The Jaguars got the news they were expecting, but not hoping for Tuesday, when the team learned tight end Julius Thomas will undergo surgery that may sideline him until early October
Thomas, who caught 12 touchdown passes last season with the Denver Broncos, signed as a free agent in March. He broke a bone in his right hand in Jacksonville's Aug. 14 preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jacksonville was hoping to have Thomas back in time for the season-opener Sept. 13, but according to the Florida Times-Union, the need for surgery may push the Pro Bowler's return back to the Oct. 4 game against the Indianapolis Colts, with general manager David Caldwell calling that the "realistic case" target.
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With Thomas out, Clay Harbor will join Marcedes Lewis in Jacksonville's two-tight end formations. Nic Jacobs should also see more playing time as well.
Head coach Gus Bradley expressed confidence the team's tight ends will be productive with Thomas out.
"Obviously, we were hoping (Thomas) would be back for Game 1, but there was still a chance he might not be ready," Bradley said, per the Times-Union. "This is unfortunate, but it's not the whole season or eight games -- it's something that has come up. I do feel fortunate that for the offense without Julius has moved the ball and done some really good things. That's a positive so we'll only be stronger when he gets back."
(h/t Florida Times-Union)