The Jacksonville Jaguars' rookie offensive tackle Luke Joeckel suffered a hip flexor on Aug. 3 during the team's intra-squad scrimmage. The second-overall pick returned to practice the following week, but when the injury flared up in the team's preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins, Joeckel was forced to sit out for a couple of weeks.
The tough first-round rookie tackle said it was tough to admit to the Jaguars' training staff that his hip flexor flared up, but he realized it was best in the long run.
"You've got to be smart about it . . . It's tough having a muscle strain like I've got. It's tough to sit out for that. But you've got to be smart in the preseason and get ready for a 16-game season."
The team is being cautious with Joeckel's injury. They'll need him to help improve their pass protection. Last season, the Jacksonville offensive line gave up a whopping 50 sacks, which put them near the bottom of the league in that category.
The good news is that Joeckel did return to practice on Thursday, the first time for the rookie tackle since the preseason opener, according to Ken Hornack of Fox Sports Florida.
And despite Joeckel's limited looks in practice this week, according to Coach Gus Bradley, the rookie tackle has a chance to suit up on Saturday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"He's not going to play as much as the first group, but we would like to see him play."
The team will already be without starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert, but the 6-foot-6, 306 pound tackle gives the Jaguars their best chance at establishing good protection on the right side of the line. And with the rookie lineman in the lineup, backup quarterback Chad Henne should get a fair evaluation in the game.
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