Rather than issuing my weekly Blogging Dirty Atlanta Falcons Injury Report on Thursday like we normally do, I’m going to do so today. That has more to do with the players listed on the injury report than anything else.
The number of players is similar to how many were mentioned in last week’s injury report. There’s a whole heck of a lot of players listed, and the majority of them saw limited practice time, but also saw that same amount of time last week, so they aren’t major concerns. Guys like John Abraham, Jonathan Babineaux, Tony Gonzalez, and Stephen Nicholas all saw limited practice participation, but I don’t think there is any doubt they will be ready to take on the Arizona Cardinals when Sunday rolls around.
The greater concern is not the number of players who were held completely out of practice today, but the high profile of those players.
Kevin Cone and Charles Mitchell were held out of practice. But to my knowledge, neither have received any playing time since the end of the pre-season.
The two major names on this injury report are linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and wide receiver Julio Jones. It’s very concerning because they are players of huge value to this Falcons team.
Weatherspoon has been recovering from an ankle injury for the past two weeks. I’m not sure that he’s going to play this week at Arizona, simply because I was completely sure he was going to be ready to go for last week’s game against the Saints. There really isn’t a good reason to rush him back if he’s not completely ready, to play against a greatly struggling Cardinals offense. There’s just no reason.
The other, perhaps just as concerning injury is the one to Julio Jones. If you remember, Julio suffered an ankle injury early in the game against New Orleans. Having him out of the lineup changed the complexion of the Falcons offense, and not for the better. After an on-camera argument with the athletic training staff, Jones found his way back onto the field, and was able to catch a 52-yard jump ball pass way down the field. He looked completely healthy the rest of the game, and the injury he suffered faded in the minds of Falcons fans.
Apparently, Jones must have been playing through pain the entire time. He didn’t show it, and his play certainly didn’t show it, but Jones must be facing residual pain from that injury if he was held out of practice. Maybe it was the call of the athletic training staff to hold him out; whatever it is, he didn’t practice.
It will be interesting to see how both Weatherspoon and Jones progress this week in practice. I would love for both to get back onto the field on Sunday, but wouldn’t count on it. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Julio on the field, and Weatherspoon out against the Cardinals. We will keep an eye on things, and continue to report the day-to-day injury reports.