JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert could be ready to start in Sunday's regular-season opener against Kansas City.
He threw passes in practice Monday and after suffering a hairline fracture of the thumb on his throwing hand in the team's second preseason game against the New York Jets. Gabbert missed the final two preseason games against Philadelphia and Atlanta.
``I'm very optimistic and it's healing well, about as fast as it can at this point,'' Gabbert said. ``You're going to feel good some days and some days and some days not so much but at the same time the more I can do out there the more reps I can get it's going to help me mentally and physically.''
The QB did some light throwing over the weekend and increased his throws in Monday's practice.
``It's uncomfortable, but at the same time, it's just something you can't worry about,'' Gabbert said.
Chad Henne started the final two preseason games for the Jaguars and would replace Gabbert if he wasn't ready to play on Sunday. The Jaguars also signed third-year quarterback Ricky Stanzi off waivers from Kansas City last week. Stanzi was on the Chiefs active roster the last two seasons but has yet to play in an NFL game.
Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said he was pleased with Gabbert's progress over the weekend.
``He was able to grip the ball over the weekend and now is working hard with our trainers getting ready to play,'' Bradley said. ``I think it's the next step in his recovery to get back, so we'll just follow the protocol. We liked what we saw.''
Only two players were held out of Monday's practice - defensive end Jeremy Mincey and offensive guard Will Rackley. Jaguars coach Gus Bradley says both should be ready to return on Wednesday. Running back Justin Forsett, who has been sidelined since the first week of training camp, practiced Monday.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org