JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard will miss the season finale at Houston because of a finger injury.
Garrard will have surgery on the middle finger of his right hand Thursday. Trent Edwards is likely to start in Garrard's place, essentially giving the former Buffalo Bills starter an audition with Jacksonville.
Garrard injured his finger when he hit it on an opposing player's helmet at Indianapolis on Dec. 19. He threw a crucial interception late in the that game, and threw two more picks in a 20-17 overtime loss to Washington on Sunday. He also fumbled twice.
Garrard likely would miss a first-round playoff game if the Jaguars (8-7) make the postseason. Jacksonville needs to beat Houston and have Tennessee upset Indianapolis to win the AFC South.
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 his best, though. He completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 2,734 yards, with 23 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions and a passer rating of 90.8.
He led the team to late wins against Indianapolis, Buffalo, Houston and Cleveland. But he showed more inconsistency in losses to San Diego, Philadelphia, Tennessee, the New York Giants and Washington.
Edwards replaced Garrard when he 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 got the start.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press