By MARK LONG, AP Sports Writer
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars will be without receiver Allen Hurns at winless Cleveland on Sunday, a potentially significant setback for a team already playing without Allen Robinson.
Hurns injured his right ankle while making a 6-yard catch against the Los Angeles Chargers late in regulation. Hurns crawled out of bounds to avoid a 10-second runoff, a heads-up play that was somewhat overlooked amid Jacksonville’s wild, 20-17 victory in overtime.
Coach Doug Marrone said it’s unclear when Hurns will be ready to play again. Hurns left the locker room on crutches Sunday and could miss more than one game.
“I don’t anticipate him this week,” Marrone said. “I wouldn’t know after that.”
The Jaguars (6-3) will rely on veteran Marqise Lee and rookies Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook while trying to extend their winning streak to four games against the Browns (0-9). Robinson is out for the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee in the opener.
Westbrook, a fourth-round draft pick from Oklahoma and the 2016 Biletnikoff Award winner, has been sidelined since having core muscle surgery in early September. He is expected to be activated from injured reserve and make his NFL debut against Cleveland.
Westbrook led the NFL in receiving in the preseason, catching 13 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns in three exhibitions.
Hurns has 36 receptions for 446 yards and two touchdowns this season.
His move following his injury Sunday was considered a game-saving one by coaches and teammates.
The Jaguars trailed 17-14, had no timeouts remaining and had barely crossed midfield when Hurns made the catch and fell to the ground.
He managed to get to the sideline, and Jacksonville got into field-goal range on the next play when Blake Bortles found Jaydon Mickens for an 11-yard gain. A roughing-the-passer penalty on Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa made Josh Lambo’s field-goal attempt much shorter.
Lambo’s 34-yarder sent the game into overtime, and his 30-yarder in the extra period ended it.
Hurns deserved as much credit, if not more.
“I think it speaks to not only his toughness but how smart of a football player he is,” Bortles said. “He was able to recognize the situation that we were in. … Hurns’ toughness and football IQ never ceases to amaze me.”
Hurns was unable to put any weight on his right foot after the game.
“It’s just one of those plays,” said Hurns, who caught a team-high seven passes for 70 yards. “Under two minutes, you can’t stay on the field (when injured) because they have to take a timeout for you or have like a (10)-second runoff. That’s one of those plays where you just have to hop off the field. It was close to our sideline. I was able to get off. But it just shows how we are as a team.”
Marrone dislikes the runoff rule because it doesn’t take player safety into consideration.
“That’s a rule that I get concerned about. I really do,” Marrone said. “I struggle with that rule. … You tell a player if you can, get off the field, get off the field to save (time). Again, someone like Allen, you don’t want to put a player in further jeopardy from an injury standpoint.
“This game is hard enough to play as it is, but I appreciate him having the ability to do that. It did help the football team.”
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