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Jaguars GM: Julius Thomas might need finger surgery

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Julius Thomas could face an even longer absence from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell confirmed an ESPN report that the high-priced tight end is expected to need surgery to repair a tendon in his finger and is expected to miss up to five weeks. Caldwell said Thomas will get a second opinion on Tuesday before making a final decision on surgery.

Every game, all season

"My understanding is that if he does need it, it only pushes him back a couple of weeks in terms of his return time," Caldwell said, via The Florida Times-Union. "He was going to be 50-50 for the opener. We would hope if everything went well it should be four weeks from the surgery where he'd be back to full strength."

"He had a follow-up appointment today and just had some discomfort in there and they re-did some tests and it showed some loosening of the ligament," Caldwell added. "He could probably play with it, but if we let it go and it's still loose, then we're at Week 4 or 5 in the season and he needs surgery. It would be us being aggressive. ... Our most realistic case is he has surgery and he's back for Indy."

The Jaguars play the Colts in Week 4.

Thomas suffered what was called a "stable fracture" in his left hand in the first quarter of the preseason opener against the Steelers. The Jaguars immediately conceded that Thomas would miss the remainder of the preseason, but the team was optimistic he'd be ready for Week 1 against the Panthers.

The Jaguars gave Thomas a five-year, $46 million contract in the offseason to lure him away from the Denver Broncos. If healthy, the league's highest-paid tight end figures to be the primary target for second-year quarterback Blake Bortles.

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