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Bye Week Helped Several Key Falcons Get Ready For Divisional Round Game

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By Matthew Asher

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 02: Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders perform against the Carolina Panthers at Georgia Dome on January 2, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Credit, Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

With the first round of injury reports for the NFC Divisional Playoff round finally due, the list of players for both the Falcons and Seahawks are surprisingly small.

For Atlanta, it shouldn’t be so much of a shock since the Falcons did get last week off, many players who still might be licking their wounds had time off to heal. But the Seahawks, who just a few days ago won a very physical game against Washington, actually have fewer players on the injury report than Atlanta does.

The Falcons have just five players listed. Two of them were unable to participate in Wednesday’s practice: safety Charles Mitchell (calf) and cornerback Chris Owens (hamstring).

Owens was last injured against the Detroit Lions. While he didn’t participate in any sort of practices last week, this isn’t a cause of concern for the Falcons. Coach Mike Smith addressed Owens’ status (in his own unique way) this past Monday. “Chris has been working on the side,” Smitty said. “He’s been working on the side and we’ll have to wait and see where he is. Probably of the guys he’s not as far long as the other guys that we’ve been talking about.”

Two of the other three Falcons were limited in practice on Wednesday: cornerback Dunta Robinson (head) and defensive end John Abraham (ankle). Both of these players were injured in the Week 17 loss to Tampa Bay.

Robinson was injured when he tried to knock down Doug Martin rather than arm tackle him. He had to come out of the game because he was exhibiting concussion-like symptoms. The good news is he didn’t appear to actually suffer a concussion. “It was very good to get Dunta back,” Smitty said, confirming that last Friday Dunta was cleared from the league-mandated concussion protocol and is expected to play this Sunday. “It was a great turnaround from Sunday to Friday.”

Abraham was injured as he was chasing down a would-be sack victim Josh Freeman. He appeared to roll his ankle on the play and had to be carted off to the locker room. Fortunately, the week off has done him well.

The final Falcon on the report was able to fully participate in practice Wednesday: safety William Moore. After being out for the last handful of games, it appears as though Moore has finally gotten through all of his injuries.

For the Seahawks, just three players are listed but all of them did not participate in Wednesday’s practice: strong safety Jeron Johnson (hamstring), cornerback Byron Maxwell (hamstring) and running back Marshawn Lynch (foot). Those wondering why defensive end Chris Clemons isn’t on the report it’s because he was placed on the injured reserve list.

Clemons isn’t the only Seahawk to be added to the IR list. Kicker Steven Hauschka was also added with Clemons. According to the Seahawks website, defensive end Patrick Chukwurah and kicker Ryan Longwell have been signed to the team to replace Clemons and Hauschka.

Note: Since Wednesday was the first day both teams were required to list their players on the injury report, no status updates have been made for either team. To check on both injury reports throughout the week, click here for the Seahawks and here for the Falcons.

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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