The Atlanta Falcons announced their official injury report yesterday, listing among running back Steven Jackson among several players as questionable for Sunday’s season finale against the Carolina Panthers. Jackson suffered a quadriceps injury against the New Orleans Saints last week and did not practice at all this week.
ESPN’s Vaughn McClure reports that sources indicate that Jackson is likely to be inactive when Sunday’s game rolls around, although Falcons head coach Mike Smith has said nothing to confirm that. But McClure also reported earlier this week that newly signed running back Jerome Smith was expected to be active for Sunday’s game, indicating that he’d likely replace Jackson’s spot on the 46-man gameday roster.
Wide receiver Julio Jones (hip), guard Jon Asamoah (back), cornerback Robert McClain (illness) and cornerback Josh Wilson (hamstring) were also all listed as questionable. Jones returned to practice on Friday for the first time since suffering his hip injury at the end of the Falcons’ Week 14 game against the Green Bay Packers. Jones missed the following week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but was able to play despite missing a week’s worth of practice last week against the Saints.
Asamoah missed last week’s game with his injury, being replaced by Gabe Carimi in the starting lineup. Asamoah was able to participate on a limited basis for all three days of practice this past week, indicating that he should be expected to return to the lineup against Carolina.
McClain missed Friday’s practice with an illness. He has been starting at right cornerback for the Falcons since an injury sidelined starter Robert Alford over a month ago. Wilson has been filling in as the nickel cornerback as well, having suffered his hamstring injury a week ago. Like Jones, Wilson was unavailable to practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but returned on a limited basis on Friday. Should either cornerback be unable to play on Sunday, the Falcons will likely have to turn to Javier Arenas and/or Ricardo Allen to play opposite Desmond Trufant. Arenas has seen increased action the past two weeks due to in-game injuries. Allen is a rookie that was recently elevated from the practice squad. Should he play Sunday, it will be his first action of the season.
Also listed on the team’s injury report was kicker Matt Bryant (illness), wide receiver Harry Douglas (foot), and wide receiver Roddy White (ankle) as probable. Bryant missed Wednesday’s practice with his illness, but was a full participant on both Thursday and Friday. Douglas was limited the first two days of practice, but was able to fully go on Friday. White missed Wednesday’s action, but was limited on Thursday and followed that up with fully participating on Friday.
As for the Panthers, their only injuries are to running back DeAngelo Williams (hand) and linebacker A.J. Klein (knee). Williams is probable for Sunday’s game and has not played since Week 13. Klein is questionable after being limited in practice all week.