FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons’ defense could receive a boost with the return
of defensive starters Jonathan Babineaux and Stephen Nicholas for their NFC showdown with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night at the Georgia Dome.
Babineaux, Nicholas and running back Jason Snelling returned to practice Wednesday.
Babineaux, a defensive tackle, suffered a partially torn MCL in his left knee in the season opener against Chicago on Sept. 11. His presence has been missed. The defense has not recorded a sack in the three games that he has been out.
Nicholas, a linebacker, suffered a calf injury in practice Sept. 23 and has missed the past two games. He has seven tackles and one forced fumble.
“Big day in terms of both of those guys because I think they are ahead of schedule,” coach Mike Smith said. “We didn’t think they would be back this early. … I want to caution that it’s their first day back and we’ll have to see how they respond to the wear and tear of a complete practice. We are really happy that they’ve gotten back quicker then we have anticipated.”
Snelling missed the Seattle game with a concussion. Safety William Moore (neck) and cornerback Christopher Owens (ankle) joined Snelling as limited participants. Smith said he expected all three to be upgraded Thursday.
Center Todd McClure (knee), wide receiver Roddy White (thigh), tight end Michael Palmer (left ankle) and Cliff Matthews (knee) did not practice Wednesday.
GREEN BAY’S WEDNESDAY INJURY REPORT:
Bryan Bulaga, T Knee Did Not Participate
Chad Clifton, T Knee Limited Participation
Nick Collins, S Neck Out
Donald Driver, WR Shin Did Not Participate
Ryan Grant, RB Kidney Full Participation
Brad Jones, LB Hamstring Limited Participation
Jamari Lattimore, LB Shoulder Limited Participation
Pat Lee, CB Back Limited Participation
Clay Matthews, LB Quadricep Did Not Participate
Mike Neal, DE Knee Out
Andrew Quarless, TE Knee Did Not Participate
Ryan Taylor, TE Shoulder Limited Participation
Tramon Williams, CB Shoulder Limited Participation
Charles Woodson, CB Foot / Knee Did Not Participate
Frank Zombo, LB Shoulder Limited Participation
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog