By Shawn Lealos
With two weeks between the NFC and AFC Championship games and the Super Bowl, it gives the two teams playing for the NFL Championship time to rest their stars and hope to head into the Super Bowl healthy. When it comes to the Atlanta Falcons, they are as healthy as they can possibly be, with three of their stars injured but not in danger of missing the big game. Here is a look at the Atlanta Falcons injury report heading into Super Bowl 51.
Julio Jones Says He Is Ready To Go
The two biggest playmakers on offense are Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. For the entire season, Jones has been hobbled with various foot injuries and his most recent injury was to his toe. Jones is listed on the Falcons’ Super Bowl injury report with the toe injury and he has been limited in practice this week. However, Julio Jones said that his toe is not an issue for him anymore.
“We’re going to ramp up practice,” Jones told NLF.com. “We’re not going to make (practice time) up. Just basically going back to normal practice for me. That’s it, though. I’m not limited anymore.”
The good news is that, despite his injuries, Jones was a playmaker throughout the season. He caught only 83 balls this year but turned that into 1,409 yards and scored six touchdowns. Playing in the playoffs injured, Jones added 15 more receptions in two games for 247 yards and three more touchdowns.
Alex Mack Will Play Through Pain
The other major injury is to center Alex Mack. When Mack left the Cleveland Browns to join the Atlanta Falcons, he turned an inconsistent offensive line into one of the best in the NFL. They protected MVP quarterback Matt Ryan and allowed him to set career best records; they opened holes for Devonta Freeman to run for over 1,000 yards. Mack suffered a left fibula injury and has been limited at practice all week. However, head coach Dan Quinn says that Mack will play through the pain in Super Bowl 51.
“I felt good after watching Alex last night, because I felt good about what he was able to do on the things we’re going to ask him to do in the game,” ESPN reported that Quinn said.
The only other major injury is to defensive end Dwight Freeney, who will also play with a calf injury.
New England Patriots List Seven Players As Questionable
Much like the Atlanta Falcons, the New England Patriots have no injured players listed as out on their final injury report. Of course, players like Rob Gronkowski are on injured reserve and won’t play, but there are no new players on the Pats’ injury list. The biggest name on the list is tight end Martellus Bennett, the man who stepped in for Gronkowski. He has reportedly been playing with a cracked bone in his ankle, but still had six receptions in the Patriots’ two playoff games. Malcolm Mitchell (knee) and Chris Hogan (thigh) are both questionable as well.
Atlanta Falcons Injury Report
- (DE) Dwight Freeney (Calf) — Limited Participation in Practice
- (WR) Julio Jones (Toe) — Limited Participation in Practice
- (C) Alex Mack (Fibula) — Limited Participation in Practice