FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner both returned to
practice on Thursday.
Both have missed the last two games. Ryan suffered a turf toe injury and Turner re-injured his right ankle sprain on Nov. 29 against Tampa Bay.
Both are hopeful that they will be able to play against the New York Jets on Sunday.
“Nobody likes to have to sit down, but it’s something that you’re going to have to deal with at different points in your career,” Ryan said.
Turner originally was injured against Carolina on Nov. 15. He tried to play two weeks later against Tampa Bay and was re-injured.
“You just want to try to get back out there and be productive,” Turner said. “It’s very important to see where I’m at, to see if the soreness will go away and things like that. I need to see if I can really handle, playing and cutting.
“It’s still not quite 100 percent, but if it feels like that, there would be no question that I will be playing.”
The Falcons were elated to see their top two offensive weapons back on the field.
“He was out there firing the ball everywhere,” wide receiver Roddy White said of Ryan. “He was out there controlling the huddle and telling guys to listen up. That was good.”
SEVERAL GAMES LOST TO INJURY: Just wondering if we jinxed the Falcons when we wrote about the team’s functional movement screens and how it helped to keep them healthy.
Well, this season they are amongst the league leaders in players placed on the injury reserve list and likely in games loss by starters, too.
Pro Football Weekly did its ranking on the NFL’s most injured teams. In the “Infirmary Report” the Falcons were tied for 17th with the most players on the injured-reserve list with six.
The report came out before Brian Finneran was placed on injured-reserve on Tuesday. I think they missed
linebacker Tony Gilbert (hamstring) because the Falcons have eight players on injured reserve.
Here’s the group: wide receiver Harry Douglas (knee), defensive tackle Peria Jerry (knee), cornerback Brian Williams (knee), safety William Moore (hamstring), safety Jamaal Fudge (knee) and long snapper Mike Schneck (broken ribs).
Buffalo (15), Detroit (12), New Orleans (12), Baltimore (11) and Tampa Bay (11) are the top five teams. Only New Orleans has a winning record in the group.
Another way to count the impact of injuries is to count the games missed by starters. Here’s the rundown of 32 games missed by starters:
Left tackle Sam Baker (two games).
Right guard Harvey Dahl (two games).
Wide receiver Michael Jenkins (one game).
Quarterback Matt Ryan (two games).
Running back Michael Turner (three games).
Fullback Ovie Mughell (two games).
Defensive tackle Thomas Johnson (two games).
Cornerback Brian Williams (eight).
Defensive tackle Peria Jerry (10)
Not playing has been tough on Turner, who periodically will drop by the open locker room sessions to give us an update. We haven’t heard from Ryan since his injury on Nov. 29 so we don’t know how he’s coping with his turf toe.
It’s “Day 18 in the Where’s Matt Media Watch.”
It’s clearly killing Turner that he can help out while the Falcons have gone 1-3 since he hurt the ankle against Charlotte on Nov. 15.
“It’s very difficult,” Turner said. “You want to be out there trying to help your teammates win. Helping them pull of a win. Football is a game where injuries happen. You just have to deal with it.”
Turner said he doesn’t regret trying to come back too soon against Tampa Bay on Nov. 29 either.
Also, key reserves like Jerious Norwood (six games) and Finneran (three) have also missed games.
Last season, Baker, who suffered a concussion and a back injury, was the only starter to miss any games. He missed 11 starts, but played in eight games, making five starts.
The Falcons don’t want to make excuses for their 6-7 record, but you can’t ignore an injury list this long.
E-MAIL BAG: Exchanged a few e-mails with Tom over biased officiated. He didn’t like the call on Grimes either.
“Thanks for responding.
I did get some satisfaction from hearing Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin calling the interference flag bogus, then seeing the ESPN panel put it on their “C’mon Man” list last night.
The NFL has always justified not publicly admitting officiating errors by saying that it would hurt public confidence in the game. I’ve always felt that it is actually just the opposite. It gives the appearance of the league covering up its dirt.
Anyway, keep up the good work.
FALCONS WIVES SPREADING CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: Some of the Falcons wives participated in the Third Annual Dream Drive program.
The wives from Off the Field Players Wives Association worked with Sam’s Club to select a wide range of holiday gifts, including clothes, food, personal items and toys, in an effort to brighten the holiday season for some Salvation Army families. (This season I haven’t been walking past the bell ringers at Wal-Mart. Feeling pretty good about throwing a little cash in the red bucket!)
The Atlanta Dream Drive event was held last Thursday at the Sam’s Club on Clairmont Road in North Atlanta. At the event, wives of seven Atlanta Falcons players shopped for 10 local families, totaling $10,000 in food and gifts.