Jones-Drew leaves with bruised leg

Updated: September 5, 2009, 1:28 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars star Maurice Jones-Drew might not be 100 percent when the season begins after bruising his lower right leg Thursday night against the Washington Redskins.

Jones-Drew
Jones-Drew

A league source said an MRI taken Friday was negative, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. X-rays were also negative. Although Jones-Drew has been fairly durable in three seasons, he could be slowed heading into the season opener at Indianapolis.

Jones-Drew hurt his leg on the opening series when cornerback Fred Smoot tackled him following a short reception. Jones-Drew exchanged words with Smoot and safety LaRon Landry before leaving the field. He slammed his helmet to the ground, then headed to the locker room.

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said the low hit fired up Jones-Drew.

"He had a 'UFC shot' to the shin or lower leg and it's bruised," Del Rio said. "Maurice was a little frustrated by the hit and he wanted to get his hands on the guy, I can tell you that."

Quarterback David Garrard took some of the blame for leading Jones-Drew into the flat.

"I don't know what's really wrong with him. I don't know if anything's really wrong with him," Garrard said. "He'll be fine. He'll be ready to roll. I could have helped him out a little bit more by putting the ball where it stops him and not kind of lead him into that defender out there.

"But it's football. Those types of things are going to happen."

Smoot and Landry didn't play after the opening series and were not around when the locker room opened following the game.

Teammate Reed Doughty, a backup safety, said low hits are part of the game -- especially against a 210-pound back like Jones-Drew.

"If you don't cut, it's a scrimmage," Doughty said. "That's what DBs do. When we blitz, they don't cut? I don't think Smoot did anything on purpose or was trying to hurt him."

Although the injury didn't appear serious, the Jaguars can't afford to lose their top playmaker. Convinced he could be the cornerstone of the offense, the team released veteran Fred Taylor and gave Jones-Drew a five-year, $31 million contract in April.

He has nearly 4,000 yards rushing and receiving, and has scored 40 touchdowns in three seasons. Only San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson has more touchdowns (61) since 2006.

"He's a warrior, he's a champion, he's one of the leaders of our team and you're going to get the same Maurice Jones-Drew every day," receiver Mike Sims-Walker said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.