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Falcons and Cardinals May Both Be Without Key Players

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By Matthew Asher

The Week 10 loss to the Saints may have taken more of a toll on the Falcons than originally thought with twelve players on the injury report and seven of those players listed as questionable or worse.

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 9: Kevin Cone #12 of the Atlanta Falcons runs with the ball against the Baltimore Ravens at the Georgia Dome on August 9, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Two players are listed as out for Sunday’s game: wide receiver Kevin Cone (groin) and safety Charles Mitchell (calf). Neither man participated at all in this week’s practices.

Five Falcons are listed as questionable for the game: defensive end John Abraham (back), defensive tackle Vance Walker (ribs), linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (ankle), wide receiver Julio Jones (ankle) and running back Michael Turner (groin). Walker, Turner and Abraham were limited in practice throughout the week.

Out of the players listed as questionable, the biggest concerns are with Julio and Spoon. Neither man was able to participate in practice at all this week. While Spoon was out last week with an injury, there may be real concern over Julio, who missed more than twenty plays he would normally be in against New Orleans. “Anytime you have your 1-A or 1-B receiver out for that many snaps it’s going to change the dynamics of your play calling and what you’re going to try and do formationally,” Smitty said on Monday about Julio’s injuries.

What about Spoon’s availability against Arizona? Smitty wouldn’t say for certain, but it is looking more and more like he will at least suit up for the game. “Sean has worked extremely hard,” Smitty said. “He’s done a nice job in his rehab. He’s been a great patient. Both he and WR Kevin Cone have been great patients with our training staff.”

The final five Falcons are listed as probable: defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (thigh), wide receiver Harry Douglas (ankle), tight end Tony Gonzalez (shoulder) and linebackers Stephen Nicholas (groin) and Mike Peterson (foot).

Peterson was the only Falcon listed on the injury report who was able to fully participate in practice the entire week. The other four players were all limited on Wednesday. Babineaux, Douglas and Gonzalez were able to fully participate both on Thursday and Friday. Nicholas was the only one limited on Thursday but was able to fully participate on Friday.

This week is one of the rare weeks that Atlanta’s opponent has fewer players on the injury report than Atlanta. Nine Cardinals are listed with only one as a definite out: quarterback Kevin Kolb (ribs) who did not participate in practice.

Four Cardinals are listed as questionable: tight end Todd Heap (knee), defensive end Calais Campbell (calf) and cornerbacks Jamell Fleming (back) and Gregory Toler (hamstring). All four players were limited in practice participation.

The final four Cardinals are listed as probable: long snapper Mike Leach (back), Kerry Rhodes (back), guard Adam Snyder (quadricep) and tight end Jeff King (knee). All four men were able to fully participate in practice.

For reference:

  • Probable: a 75% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
  • Questionable: a 50% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
  • Doubtful: a 25% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
  • Out: there is no chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game

For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Falcons news, see CBS Sports Atlanta.

Matthew Asher is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta sports related. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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