Cecil Shorts, Dekoda Watson return

Updated: August 17, 2014, 4:54 PM ET
By Michael DiRocco | ESPN.com

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars got a pair of starters back on the practice field on Sunday, including their top receiver.

Cecil Shorts, who missed all of minicamp with a calf injury and all but the first day of training camp with a strained hamstring, and linebacker Dekoda Watson, who missed all of OTAs, minicamp and the first three weeks of training camp with a groin injury, both practiced on a limited basis.

[+] EnlargeCecil Shorts
AP Photo/John RaouxCecil Shorts, the Jaguars' top receiver, returned to practice Sunday.

Coach Gus Bradley said that if the two have no setbacks this week, he'd like to get both a few snaps in Friday's preseason game at Detroit.

"It felt good just to be back out there with the guys," said Shorts, who has 123 catches for 1,786 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first three seasons. "I'm definitely rusty. So I've got to come out here, continue to work, not get frustrated and understand this is really my first practice since April or something like that. So let's not get frustrated and continue to work."

Shorts, who is in the final year of his rookie contract and hoping to work out an extension with the Jaguars, left the team's first training camp practice on July 25 with what he said was stiffness in his right hamstring. It was diagnosed as a strain and he missed the next three weeks.

Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch wasted little time getting Shorts involved. He lined up with the first-team offense during the first 11-on-11 session and caught a swing pass from Chad Henne on the first snap.

"It felt good," Shorts said. "After that, it was just downhill. Rusty, rusty, rusty, but I'll be fine."

Watson underwent surgery on his groin shortly after signing a three-year, $6.25 million free-agent contract with the Jaguars in March. He developed scar tissue and had another surgery in June and began training camp on the PUP list.

Like Shorts, Watson only participated in two reps during each practice period, but earned praise from Bradley for knowing where he was supposed to be each time despite never having practiced a snap at the new OTTO position, which replaces the strongside linebacker. The OTTO linebacker lines up closer to the line of scrimmage and can rush the passer or drop in coverage depending on the play.

"Naturally, of course, you just want to jump right in and just go right into it," Watson said. "But at the same time that's what they're here for. That's what they get paid for, the trainers and the coaches. They just want to make sure we're taking the right approach make sure and I'll be healthy throughout the season. We're trying to look at the overall picture of being healthy the year round."

Watson did break up a pass during 7-on-7 work.

The Jaguars could potentially have another starter back within the next two weeks. Bradley said receiver Ace Sanders, who has been on a leave of absence to deal with what he called a personal issue, could return to the team in time to play in the final preseason game on Aug. 28. Sanders has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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