Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Another Starter Lost Slaughter out at Least Four Weeks

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Another Starter Lost Slaughter out at Least Four Weeks

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino, Times-Union sports writer

The Jaguars lost six starters from their defense last year in salary cap moves.

The number of 2001 starters lost for this season's opener on Sept. 8 against the Indianapolis Colts is now seven and counting.

The Jaguars learned yesterday that their only remaining starting linebacker, T.J. Slaughter, likely will miss at least the first two regular season games because of a dislocated elbow he suffered Friday night against the Chicago Bears.

Coach Tom Coughlin said yesterday that an MRI exam of the elbow revealed a "little bit of a stretch or a strain" in the ligament in addition to the dislocation.

Coughlin said Slaughter will miss "four weeks or more," which means the earliest he might return would be against the New York Jets on Sept. 29.

Considering Slaughter's history of playing hurt, Coughlin is hoping he might be back faster than that.

"As soon as he can possibly deal with it, he'll play. He'll have to have an elbow brace that restricts him, but if there is a way to get back faster, he will," he said.

Slaughter has admitted in the past that the doctors sometimes get frustrated with him because he doesn't report to the training room when he's hurt. Last year, he was playing with a torn labrum in his shoulder that wasn't discovered until he went out with a knee sprain.

Slaughter's injury is another setback for a Jaguars defense that may open the season with a front seven that is completely different from last year's regular unit.

During the offseason, they lost three defensive lineman (Gary Walker, Seth Payne and Renaldo Wynn) and two linebackers (Hardy Nickerson and Kevin Hardy) in addition to cornerback Aaron Beasley.

Now Slaughter is out and defensive end Tony Brackens' status remains uncertain as he tries to play on an ailing knee that is likely to need surgery again.

Brackens saw limited duty in practice yesterday, but Coughlin said he'll miss today's workout. They hope he can go again tomorrow if the knee doesn't swell up again.

Of Brackens' limited workouts, Coughlin said, "When he practices, he rushes the passer and he engages. His hands and feet are going to be involved. …

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