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Garrard ready to return to starting lineup for Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars quarterback David Garrard practiced with the first-team offense Wednesday, the latest step in his return to the starting lineup.

Garrard missed the last three games after spraining his left ankle Oct. 22 against Indianapolis. The Jaguars, who went 2-1 with Quinn Gray under center, expect Garrard back Sunday against San Diego.

"We think we're going to have David," coach Jack Del Rio said. "If he goes out and is capable in practice and sharp in doing the things he needs to do to lead our team, then he's going to be our starter. We anticipate having him. We were close last week. We elected to not push it and not have a potential setback and then have a long drawn out deal."

Garrard, who ran without pain last week, probably could have played Sunday at Tennessee. But the Jaguars (6-3) decided to play it safe and hold him out one more week.

"He's one of our playmakers on offense, so to be able to get him back certainly should provide a lift," Del Rio said. "We want David to settle back into the kind of football he was playing before he got injured, be a playmaker for us. He was making plays with his mind, with his feet and with his arm. We want him to get back into that groove and play good football for us."

Del Rio didn't even anticipate listing Garrard on the injury report Wednesday, saying only a setback would prevent him from returning against the Chargers.

Garrard has completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,141 yards, with six touchdowns and no interceptions. His 102.9 passer rating ranks fourth in the NFL behind Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Tony Romo.

"Everything's feeling good," Garrard said. "We're going to have to make sure everything continues on the right path, make sure we don't have any setbacks."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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