Jaguars' Lee returns to practice, hopes to play at Jets
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee hopes to play in the team's preseason opener despite missing most of training camp.
Lee fully practiced Monday for the first time since straining his left hamstring during the opening day of camp. Now, after sitting out nine days and seven practices, the former USC standout is lobbying to play against the New York Jets on Thursday night.
''I'm thinking about playing,'' Lee said. ''I want to. I don't know from this point, honestly, to tell you the truth. It's all up to the coaches and stuff. I'm looking forward to it.''
A second-round draft pick in 2014, Lee tweaked his hamstring during the first camp session. It was the latest setback for a guy who has missed significant time with ankle, hamstring and knee injuries.
''We went through this injury plenty of times for the last couple of years,'' Lee said, estimating four or five hamstring injuries in three years. ''At this point in time, any time you feel it or anything like that, I'm just going to leave it up to the trainers. ... If it gets worse from that point on, it's their fault, not mine.''
Given his history, the Jaguars immediately shut him down and ordered a MRI. Tests showed no significant damage, but team doctors decided to be cautious and have Lee slowly return to full speed.
''It was a relief,'' Lee said. ''It's kind of nerve-wracking sometimes when things happen, but you learn to get over them like I have. But it's still nerve-wracking.''
Lee caught 52 passes for 613 yards and two touchdowns in his first two seasons, including just 15 receptions for 191 yards and a score last year. Drafted to be the team's go-to receiver, Lee has become a fourth option at best because of injuries, behind Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and tight end Julius Thomas.
His speed makes him a much-needed piece of Jacksonville's offense, and staying healthy is the key. And it starts in the preseason, maybe even against the Jets.
''I'm not trying to go out there to prove anything,'' Lee said. ''My thing is to go out there and just focus on what I've been working on. Preseason is just preseason. I'm not going to go out there and try to do anything crazy. Just go out there, work on the techniques and things I need to work on to get open, and that's it.''
Defensive end Jared Odrick (foot), defensive tackle Malik Jackson (ankle), left tackle Kelvin Beachum (knee), running back Jonas Gray (leg) and rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Day (back) missed practice Monday. Coach Gus Bradley said Beachum, who is 10 months removed from reconstructive knee surgery, is unlikely to play in the preseason opener.
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