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Jaguars QB Garrard will miss season finale after finger surgery

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard will miss Sunday's regular-season finale at Houston because of a finger injury.

Garrard will have surgery on the middle finger of his right hand Thursday. Trent Edwards likely will start in Garrard's place, essentially giving the former Buffalo Bills starter an audition with the Jaguars.

Garrard injured the middle finger on his throwing hand when he hit it on an opposing player's helmet during a Dec. 19 game at Indianapolis. He threw a crucial interception late in that game, and he threw two more picks in a 20-17 overtime loss to Washington on Sunday. He also fumbled twice.

"After tearing that ligament in the Indy game, I felt like I was fine going into the Redskins game," Garrard said. "It really just felt like a jammed finger to me. But after the Redskins game, it hasn't come back to being the normal finger, the ligament is kind of worked in there. I can't get any bend in it at all. It's actually a little painful right now."

Asked which finger he injured, Garrard said: "The finger you don't show people unless you're mad at them."

Garrard said rehabilitation likely will take up to two months, meaning he'd miss a first-round playoff game if the Jaguars (8-7) make the postseason. Jacksonville needs to beat Houston and have the Tennessee Titans upset the Colts to win the AFC South.

"I can't do anything with it," Garrard said. "The finger won't bend around like a normal finger, it just kind of bends up. It's weird. You can definitely tell something needs to be done with it."

Making that even more improbable, the Jaguars likely will be without star running back Maurice Jones-Drew. He missed his fourth consecutive practice Wednesday because of an injured right knee that probably will need offseason surgery.

Garrard set the franchise record for touchdown passes in a season, enjoyed five of the best eight games of his nine-year career and led the team to several late wins. But his final two games, which included two costly turnovers late, had fans calling for a quarterback change.

Garrard's injury probably might not do much to dampen those feelings. After all, he's just 39-37 as a starter and has one playoff victory.

This season was one of Garrard's best, though. He completed 64.5 percent of his throws for 2,734 yards, with 23 touchdown passes, 15 interceptions and a passer rating of 90.8.

Garrard led the team to late wins over the Colts, Texans, Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns. But he showed more inconsistency in losses to the Redskins, Titans, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants.

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The Jaguars claimed Edwards off waivers in late September, picking him off after he was benched and later released by the Bills. Edwards has played in one game with Jacksonville, completing 14 of 24 passes for 140 yards and two interceptions.

Edwards said he's excited for the opportunity.

"The chance is there for me to step up and try to help this team get a W," Edwards said. "Everyone in this locker room understands how important this victory is for this organization and this team."

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said Sunday's game will be an audition of sorts for Edwards.

"I think it's a great opportunity for (Edwards) to show us what he has, and it's a great opportunity for us to take that all in and evaluate that," Del Rio said. "Every time you get an opportunity to step on the field, you get an opportunity to do that very thing, to show the team you're playing for and even other teams out there what you're all about."

Edwards replaced Garrard when the starter left a Monday night game against the Titans in mid-October because of a concussion. Garrard missed the following week's game at Kansas City, but Edwards was unavailable because of a thumb injury, so journeyman Todd Bouman made the start.

Bouman likely will serve as the backup this week against the Texans.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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