Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence nursing sprained AC joint, status vs. Panthers unclear

Trevor Lawrence sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, and now his availability for practice and the Jacksonville Jaguars' upcoming game is in question.

Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said the quarterback has shown improvement since the loss Sunday, but more testing needs to be done before he will commit to playing Lawrence against the Carolina Panthers.

"Obviously, he's a little bit sore but doing better today than he did yesterday," Pederson said Tuesday via ESPN. "We'll see where he is at again tomorrow."

On Tuesday, Jacksonville announced it had signed Matt Barkley to its active roster off the New York Giants' practice squad.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) paces in the bench area after he was injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is dealing with an AC sprain in his right shoulder, leaving his availability vs. the Carolina Panthers in question. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

If Lawrence is unable to go in either circumstance, backup C.J. Beathard will take the reps and start in his place. Lawrence was injured in the third quarter Sunday, when he extended himself to dive for a first down on fourth-and-1.

He slammed on his right shoulder as linebacker Yaya Diaby pushed him out of bounds. Lawrence careened into the Buccaneers' bench but remained in the game and eventually ended the drive with a touchdown throw to Calvin Ridley Jr.

"When I landed, I knew something was off," Lawrence said. "And the next play, it kind of hurts to throw. I wanted to finish the drive out, and we were able to get some points, and then on the 2-point [conversion attempt] could tell by the way I threw it, I couldn't really get my shoulder up good enough to really keep playing.

"I would've loved to have stayed in, but just kind of hurting everybody at that point if I do, so they made the call to just take a seat the rest of the night."

Lawrence exited the game after throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble in Jacksonville's 30-12 loss to its in-state rival. Beathard took over and finished the game with 94 yards and a touchdown on 11-of-15 passing.

Even though the loss extended the Jaguars' losing streak to four games, Jacksonville still holds the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs. Four other teams have similar records at 8-7, so the Jaguars' room for error is minuscule these final two weeks.