Henderson, other Jaguars use bye week to recover from injuries Print
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Thursday, 27 September 2007 11:42
NFL Headline News

 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -Jaguars defensive tackle John Henderson vaguely remembers the hit - and only because he's watched the replay several times since.
Henderson tackled Atlanta's Jerious Norwood with the crown of his helmet on Sept. 16 and sustained a concussion that sent the Pro Bowl player to the bench.
But the 6-foot-7, 335-pound Henderson received medical clearance to go back in the game and played until he was ``spinning.''
``I wasn't right,'' said Henderson, who has 11 tackles and a sack this season. ``I was gone. I was still trying to play, but still not real focused.''
Henderson sat out last week's game at Denver - the first one he's missed since college - and is spending Jacksonville's bye week getting back to normal.
In fact, the early off week turned out to be beneficial for the Jaguars (2-1), who have several key injuries.
Linebacker Clint Ingram, who missed three games with a sprained ankle, has returned to the starting lineup in practice. Center Brad Meester, who has been sidelined since early in training camp with a broken ankle, is running again and nearing a return.
Running back Fred Taylor (knee), defensive end Kenny Pettway (quadriceps), left tackle Khalif Barnes (ankle), defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (knee) and receiver Matt Jones (heel) also used the extra downtime to get healthy.
Ideally, the Jaguars would like to have their bye week in the middle of the year. That would provide them a break midway through a grueling season filled with bumps and bruises. But with the number of guys already slowed by injuries, having the first bye week of the season couldn't have been more timely.
``It's big for us right now because we have so many guys dinged,'' Ingram said. ``It's a chance for guys with dents and dings and little stuff like that to work them out. You don't get much time to heal in this league, but when you do, you've got to be able to take advantage of it.
``We're definitely doing that now.''
Coach Jack Del Rio gave his players Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off. They practiced in shorts Thursday, beginning preparation for next week's game at Kansas City (1-2), and were scheduled to have the weekend off.
This one should be much more relaxing than the last two for Henderson.
He took the first blow to the head early in the game against the Falcons. He said he convinced team doctors he was fine and could re-enter the game.
``I wanted to go back in the game,'' Henderson said. ``They didn't know (how bad it was). I told them I was good. It's all about playing. You don't think about nothing bad. You just like to go out there and play.''
A short time later, Henderson took a second blow to the head and had to be helped into the locker room. This time, though, there was nothing he could have done to get back on the field.
``I was out of it,'' he said. ``Basically, they told me I was done. They could figure out that I was pretty gone.''
Del Rio initially told reporters Henderson had suffered from a heat-related illness. He corrected his story the following day and said Henderson would not have any contact for a week because of the concussion.
Henderson said he spent much of the week feeling tired and dizzy and suffering from headaches.
Nonetheless, he passed the first phase of testing Saturday. He needed to pass a second one Sunday morning to play at Denver. But Henderson didn't sleep well the night before and failed miserably.
``It didn't go too well,'' he said. ``I was looking all crazy, but I was still trying to play. You know how it is. You just want to be in there.''
The defense did just fine without him, and the Jaguars won 23-14.
But for Henderson, a first-round draft pick in 2002 who had played 82 consecutive games, standing on the sideline was something he hopes to avoid again.
``Y'all don't understand. Being on that sideline wasn't fun,'' he said. ``I had to do the best to help the team, but being in there is the best. I missed it.''
 

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