Steven Shin, who is director of hand surgery at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles, said playing in the opener is a realistic goal, especially since Thomas' injury is below the bottom knuckle and should speed up his recovery.
“The blood supply to that area of the hand is pretty good and the bone in that area tends to heal very quickly,” Shin said.
Shin also believes Thomas won't have to wear any heavy protection on his hand once he returns.
“By that point, hopefully he’ll be able to not have to wear anything but the soft padding,” Shin said. “If he were to have to wear a hard cast across the knuckle joint, that would be very difficult for him to have any flexibility and catch passes.”
Thomas, who signed a five-year deal with Jacksonville in the offseason, was hit hard and flipped after catching a short pass. He left the field immediately and went to the locker room.
Thomas is dealing with a leg issue, while House had tightness in his abdomen. Both were held out as a precaution.
"There is no 'Here's me coming in, and Blake's going to get on my page.' I'm going to be on Blake's page," Thomas said. "Whatever he expects, that's what I am going to do. He's the quarterback. He's the one in control of that huddle, and I like catching passes so I will make sure I do exactly what he wants."
With Thomas entering his first season with the Jaguars, he said it will take time to develop a rapport with Bortles.
"I think that getting good chemistry with a quarterback probably takes a couple of thousand passes," Thomas said.
"It’s exciting, that first time you get to work out with your new quarterback," he said. "We’ve got a couple thousand more reps to go, but I’m really looking forward to that chemistry and growing with that entire offense."
The expectations will be elevated for Thomas, who is coming off two great seasons with the Broncos. However, Thomas isn't out to prove he can have the same production without Peyton Manning throwing him passes.
"I think I’ve got to be a little bit cautious on trying to prove so much," he said. "I think I’ve just got to go out there and work my hardest, and do everything I can to win every route, and see what happens. I don’t want to set a goal of 'I gotta have these numbers.' I’m just going to work my hardest every day, do everything I can to become a better player, and do everything I can to help out my team and this offense."
Thomas is also confident he will be able to coexist on offense with veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis, who has been with the team since 2006.
"I don’t think we’ll have any problem playing together," he said. "I was actually talking to him this weekend. I ran into him; we both live in L.A. He’s a really good guy. I’ve met him a couple times before. We both have the same marketing company, so we know the same people, and people that I respect speak very highly of him. I think we complement each other very well. There are going to be things that he can teach me, and I can learn from him."
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