Julius Thomas has been ruled out for the rest of the preseason for the Jacksonville Jaguars after fracturing his hand last night.
The tight end suffered a stable fracture in his left hand during the Jaguars’ 23-21 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Friday’s preseason game. He left the field during the first quarter and did not return to action.
Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said according to NFL.com: "The good news is that it's quick healing ... The tough news is that he is going to be out probably the rest of preseason. But hopefully, if everything works alright, he'll be back ready for the first game."
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Thomas is one of the most exciting additions to the Jaguars offense. He became the league’s second highest paid tight end when he signed a five-year, $46 million contract with the team in March earlier this year. This makes him the second highest paid tight end in the NFL.
He is highly regarded as one of the best tight ends in the league after two fantastic seasons at the Denver Broncos with Peyton Manning. Across 2013 and 2014, Thomas caught 108 passes for 1,277 yards and 24 touchdowns. He is the first tight end in NFL history to have at least 12 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons.
Without this productivity during the preseason, it will be hard for Blake Bortles to find a reliable target on the Jaguars offense during the series he plays in.
However, as Bradley mentioned before, the two-time Pro Bowler has a predicted time frame of return by the season opener against the Carolina Panthers on September 13, which is good news for Bortles and Jaguars fans.