By Matthew Asher
Injuries are part of every sports team, but it’s always interesting to see the particular injuries for a specific game. WIth Drew Brees at the helm of the New Orleans offense, this is the worst week for Falcons secondary players to be injured. Yet Atlanta may be without not one, but two of their top nickelbacks. If Atlanta wondered how deep its secondary is, Sunday’s game against the Saints will be a good barometer of just how good or bad the Falcons pass defense can be.
Robert McClain (hip) and Christopher Owens (heel) were both placed on the injury report for the first time this week on Friday. Both McClain and Owens did participate in practice Friday, but they were limited in that practice.
These secondary players are two of the four Falcons listed as questionable for the game. Defensive tackles Peria Jerry (knee) and Jonathan Babineaux (hamstring) are the other two questionable players. Both men were limited in practice throughout the entire week.
Five Falcons are listed as probable. Wide receiver Harry Douglas (ankle), defensive end John Abraham (Elbow), left tackle Sam Baker (ankle), cornerback Asante Samuel (hip) and running back Jason Snelling (illness) have all been on the injury report all week. Fortunately for the Falcons all five players were able to fully participate in practice on Friday.
Sneeling was the only probable Falcon who did no practice on Wednesday. He was able to fully participate both Thursday and Friday. Abraham was fully involved in practice everyday. Baker, Douglas and Samuel were limited in practice on Wednesday and had varrying participation on Thursday before fully participating on Friday.
The final three Falcons on the injury report are declared out for the game against New Orleans. Safety Charles Mitchell (calf), linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) and wide receiver Kevin Cone (groin) did not participate in any practices this week.
While the Falcons have twelve men on the injury report, the Saints only have five players listed. However four of the five New Orleans players are listed as out for the game. They are defensive end Junior Gallette (ankle), tackle Zach Streif (groin), running back Darren Sproles (hand) and wide receiver Courtney Roby (shoulder). None of these men participated in any practices this week.
There is an oddity with the Saints online injury report. The report also lists linebacker David Hawthorne (hamstring) on the report, but doesn’t have his game time status mentioned at all. Hawthorne did fully participate in practice Wednesday, but isn’t listed on Thursday and Friday at all.
For those wondering why that’s an oddity, the Baltimore Ravens were fined $20,000 last week for not listing safety Ed Reed on their report when he ended up not playing against the Browns. According to the NFL rulebook, a team needs to list their players with significant injuries, even if they end up fully participating in practice the whole week. The rule is “especially true of key players and those players whose injuries have been covered extensively by the media,” according to the rules.
- 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.