- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Whether Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert can play in the season opener against Kansas City may come down to how much pain he can tolerate from the hairline fracture in his right thumb.
Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said Friday that Gabbert has begun squeezing a ball and may begin throwing again this weekend. A final determination on whether Gabbert will be available for the Sept. 8 game against the Chiefs won’t be made until the middle of next week.
"They’re going to increase his reps during the weekend," Bradley said. "He’s starting to squeeze a ball. We’re looking for him to possibly throw a little bit this weekend. He’ll begin gripping and we’ll see how it feels. He’s going to be in some pain, though, so we’ll have to manage that and just see as far as the updates how much pain he’s feeling and what he can do."
Gabbert has had his right hand in a removable cast since the injury, and while he hasn’t thrown the ball or taken snaps he has been at practice and has participated in other activities. That’s keeping him sharp mentally, Bradley said, but whether the Jaguars start Gabbert or Chad Henne will likely ultimately come down to whether he’s able to overcome the pain he’s going to have every time he takes a snap, hands off, or throws.
"I would have to see him, our offensive staff would have to see him, play at really a high level," Bradley said. "And he may have pain, but is it a pain that he can tolerate and really be effective? If I see that then I think that we would go with him."
Gabbert, who was not available on Friday because the players have the day off, said earlier this week that he’s progressing well in his recovery and is on pace to play against the Chiefs.