Monday, December 31, 2012
Falcons: No worries on injuries
ESPN.com news services
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Cornerback Dunta Robinson is in the NFL's mandated concussion protocol, and defensive end John Abraham is nursing a sore left ankle.
Another concern for the Atlanta Falcons is that strong safety William Moore has been sidelined by a strained hamstring since late last month.
Even so, Falcons coach Mike Smith expects his team to be nearly at full strength for the playoffs.
Smith says early reports on Abraham and Robinson, both injured in the season finale against Tampa Bay, are positive.
And Smith believes Moore could be ready to return and practice this week.
"I can tell you this," Smith said Monday, "with both of the players that left the game yesterday, I fully anticipate they will be ready to go on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 1 p.m."
Having two weeks to practice will allow the Falcons to spend Wednesday through Sunday working on fundamentals and timing. When they return to the field next week, the coaching staff will install a game plan for either No. 4 seed Washington, No. 5 seed Seattle or sixth-seeded Minnesota.
The staff will spend Wednesday and Thursday setting game-plan contingencies on Seattle and Minnesota. Because the coaches are already familiar Washington following Atlanta's Week 5 road win, they will wait until Friday to work on the Redskins.
Injury-wise, if Smith's prediction comes true, the Falcons will have dodged a major problem by getting Abraham, Robinson and Moore back in time for the playoffs.
Since losing former Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes for the season in Week 1, Atlanta made it through the regular season without a long-term injury to a starter. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon missed three games and cornerback Asante Samuel played just one series in Weeks 14-15, but both returned without missing a proverbial beat.
"It's good to have a week off to get our guys back healthy," tight end Tony Gonzalez said. "Believe it or not, it's an advantage. It's good for us to be at home. We are extremely tough to beat at home. I know the dome will be rocking in our first playoff game. We just have to make sure we match and exceed our opponent's intensity that we've had all season that has got us to this point to be a No. 1 seed."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.