JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The air seemed to be sucked out of the Jaguars' new indoor facility when wide receiver Marqise Lee went down toward the end of practice Sunday.
Lee was participating in 7-on-7 on drills, when he ran a route across the middle and went down to the ground while being covered by linebacker Telvin Smith.
The fourth-year receiver grabbed the area around his right ankle. The team's medical staff helped assist Lee while he laid on the ground. Several teammates, including fellow wide receivers Shane Wynn and Allen Hurns, kneeled at Lee's side.
Hurns sat in the front seat of a cart that drove Lee off the field. The final few minutes of practice were completed on the opposite end of the field from where Lee was injured.
"It's very tough," rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook said after practice. "He is like a brother to me, we're really good friends, and not only that, but he's a complete baller. In the receiving room, he's one of the guys that the young guys look up to as far as myself and everybody else in the room. We're going to go in there, we're going pray for me and we're going to hope it's not something serious."
Lee is popular in the locker room. Several of his teammates were disappointed to see him go down.
"I just heard about that," defensive end Yannick Ngakoue said. "That's bad because that's one of my close friends too and that's a guy we really need on this team. We really need him to earn wins. It's just unfortunate, it's part of the game and you just need to wish him a speedy recovery."
Lee has dealt with a hamstring injuries throughout his career, but played all in 16 games for the first time last season. Lee's health held up to the point where he took on kickoff returned duties for the majority of the season.
Lee produced career-high numbers in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns last season. His 63 receptions for 851 receiving yards and three touchdowns offered optimism going into his contract year.
"He's great, high energy," Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said. "Always being around, loves football, loves being in here, always bouncing around, always has a smile on his face, a lot of energy. I think that's what he brings."
Marrone said he didn't see how the injury occurred. Marrone said he is waiting to hear from the medical staff about the severity of the injury.
In the final season of his rookie deal, an major injury could be devastating to Lee's chances of cashing in on a big new contract. The 2014 second-round pick was running with the first-team offense in training camp and the preseason.
With Lee potentially out for an undetermined amount of time, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns could be asked to pick up the slack. Robinson and Hurns will be joined in those efforts by Westbrook, Rashad Greene, Keelan Cole, Arrelious Benn and others.
Lee has missed nine games during this three-year career during leg injuries. He missed three as a rookie and six in 2015.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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