JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville receiver Marqise Lee suffered what appeared to be a serious left knee injury during the first quarter of the Jaguars' 17-6 victory over Atlanta on Saturday night, but coach Doug Marrone said they won't know its full extent until Sunday.
"Obviously it looked bad," Marrone said. "Doctors told me, 'Hey listen, we're not going to be able to know anything until tomorrow, and we'll have more information tomorrow on it.'''
"... Did anyone think it didn't look bad? I'm just saying it looked bad. I'm just like you in that I'm waiting for the doctor to tell me so I can tell you guys, but I know what I see. I'm not going to sit there and say it didn't look bad. It looked bad."
Lee was injured when he was tackled by Atlanta safety Damontae Kazee midway through the first quarter after catching a pass over the middle of the field. Lee's left knee buckled immediately, and he grabbed it with both hands. Kazee was penalized on the play for lowering his helmet to initiate contact, and replays showed his helmet made contact with Lee's knee.
The entire Jaguars receiving corps came out to be with Lee as he was put onto a cart and exited the field.
Kazee tweeted well wishes to Lee after the game.
Before i go out on the field i pray for both teams to stay healthy , i was just trying to make a football play, i will never ever try to hurt anyone, i just want to reach out to you bro and tell you that you'll be in my prayers everyday 🙌🏾🙏🏾 @TeamLee1— Montae Kazee (@Damontaekazee) August 26, 2018
Lee, who signed a four-year, $34 million contract ($16.5 million guaranteed) in March, is the Jaguars' most experienced receiver, with 171 catches for 2,166 yards and eight touchdowns in four seasons with the team. He led the Jaguars in receptions (56) and was second in yards (702) in 2017. He's also the best blocker among the receivers, so his absence will also impact the perimeter of the run game.
"Everybody's got to step up," said veteran Donte Moncrief, who joined the team in March on a one-year, $9.6 million guaranteed contract. "Everybody in the room's got to be ready to go, from the young guys to me. He was one of the big roles in the offense."
Moncrief caught three passes for 62 yards, including a 37-yard catch-and-run, before the first-team offense exited the game after one possession in the third quarter. Second-year players Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook combined to catch three passes for 15 yards. They will have to share Lee's workload for however long he's out, Cole said.
"I've just got to step up," Cole said. "Like I said, he's still going to be there spiritually. Just going to listen to him, keep learning and keep going moving forward.
"He can still be vocal and just not play. You never know what's going on. Hopefully he's good."
Even though Kazee was penalized for the hit, Lee's teammates were not angry at the second-year player out of San Diego State. Rather, some blamed the NFL's recent rule changes.
"You can't be mad at 27 [Kazee]," cornerback Jalen Ramsey said. "You have to be mad at the NFL; not mad at them, but that is how the rule is. People are scared to tackle normal because I guess they don't want to do helmet-to-helmet and get flagged. ... Game-changing stuff could happen. You don't really want to blame anyone, but you feel bad for him.
"I don't know, man, that's just tough to see it happen to one of my teammates, period, but you can't really blame 27."