By Cedric Williams

Wednesday was a travel day for the Falcons, so neither head coach Dan Quinn nor general manager Thomas Dimitroff were available for comment. But with just four days to get ready for the Saints since the last time they played, the Falcons will clearly be shorthanded when they get to the Superdome on Thursday night. Linebacker Justin Durant (elbow) and center Mike Person (ankle), two key starters for the Atlanta Falcons, have been ruled out for Thursday’s NFC South divisional showdown against the New Orleans Saints.

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One other player who hasn’t practiced all week, but will give it a go on Thursday, is receiver Julio Jones (hamstring). Atlanta’s leading receiver, and quite possibly the most dynamic player in the league when he’s healthy, has been battling different toe, ankle and hamstring injuries for the last three weeks. Still, he hasn’t missed a game yet this season. It’s been very clear since leaving the locker room following Atlanta’s 25-19 overtime win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday that he planned to play in the rivalry game against New Orleans on Thursday.

“Well, you’re never 100 percent in this game,” Jones said following a practice earlier this week, where he was only an observer. “You just got to be able to give what you got and go out there and play. If I can go, I’m a go. I (would) have to be down pretty bad not to be able to play. If I felt like I was putting myself in danger, like not being able to make a defender miss, then I won’t go. But if I feel like I can do that and go out there and draw coverage and do my job, then I’m a go.”

Fellow receiver Leonard Hankerson (ribs) and running back Devonta Freeman (toe) were both limited in practice on Monday and Tuesday, but both have been ruled probable for Thursday’s game. For New Orleans, guard Jahri Evans (knee) told New Orleans-area media that he will play Thursday, while tackle Terron Armstead (knee) seemed less like to play, even though both returned to practice in a limited capacity on Tuesday.

As of press time, the Saints had not released their official injury report, but it is believed that Evans will start and Armstead will be a game-time decision. Also for the Saints, guard Tim Lelito and receiver Marques Colston are questionable for Thursday’s game, after neither practiced with the club on Tuesday. Both players are nursing shoulder injuries. If Lelito can’t play, reserve lineman Senio Kelemete could slide over to play left guard, after starting the past three games for New Orleans at right guard. Another option for the Saints, would be to leave Kelemete at right guard and play veteran Mike McGlynn at left guard.

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ATLANTA FALCONS Injury Report
Probable:
WR Julio Jones (hamstring)
WR Leonard Hankerson (ribs)
RB Devonta Freeman (toe).

Out:
C Mike Person (ankle)
LB Justin Durant (foot).

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS Injury Report
Questionable:
WR Marques Colston (shoulder)
OL Tim Lelito (shoulder)
P Thomas Morstead (quadricep)
DB Damian Swann (concussion)
DE Bobby Richardson (hip)
S Jairus Byrd (knee)
OL Jahri Evans (knee)
OL Terron Armstead (knee)
DB Keenan Lewis (hip)
DT John Jenkins (elbow).

 

 

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Cedric Williams, a lifelong St. Louisan and proud UMSL alum, has been a full-time reporter/photographer covering St. Louis area sports for nearly two decades. Most recently, he has been working as a credentialed beat writer covering the NFL, as well as college and high school sports for the St. Louis American, Patch.com, and other outlets from around the area. Please share any comments, questions, or feedback with Cedric at cedricwilliams510@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.