The 2012 Jacksonville Jaguars season will be not only remembered for disappointment, but for the amount of key injuries they had to deal with throughout the season.
The most important player for the Jaguars on both offense and defense has missed a significant portion of the season, but they could both return to action this Sunday when the Jaguars host the New England Patriots in their home finale.
Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has missed the past eight games with a foot injury he suffered all the way back in October. Jones-Drew won the rushing title last season, despite being the Jaguars only real offensive weapon. This year Jones-Drew still leads the Jaguars in rushing even though he has only appeared in six games.
The Jaguars plan to test Jones-Drew out on the practice field this week and for the first time since suffering the injury he has not be ruled out early in the week. If Jones-Drew can show in practice that he can run without any discomfort, he could return to a Jaguars offense that has struggled to move the ball without any sort of consistent rushing attack while he has been absent.
The Jaguars best defensive player, linebacker Daryl Smith, has not played at all this season, but is eligible to come off of the temporary injured reserve list this week and play in the final two games. Smith was sidelined with a significant groin injury that eventually led to having surgery in October.
Smith has been the Jaguars leading tackler in past seasons and is one of the most versatile linebackers in the league when it comes to defending both the pass and run. His absence this season is certainly one of the key factors why the Jaguars defense has significantly dropped off to one of the worst in the league.
Unlike Jones-Drew, Smith was working on the practice field last week and is more likely to return to action this weekend.
At this point in the season the Jaguars need any glimmer of hope to get them through the final two games.