FLOWERY BRANCH – While quarterback Matt Ryan and center Todd McClure appear ready to go, the Falcons have some injury issues on defense for the NFC South opener with Tampa Bay at 4:15 p.m. Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
Cornerback Kelvin Hayden, who started at nickel back last week against the Eagles, is out with a hamstring injury and starting strongside linebacker Stephen Nicholas (calf injury) was limited in practice on Friday and is questionable for the game. Also, defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (knee) will not play against the Buccaneers.
Cornerback Christopher Owens will take over for Hayden, while veteran Mike Peterson is ready to play if Nicholas can’t answer the bell.
Ryan and McClure, who were limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a knee injuries, fully participated in practice on Friday and are listed as probable on the injury report.
Wide receiver Roddy White (thigh), safety Shann Schillinger (neck), defensive tackle Corey Peters (back) and defensive ends John Abraham (thigh) and Ray Edwards (foot) all fully participated in practice and are listed as probable for the game.
BUCS INJURY REPORT: Tampa Bay offensive tackle James Lee (knee) and wide receiver Sammie Stroughter (foot) did not practice and will not play.
Linebacker Quincy Black (ankle) did not practice and was listed as doubtful.
Defensive end Tim Crowder (calf) and tight end Kellen Winslow fully participated in practice and are questionable for the game.
Per league rules, each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday prior to a Sunday game during the regular season, teams are required to report the level of participation in practice of any injured player. Each Friday (or 48 hours prior to kickoff for those games not on Sunday), teams must report injured players’ practice participation status and designate the probability that each of those players will play in that week’s game.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog