Checking the injuries that matter most

Let’s take a look at the most significant injuries around the NFC South.

There is potentially good news for the Atlanta Falcons' offensive line. Center Todd McClure, who missed the first two games with a knee injury, returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday. If McClure is ready to go Sunday, he’ll step right back into the lineup ahead of Joe Hawley. The Falcons also placed quarterback Matt Ryan on the injured list and said he had a knee injury. But Ryan was able to practice on a limited basis. Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (knee) did not practice and is expected to be out several more weeks. Cornerback Kelvin Hayden, who moved ahead of Chris Owens at nickel back last week, sat out practice with a hamstring injury.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Quincy Black sat out practice with an ankle injury. If Black isn’t ready to play against the Falcons on Sunday, Dekoda Watson is expected to start in his place on the strong side.

The New Orleans Saints practiced without several defensive starters. Linebackers Jonathan Vilma (knee) and Jonathan Casillas (foot), cornerback Tracy Porter (calf) and safety Roman Harper (ankle) did not practice. Coach Sean Payton said he hopes Vilma and Casillas can practice Thursday, but did not elaborate on the status of Porter and Harper.

Carolina Panthers safety Charles Godfrey (head) was the only member of the Panthers not to practice. If Godfrey isn’t able to play Sunday, the Panthers likely would turn to Jordan Pugh. Rookie quarterback Cam Newton was listed on the injury report with an ankle injury, but he participated fully in practice. Right tackle Jeff Otah (concussion) returned to practice after missing Sunday’s game. Otah was not listed on the injury report.