By Chris Vivlamore
FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons left tackle Sam Baker returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday. Baker, who started the first six games this season, missed the past three games with a back injury. The team’s original diagnosis called for Baker to be out three to four weeks.
“We are going to bring him along and hopefully he’ll have more reps [Thursday] than he did [Wednesday],” coach Mike Smith said. “It’s a very good thing to get Sam back in. We are a little bit ahead of schedule.”
Baker starting working with trainers last week.
Wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) and safety William Moore (quadriceps) did not practice with injuries. Moore missed last week’s game against the Saints. Jones injured his right hamstring against the Saints and did not play in the second half. Both worked with trainers Wednesday.
Jones had back-to-back 100-yard receiving games against the Buccaneers (115) and the Seahawks (127) in October. He injured his left hamstring the next week against the Packers and was limited to one catch. He missed the next two games before he returned and had another 100-yard day against the Colts (131). However, he was injured again last week against after making just two catches.
“He is a very resilient guy,” Smith said of Jones. “He has not shown any signs of not being mentally strong and being able to deal with it.
“We have to make sure we make the right decision for putting a player back out on the field for a short-term goal and hurt us for a long-term goal.”
Wide receiver Harry Douglas (thigh), defensive end Ray Edwards (knee), cornerback Brent Grimes (knee), running back Antone Smith (knee) and running back Jason Snelling (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis.
Veterans John Abraham, Tony Gonzalez and Todd McClure did not practice as part of an on-going maintenance program.