Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags List Brunell as Questionable

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags List Brunell as Questionable

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino, Times-Union sports writer

When the Jaguars conducted their first practice session yesterday for Sunday's game in Houston, Mark Brunell was in the training room getting treatment on his swollen left elbow and rookie Byron Leftwich was on the field running the first-string offense.

That was another signal that there could be something of a passing of the torch Sunday, when Leftwich may make his first NFL start 46 days after he ended his 19-day holdout on Aug. 13. Brunell is listed as questionable on the team's injury report.

Although coach Jack Del Rio said he won't name a starter until Sunday, he may have tipped his hand Monday night when he had Leftwich as a guest on his TV show.

Brunell said he's taking it one day at a time, but the veteran quarterback made the injury sound more serious than the original reports made it out to be.

He said when he fell on the tip of his elbow in the first quarter in Indianapolis last Sunday, the bone broke through the skin and he needed five stitches to heal the wound. The doctors are now concerned that if he plays too soon, he could risk an infection.

"This isn't a sore ankle," Brunell said. "It's an open wound, and I have to be smart. I don't want it to get infected. I don't want to bend it so much that I pop the stitches back open.

"If I do that and get it infected, then I'm down for a long time. The cut is right on the joint, and if I get any infection whatsoever in the joint, then I'm in big trouble. I have to keep it straight. I have to keep it clean."

Brunell also knows the implications of being knocked out of the lineup with an injury. There's no guarantee he'll get the job back if Leftwich, the seventh pick in the draft, plays well.

"I understand how this works," he said. "No doubt about it. I've been around."

Brunell, though, was hopeful he could be cleared before the kickoff Sunday.

"It's really more of a medical thing than anything else. If it [clearance from the doctors] comes Sunday at 9 a.m., I'll be at the coach's door, knocking at the door, yelling, 'I'm ready to roll.' "

Leftwich, who took the majority of the snaps with the first team -- David Garrard also got some work with the first unit -- said the situation he's in isn't awkward. …

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