The Jacksonville Jaguars ruled out Gabbert for Sunday’s game at Oakland after he sliced open the back of his throwing hand in the season opener. Gabbert caught his right hand on a defender’s facemask while scrambling for a 4-yard gain the closing minutes against Kansas City on Sunday. He received 15 stitches to close the wound.
He won’t be able to practice this week because of concerns that dirt and sweat could get in the wound and cause infection. The team is hopeful he will be able to play Sept. 22 at Seattle. If not, then he should return Sept. 29 against Indianapolis.
"It’s got to heal and we need to keep it clean," coach Gus Bradley said. "The big concern would be with all the stitches that it could reopen and then the chance of infection occurs. So we’re going to handle that right. Hopefully we get him back either next week or following the Seattle game."
Gabbert has missed eight of the team’s last 11 games, including the final six last season. He played through a torn labrum in his left shoulder last season, but ended up on injured reserve because of a forearm injury. He missed two preseason games last month after sustaining a hairline fracture in his right thumb.
Team doctors took X-rays of Gabbert’s hand after his latest injury, but there was no damage aside from the gash.
"It was pretty severe," Bradley said. "They’re worried that some of the skin isn’t there. It ripped off part of the skin, so some of those are even open right now even though they were stitched. So the fear of getting infection and sweat from practice and anything that could get in there."
Chad Henne will start against the Raiders, and newly signed Ricky Stanzi will serve as the backup.
Henne split repetitions with Gabbert during the offseason and in training camp, so he should be able to step into the starting role without any issues. Henne started Jacksonville’s final two preseasons games.
"If there’s one good out of that now we have a guy that’s seasoned, that’s played a lot of football for us," Bradley said. "We have a lot of faith in Chad. I know that he’s a guy we felt strongly about going through the whole process."
Gabbert completed 16 of 35 passes for 121 yards and two interceptions against the Chiefs, including one Tamba Hali returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. He was sacked six times in the 28-2 loss, the worst opener in franchise history.
Henne completed 3 of 6 passes for 36 yards in relief.
The former Michigan standout started the final six games last season and finished with 2,084 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He lost the battle for the starting job in training camp last month and recently vowed to stay ready for another chance.
"Obviously it’s been a roller coaster, but at the same time, I just try to keep a level head," Henne said. "I go out there each and every day, try to get better and compete and just show the coaching staff that I’m ready whenever my number’s called. … You never know what’s going to go on throughout the season. There are injuries that happen, and I just have to stay ready at all times."