Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence misses practice, expects to face Titans

AP photo by Paul Sancya / Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence holds his left leg after being sacked by Detroit Lions linebacker James Houston (59) on Sunday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence felt a sense of relief Wednesday that he was merely missing an NFL practice for the first time.

Lawrence, the No. 1 pick of the 2021 draft, initially feared he might have sustained a season-ending knee injury when he was sacked on the final play of the first half during Sunday's road loss to the Detroit Lions. Three days later, he said he "kind of dodged a bullet for sure on that hit."

Though it left him with pain, tests revealed a sprained big toe on his left foot but no significant damage. Lawrence and coach Doug Pederson expect he will be able return to practice later in the week and probably play Sunday as the Jaguars (4-8) face the Tennessee Titans (7-5) in Nashville. It's an AFC South matchup, with the Titans leading the division as they seek to win it for the third straight year and the Jaguars trying to keep their playoff hopes alive.

"That's the plan," Lawrence said. "All I can do is just take it day by day and, if I can, I'll be out there."

Lawrence wore a protective shoe on his foot in the locker room and around the facility Wednesday. Pain and swelling subsided enough that he was able to put on sneakers and join teammates on the field for part of practice. He listened and watched from the sideline as backup C.J Beathard directed the offense.

It was the first time Lawrence had missed a practice since sitting out consecutive weeks as a junior at Clemson in 2020 because of COVID-19.

"I've had a relatively healthy career, thankfully," Lawrence said. "The way my leg got caught, it scared me. So thankful that it's nothing major and really, really fortunate."

Pederson said Lawrence's status was "day to day" and that he's "progressing in the right direction."

"We'll just keep him out today," Pederson added. "He'll get all the mental reps today but nothing from the standpoint of moving around."

Lawrence has started every game in two seasons as a pro. He has completed 65.6% of his passes this season for 2,834 yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also has three rushing scores but a league-high six fumbles lost.

If he's unable to play Sunday, Beathard would make his 13th professional start.

"Obviously, when it's your quarterback, or any player, there's a level of concern," Pederson said. "But we've still got several days before the game. He's tough, and he'll do everything he can, I know, in his power to try to be out there. But we'll just take it day by day."

The Jaguars last won at Tennessee in 2013. They have dropped eight straight in the Music City, including a 20-0 debacle last year that was among the reasons owner Shad Khan fired Urban Meyer just 13 games into his tenure as coach.

Pederson acknowledged Sunday's game is pretty much a do-or-die situation in the AFC South.

"You're running out of opportunities," he said. "We've got five games (left), three division opponents and two games against the same team (Tennessee). So, yeah, you're looking up and going, 'You know, you're running out of chances.'"