Jags DE Andre Branch to miss significant time with knee injury

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Andre Branch suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee Friday night, and coach Gus Bradley said Saturday afternoon that Branch would miss significant time.

Bradley said he wasn't given a more specific timetable because Branch still has to undergo several more tests, but the team doesn't expect him back for the Sept. 13 season opener.

"The timeframe that we're looking at, I'm not sure," Bradley said. "It's always tough when you lose a guy like that."

Branch was injured during the first half of the Jaguars' 22-17 loss to Detroit at EverBank Field. He was using crutches in the locker room after the game but declined an interview request.

Branch is the second Jaguars pass-rusher to go down with a serious knee injury. First-round draft pick Dante Fowler Jr. suffered a torn left ACL on the first day of rookie minicamp.

This is a critical season for Branch because he is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He was the Jaguars' second-round draft pick in 2012, but he has yet to show he can be a reliable pass-rusher and has 10 sacks in three seasons. He had one sack in 13 games as a rookie but had six sacks in 2013.

It appeared Branch was ready to make more progress in his third season when he had two sacks in the season opener against Philadelphia. But he had just one in the next six games, and a groin injury had him inactive for seven of the remaining eight games.