted that a challenge will be Kirk returning to playing shape, with cornerback Tyson Campbellfacing a similar situation in recent weeks.

“It’s just that rust and getting back into kind of the game shape and getting used to the speed of the game just a little bit,” Pederson said. “That’s kind of the challenge, how to get them into your offense or defense and incorporate them into your game plan.

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