JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The pain was so intense that Marqise Lee thought his leg was broken.
He doesn’t remember if his foot got caught in the turf in the Jacksonville Jaguars' new indoor practice facility or what, exactly, happened to cause his injury last Sunday. He just remembers how much it hurt and that he feared his 2017 season was over before it even began.
“It happened so fast,” Lee said. “The next thing I remember, I just had a pain.
“The first time it actually happened, everything did flash by. And then as I sat there my whole time just was, ‘When is the pain going to go away?’”
It didn’t take long for Lee to get good news: The injury wasn’t as bad as he feared. Tests revealed he had suffered a sprained ankle -- no break -- and he wore a protective boot for several days. He is now walking around without a boot or crutches.
Lee did not practice on Saturday but said he’s on track to play in the Sept. 10 season opener against Houston.
"I'm pretty confident I'll be fine,” Lee said in his first comments since the injury. “I can't make a move without the trainers and the coaches. It's their decision, but I'm going to go ahead and jump in. I think I'll be fine by Game 1. Doing everything possible to be ready by Game 1. That's all I really can control, so I'm just going to do that."
It’s understandable that Lee would have feared the worst when he was first injured because he has been dealing with injuries throughout his career. He fought a hamstring injury during the first half of his rookie season in 2014 and missed three games before finishing with 37 catches for 422 yards and one touchdown. After missing most of training camp, all of the preseason and six of the first eight games because of a hamstring injury, Lee finally got healthy and stayed on the field for the Jaguars’ final eight games in 2015 -- but he caught just 15 passes.
However, Lee was healthy in 2016 and had 63 catches for 851 yards and three touchdowns. He also averaged 30.3 yards on 18 kickoff returns, including taking one back 100 yards for a touchdown against Houston, and arguably was the Jaguars’ best offensive player.
He had been having a good training camp until the injury.
“The situation is what it is, but at the end of the day, you still have to stay positive and find positive ways out of it,” Lee said. “That's just me basically staying in tune and continuing to learn my plays and seeing what I see and learning off of that."