By Matthew Asher
The biggest downside of having a shortened week before a Thursday game of course is the lack of time players have to recover from the previous game played less than 100 hours beforehand. Because of the limited time in between games, it should be no surprise that Atlanta’s injury report is somewhat bloated.
While all eyes will be on the Georgia Dome this week, a non-Thanksgiving Thursday game isn’t something many players look forward to. Tight end Tony Gonzalez, who is not listed on the injury report, shared his feelings about playing on Thursdays:
“It’s extremely hard. It’s not healthy. I’m not a big advocate for it,” Gonzalez said. “I understand why they do it. It’s for the money. It’s not the best thing for football players. There’s a reason they do them a week apart. That’s why they’ve been doing it that way for a long time, so guys can recover. That’s the way it goes. We’re not the only team doing it…Teams do it across the League every week so we’ve got to be ready for it and we’ll be ready.”
In addition to the shortened week, neither the Falcons nor the Saints released the game time decisions for the players. Only the practice stats, focusing on player participation, have been shared with the rest of the league so far, so this injury report will be a little different from previous weeks.
The Falcons have eleven players listed on the injury report. Only three players did not practice on either Monday or Tuesday. Defensive tackle Peria Jerry (quadricep) and cornerbacks Asante Samuel (shoulder) and Dunta Robinson (illness) did not participate Tuesday. Robinson was not listed on the injury report Monday but Jerry and Samuel were on the list for both days.
The remaining eight Falcons were all limited in practice both Monday and Tuesday. Four players are from the offense and four from the defense.
On the offensive side of the ball, tackle Sam Baker (groin), tight end Michael Palmer (back) and wide receivers Kevin Cone (groin) and Harry Douglas (ankle) are listed.
On the defensive side, defensive tackle Vance Walker (ribs), safety Charles Mitchell (calf) and linebackers Stephen Nicholas (knee) and Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) were listed.
Just like the Falcons, the Saints have a double-digit number of players listed on the injury report. Of the 10 Saints listed, just one of them was listed as fully participating in practice this week. Cornerback Elbert Mack (concussion) is that player, which is somewhat odd given the NFL’s attempt at preventing additional concussions.
Seven of the other nine Saints did not practice at least once this week with five of them missing both Monday and Tuesday. Those five are safety Isa Abdul-Quddus (concussion), defensive end Junior Galette (ankle), wide receiver Courtney Roby (shoulder/ankle) and offensive tackles Charles Brown (knee) and Bryce Harris (ankle) are those players.
Defensive tackle Tom Johnson (back) was not on the injury report Monday but did not participate in practice Tuesday. Tight end David Thomas (knee) didn’t participate in practice on Monday but was limited on Tuesday.
The final two Saints were limited in practice both Monday and Tuesday: offensive tackle Zach Strief (groing) and cornerback Corey White (knee).
As if defeating their division rival wouldn’t be enough incentive for the Falcons, Atlanta would also claim the division title with a win over the only team to beat them this season. Per usual, Smitty says that fact doesn’t matter to him, only what goes on in the game does matter. “It’s not something I think about or worry about,” Smitty said. “We’re at a point in the season, we have five games left. We just need to focus on taking care of business week-to-week. We’ll look up at the end of the year and hopefully we’ll like where we’re at.”
- 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
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Matthew Asher is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta sports related. His work can be found on Examiner.com.