The Jacksonville Jaguars defense got more bad news on the injury front following their Thursday practice.
Underrated star linebacker Daryl Smith missed practice with a groin injury that has hampered him the entire preseason, bringing up significant doubt as to whether or not he will be healthy enough to play in the season opener Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Jaguars are already without linebacker Clint Session for an unknown amount of time with lingering concussion symptoms and if Smith was unable to play on Sunday their depth at linebacker would be tested.
The Jaguars defense is already using primary backup Russell Allen in place of Session, so it would likely be Kyle Bosworth filling in for Smith on Sunday if he is unable to go. After Bosworth, the Jaguars have two unproven rookies in Brandon Marshall and Julian Stanford on the roster.
Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey already said that they will likely be without starting corner Derek Cox on Sunday, so the Jaguars could play in their opener without two of their best defensive players.
The offensive side of the ball got better news on Thursday as rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon returned to full practice after tweaking his ankle on Wednesday. Blackmon is expected to make his first career NFL start on Sunday after having an impressive preseason.
The Jaguars also expect to have starting right guard Uche Nwaneri available on Sunday after he practiced fully on Thursday. Nwaneri sprained his ankle in the Jaguars preseason finale last Thursday against the Atlanta Falcons.