It has been a long time since Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has been on the football field, but if all goes according to plan he will be back in time to make an impact in 2013.
Jones-Drew told the media on Thursday that he expects to be fully healthy in time to participate in the Jaguars offseason program after having foot surgery back in December. His foot injury limited him to only six game last season and the Jaguars rushing offense struggled tremendously in his absence. In fact, despite only playing in six games, Jones-Drew led the Jaguars in rushing yards in 2012.
Having a healthy Jones-Drew in 2013 is not only important for the Jaguars, but it is also important for him as he is entering the final year of his contract. New Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell has called Jones-Drew a core player this offseason, but his ability to successfully bounce back from his injury and produce like a featured rusher will go a long way towards what kind of deal he will get next offseason as a free agent and if he will be in a Jaguars uniform beyond this season.
The timetable for his return is expected to be towards the end of May, which will allow him to fully participate in training camp which he missed last season while locked in a contract holdout that lasted until Labor Day weekend. While Jones-Drew may be healthy enough to fully participate, the Jaguars may be careful with their best offensive weapon to ensure that he is still fully healthy when the regular season rolls around.