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Rested Leftwich feeling stronger at practice

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Dec. 29, 2005) -- Jacksonville quarterback Byron Leftwich says his mending left ankle is getting better.

Leftwich broke the ankle Nov. 27 against Arizona and has been out since. He practiced Dec. 28 and Dec. 29 and said he hopes to be ready when the Jaguars open the playoffs Jan. 7 or 8.

His status for the final regular-season game with Tennessee on Jan. 1 remains a question.

"I was a little rusty on Wednesday (Dec. 28), but came back strong today," he said Dec. 29. "My timing and accuracy is headed in the right direction."

He still had some ankle soreness but "at this stage of the season, you're always going to have soreness. I even have soreness in my right ankle. I'm just glad I went through a whole practice with no setback."

Leftwich had passed for 2,123 yards with a 57.9 completion percentage with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions.

During his absence, backup David Garrard guided the Jaguars to three wins in four games.

Garrard and Leftwich split the snaps during practice Dec.29.

Leftwich got an endorsement from Jimmy Smith, the team's leading receiver.

"He looks rested. He was bouncing around out there. As bad as it was for him to have the injury, it may turn out to be a good thing as he's rested and looking sharp," Smith said.

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