FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who’s been out with a right knee sprain since Oct. 10, returned to practice on Thursday.
“It felt pretty good just to get out there with the guys instead of just watching,” said Weatherspoon, who was limited in practice. “It just made me feel a whole lot comfortable about myself. I was out there running around, cutting and making different movements. It felt pretty good.”
Weatherspoon, whom the Falcons selected in the first round of the 2010 draft with the 19th pick, opened the season as
the starter at strongside linebacker. In the third game of the season against New Orleans he suffered an ankle injury and missed one game.
He returned for the Cleveland game and took a helmet shot to his knee late in the game. Stephen Nicholas has started the last four games at strongside linebacker.
“Stephen’s played well in his role. . . in both our base and our sub package,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “And that’s a good problem to have, to have guys you can feel confident in that they can come in and play. We’re excited to get Sean back with the way he started the season with us.”
The Falcons staff will evaluate Weatherspoon’s range or motion and lateral movement over the next few days to see if he’s ready to return to the lineup.
“I was still a little rusty,” Weatherspoon said. “I’ve got to get back into the swing of things. I just look forward to getting back into the film room today and getting back in the film room tomorrow to get ready for practice.”
Weatherspoon had to rehab over the bye week and stayed behind last weekend to continue his rehab when the rest of the team had the weekend off after playing last Thursday.
“It was real tough because I just want to help,” Weatherspoon said. “I want to make plays and have fun out there. Sitting on the sidelines is not fun when you wish you could be out there.”