It's not the way any player wants to enter the regular season, but Fred Jackson is already preparing himself to deal with the nagging pain that his sprained left thumb and wrist might give him for the whole season.
Jackson practiced on Monday with his teammates for the first time since aggravating the wrist and thumb when he collided with Donte Whitner in practice last Wednesday.
"We just wanted to go out and see what we could do with it," said Jackson. "But it's going to be sore and there's not really much you can do about it. You can try and tape it certain ways and kind of ease the pain a little bit, but it's something I'm just going to have to play with."
Being a running back Jackson needs full use of his thumb and wrist to handle the ball whether he's catching passes or taking hand-offs.
"You can't hold onto a football without your thumb so you need that to be at 100 percent whenever you try to carry a ball, even when you're trying to make catches being out there in the passing game like I'm supposed to be," said Jackson.
Despite dealing with this nagging injury Jackson wants to play in Thursday's preseason finale rather than sit and wait for the opener. He wants to make sure he's not in any way limited by the injury with any facet of his game. He also wants to get accustomed to opponents trying to rip the ball away from him knowing his hand may not be 100 percent.
"With the tape job that they have on there, (I'm) just trying to get used to that and getting comfortable with it," said Jackson. "Defenses are going to try to strip the ball so you have to be able to hold onto the ball no matter what the tape job is. So one of the things I'm trying to get used to is the way they have my hand taped and then trying to hold onto the ball."
Feeling the responsibility of being the team's number one back entering the season as he steps in for a suspended Marshawn Lynch, it's clear Jackson is taking his expanded role seriously and would like to leave nothing to chance.
"I still need to get out there and get my timing down like everybody else," he said. "I need to make sure I know what I'm doing so I want to get out there as much as possible."
For Jackson the pain and soreness coming from his thumb and wrist might be there all season, but it's nothing the running back isn't mentally prepared to overcome. He's got more important things that he's focused on come the regular season.
"I have to go out and make plays when I'm called upon and I have to approach the season like that," Jackson said. "I don't want to let this deter me from doing anything that I have plans to do."