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Garrard has Sims-Walker, Thomas back

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

As they prepare for their preseason finale, the Jaguars could get a boost from two receivers returning from injury.

Quarterback David Garrard said he felt the offense get a bump in practice Sunday when Mike Sims-Walker, out since he suffered a high ankle sprain in an early-camp scrimmage, and Mike Thomas, the speedy fourth-round draft pick who’s been out with a hamstring injury, returned to action.

“It’s still the preseason and we’re still working on those things, but I feel like all that stuff is coming into place, especially with Mike Sims-Walker and Mike Thomas coming back into the fold,” Garrard told the Jacksonville media. “You could just see from our last practice those two guys are big pieces to the puzzle. If we can have them out there it’s going to help the offense tremendously. I’m not saying the other guys out there weren’t doing a good job because they were, but whenever you have those kind of weapons [Sims-Walker and Thomas], it’s going to help you. ...

“They looked good to me. I’m not the doctor or anything, not even an amateur doctor, but they looked good so hopefully they can hold up and keep their injuries out of the way for a season. Both Mikes made a number of great catches yesterday and it was very encouraging. It gave me a lot of confidence and you could definitely tell with those two guys out there, especially Mike Sims-Walker.”

Sims-Walker is a tantalizing guy who the team is sure can be productive if he can just stay healthy.

He missed his rookie year in 2007 after re-aggravating a left knee injury from college. Last season, he appeared in nine games, including a great day against Pittsburgh -- six catches for 107 yards. But he dealt with a sprained MCL in his right knee, a staph infection and then two horrible non-football developments -- the murder of his dear friend Winfred Ezell and the passing of his father.

“I was just talking to somebody saying I feel cursed, like, ‘Man, ever since I got here, I do something good, something bad follows right after,’” he said in a chat with Jacksonville reporters. “That’s how it’s been, but I’m just staying positive. Come back healthy, that’s the main thing. It’s a good thing it wasn’t serious, I’ve been through a lot worse than an ankle sprain. It was just a little minor setback.”

Before his most recent injury, Sims-Walker told me he’d worked to strengthen his legs in the offseason in hopes of avoiding injuries. Some people hear that from a wide receiver and worry it will cost him some of what makes him effective as a route runner. Time will give us a better gauge on that.

Sims-Walker was initially slated to start opposite Torry Holt, but said the way Troy Williamson and Nate Hughes have played, he wouldn’t change anything right now.

He and Garrard joked that Sims-Walker got his injury out of the way and can now move forward full-steam. The Jaguars can only hope it unfolds so easily.