- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 8, 2015

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee has been on the sideline way more often than he’s been on the field this year.

So even Lee understood why offensive coordinator Greg Olson said the second-year pro was “like the albino tiger at the zoo.”

“I think that was an amazing comparison,” Lee said Monday. “I understand what he’s talking about. Coach Olly’s only been here for a couple of months, and for those couple months, I’ve only been out (on the field) a couple of times. That reference was perfect, right? I didn’t take it as a big deal.

“It’s just motivation to just get back. I didn’t take it as an insult or nothing like that. I know he’s just making reference. I know coach Olly is one of the main coaches who want me back as far as trying to participate with the team.”

Lee hasn’t practiced since injuring his right hamstring on Aug. 5, during the first week of training camp.

It was the latest setback in 16 months for Lee, a second-round draft pick from USC in 2014. He has missed significant chunks of time with ankle, hamstring and knee injuries. He missed three games last season after injuring his right hamstring in practice and then spent another six weeks getting back to full speed.

He finished his rookie year with 37 catches for 422 yards and a touchdown.

But Lee was back on the sideline with a knee injury when the team began organized team activities in May. He was healthy for the start camp, but was on the field just three days before ending up in the training room again.

Olson was hired in January and has seen Lee practice less than any of the team’s offensive players.

“To me, he’s like the albino tiger at the zoo,” Olson said last week. “If you get there and you’re lucky enough to get him to come out of the cave and see him, it’s a good day. I’ve only seen him three times since I’ve been here, and those three days he was very impressive, but he’s only been out there three days.”

Lee has received no indication when he will be cleared to practice and play, and coach Gus Bradley said Monday that’s Lee status for Sunday’s season opener against Carolina is “still up in the air.”

“It’s tough,” Lee said. “But then again you sit down and you’ve got to really understand you don’t want to rush. That’s the biggest thing. You don’t want to rush back and prolong your injury. You just want to take your time, make sure you’re straight before you come back and be 100 percent.”

Lee hasn’t done much the last month. He has spent countless hours pedaling a stationary bike during practice, mixed in some strength-and-conditioning drills and accomplished a little “slow running.”

He still has hamstring soreness, too.

“It’s minor,” Lee said. “It’s nothing crazy, nothing significant, but the trainers, they’re big on that. And then they’re big on if you feel a little bit, we’re just going to calm it down, make sure it feels 100 to where you’re not feeling anything to where you’ll be ready to go.”

Without Lee in the mix, second-year receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns locked down starting spots. Rookie Rashad Greene, a fifth-round pick from Florida State, and inexperienced journeyman Bryan Walters made the team as backups.

The Jaguars seem content going with four receivers for now - until the “albino tiger” gets back on the field.

“Injuries are part of the NFL and you’ve got to be able to adapt to the personnel that you have, so we’re certainly hoping to get (Lee) back and hoping to get him healthy because we do believe he will be a big part of what we do going forward,” Olson said.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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