Jags shouldn't worry about his repaired knee, Jones-Drew says

Maurice Jones-Drew missed the final two games last season with a left knee injury that required surgery. Now he's out to show the Jacksonville Jaguars that they shouldn't worry about his health.

"I can still carry the load regardless of what surgery I had or whatnot," Jones-Drew told The Florida Times-Union in a story for Thursday's editions. "They're going to be kind of anxious to throw Rashad (Jennings) in, and they're already kind of scared of my knee. ... I want to be able to be out the gates playing because it's a production-based business. They're already skeptical maybe it's his knee, maybe we're working him too hard, we should give him a break."

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Jones-Drew has carried quite a load during his two seasons as the Jaguars' featured running back, carrying the ball 312 times in 2009 and 299 times in 2010. He also caught 87 total passes in those two seasons. Still, he's confident he can return to his workhorse role and not lose touches to Jennings, his backup.

"If I have to go through double days in camp to prove it, I will," Jones-Drew said. "I'm fine."

Jones-Drew tried to grit his way through the 2010 season, playing with a meniscus that he tore before the campaign. He lasted 14 games, then had the surgery done by noted orthopedist James Andrews in January. He said last week that he expects to be 100 percent at the end of July.

Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter didn't know how much his star player was hurting -- "I was not in that circle. I didn't know," he said -- but he told the The Times-Union that coaches don't expect to limit Jones-Drew this coming season.

"There's been no discussions in the offensive staff room of Maurice's knee," Koetter said. "... I can assure you ... coach (Jack) Del Rio has never said to me when we get to the season we've gotta hold Maurice back."

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