JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio expects to be without quarterback Byron Leftwich one more game.
Leftwich returned to Birmingham, Ala., on Monday to be re-evaluated by renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in hopes of playing Sunday against Tennessee.
He's trying like crazy to get cleared for the game,'' Del Rio said Monday.I still believe it's most likely that he'll be back next week (at Minnesota), but he's trying like crazy to get back for this week. We'll see how it goes.''
Del Rio said he will know more Wednesday about Leftwich's availability.
Leftwich sprained a ligament in his left knee Oct. 31 against Houston and sat out Sunday's 23-17 overtime victory against Detroit, leaving David Garrard to make his second career start.
Leftwich says he has always been a quick healer and points to his college days at Marshall, when he missed just one game after breaking his left leg against Akron. He also played through several minor injuries this season, including a bruised shoulder and sprained ankle against Kansas City last month.
But this is much more serious. Leftwich spent last week wearing a knee brace and getting around on crutches, while doctors told him to stay off his feet as much as possible. By the end of the week he had show signs of improvement, though, including needing only one crutch instead of two.
It's pretty simple: when he's able to come back, then we'll have him back,'' Del Rio said.He was anguishing over spending time on the sideline. He is a true warrior; this guys wants to play.
``What we've got to guard against is him coming back before he should be back. That's the biggest thing we've got to work to help him understand. He's got to have clearance before he comes back, and he's not been given that clearance yet.''
If Leftwich doesn't play, Garrard will make his second consecutive start.
In the starting lineup for the first time in nearly two years, Garrard threw two touchdown passes and had 42 yards rushing against the Lions. He also had a key downfield block on Jacksonville's first play that helped spring Fred Taylor for a 42-yard gain and set up a touchdown.
Garrard completed 19 of 36 passes for 198 yards and ended the game with a 36-yard TD strike to Jimmy Smith in overtime. He was sacked three times, but didn't have a turnover.
I give him an A,'' Del Rio said.It's a bottom-line business. David found a way to get a win. He did a nice job for us.''