By Matthew Asher
The big news for the Falcons in the final week of the preseason was the health of four of their starters: placekicker Matt Bryant (back), wide receiver Roddy White (ankle) defensive back Asante Samuel (thigh) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (thigh). The good news for Falcons fans is that since all four men were practicing Wednesday, there’s a strong possibility all four will be in the starting lineup this Sunday.
After practice on Wednesday, Smitty was “[v]ery pleased to get them back out on the field and working.”. Bryant was the only Falcon of the four listed who was able to fully participate on Wednesday with the other three being limited, but still able to practice. Smitty also said he hoped that he would increase the reps of the other three players on Thursday.
White has been out of action since the preseason game against Baltimore. Wednesday was his first day back practicing. Smitty was happy with the results. “We had an opportunity to work (White) in certain areas that we wanted to take a look at,” Smitty said on Wednesday. “Again, with all of our guys that were limited today, it’s the hopes that they’ll not have any ill effects, any setbacks from their workload today and that we’ll be able to increase it (Thursday).”
On Thursday, center Joe Hawley (illness) was added to the injury report. The good news is he was able to fully participate along with Bryant. Samuel, Nicholas and White were all still limited.
Despite still be limited in practice, Roddy White is adamant that he will play on Sunday. “I don’t give out the injury report — Smitty does,” White said on Thursday. “You know, come Sunday, I’ll be ready to go. My adrenaline will be pumping. It’s football. Once you get out there, you’ve gotta just go play.”
It’s never gotten any real media attention, but in his eight year career, Roddy has missed exactly 0 of 128 games he’s suited up for in the NFL. Roddy did speak briefly about the possibility of finally missing one NFL game. “I never thought about (the streak) really,” White said. “When you have the opportunity to play, you just play. I never really thought about the streak until everybody else started talking about it.”
He may have sounded like he was being cautious about his words, but that went right out the window with Roddy’s final declaration after practice by simply stating “I’m 100 percent certain I’ll be out there on Sunday.”
- 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 news and updates, visit Falcons Central.
Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.