Mora Says Jones will play This Year
Two knee surgeries in less than a year is reason to fear the worst when it comes to starting left tackle

Walter Jones.

Add on top of that back spasms that kept Jones sidelined for most of the first two weeks of training camp and it's easy to think that the end of the line for the perennial All-Pro could be approaching very quickly.

However, head coach Jim Mora is not ready to make that leap just yet.

"That's all rumors and speculation," Mora said on Wednesday. "That's just some guy that decides that he wants to throw it out there and see if it sticks."

Mora refuted claims made by Jason La Canfora of NFL.com that asserted that Jones' injuries will cause him to miss the upcoming season.

Jones had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Aug. 20 to remove "loose bodies" and scar tissue. The operation was performed on the same knee that doctors performed micro-fracture surgery on in December. The team said they would reassess Jones' progress in a couple of weeks.

"A couple of the coaches this morning commented on how upbeat Walter seems," Mora said. "People can say what they want, and speculate whatever they want, but I feel confident that he'll be ready to go here shortly."

Mora was asked if there were any rumblings of a possible retirement from the nine time Pro-Bowler. He answered that he expects Jones will return.

"I don't sense anything other than that from him," he said. "I haven't heard a whisper of that (retirement) from anyone in the organization that's close to him - not a whisper."

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QUICK HITS: LB David Hawthorne returned to practice after sitting out the past two days with a knee sprain. He is expected to play against the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday. ... Sitting out practice were T Walter Jones (knee), G Cory Withrow (unspecified), C Chris Spencer (quad), CB Marcus Trufant (back/PUP) and CB Travis Fisher (hamstring). Head coach Jim Mora said that Jones, Spencer, Trufant and Fisher all are out for Saturday's game against the Chiefs. ... RB Edgerrin James did not take part in team activities today. James' practice reps have been limited as he learns the new playbook, and whether he plays against the Chiefs will be a game time decision.