JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars are going to be without two key starters for at least the remainder of the preseason.
The Jaguars had already announced late Friday night that tight end Julius Thomas would miss the rest of the preseason after he suffered a stable fracture of his right hand near his middle finger against the Steelers.
The team is aiming for both players to be ready for the Sept. 13 regular-season opener against Carolina.
"My gut feeling is that it looks pretty good [for Cyprien and Thomas to return for the opener]," coach Gus Bradley said. "We trust our doctors and the information we're getting. The arrow's up that we should get them for the first game. I think that we'll know more in a couple weeks."
Bradley seemed confident that, barring any setbacks, Cyprien would be able to play against the Panthers. Even if his injury isn't completely healed, he could play in a cast. Thomas obviously couldn't.
Thomas said he was hopeful to be available Week 1.
"Right now it's just a healing situation, so hopefully it goes really well and I'm back before then and running around and feeling great, but we'll find out in a couple weeks when we take the cast off," Thomas said.
Bradley said he was unsure when Cyprien suffered his injury because the third-year player waited until after he had dressed in street clothes following the game before seeking treatment. Thomas was injured on the Jaguars' second offensive snap when he was hit by cornerback William Gay.
Cyprien said his experience with Jaguars defense should help make up for any lost time.
"One good thing is that I'll also still be in practice. I'll make sure I get all the [noncontact] reps I can, and I'll still be familiar with it," Cyprien said. "I definitely have those years under my belt, and I understand what's going on out there. I just want to be out there with my brothers, but I'll just have to wait to Week 1."
The Jaguars signed 6-foot-5, 250-pound Thomas to a five-year, $46 million contract, including $24 million guaranteed, in March to give second-year quarterback Blake Bortles a reliable target, especially in the red zone. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Thomas had 27 catches and 17 touchdowns in the red zone over the past two seasons. Only Jimmy Graham (20) and Dez Bryant (18) had more TD catches in the red zone.
The 6-5, 217-pound Cyprien was the Jaguars' second-round draft pick in 2013 and compiled 218 tackles in his first two seasons, including a team-high 114 in 2014. He has two forced fumbles, nine pass breakups and one interception in 30 games.