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Don't expect Steven Jackson to make a miraculous recovery over the next few days.
The Atlanta Falcons running back, who missed Sunday's 27-23 loss to the Dolphins while nursing a hamstring injury, is still expected to be sidelined another two to three weeks, according to a league source. That means Jackson is set to miss Sunday night's showdown with the Patriots.
Jackson sustained the setback -- originally called a thigh injury -- in the first quarter of a Week 2 win over his former team, the Rams. He exited that game immediately after scoring an 8-yard touchdown off a pass from Matt Ryan.
Jackson said last week he was getting better but would not discuss his status in detail. The Falcons (1-2) might miss him against the Patriots (3-0). Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling held their own while combining for 139 rushing yards against the Dolphins, but a healthy Jackson could have helped solve some of the Falcons' red zone woes with his rugged, downhill style.
The Falcons converted just two of five red zone opportunities in Miami. Wide receiver Harry Douglas was asked whether he thought Jackson could have made a difference in terms of the red zone, specifically in a goal-line situation.
"I can't say where we could have used this person or that person. Steve didn't play," Douglas said. "And Jacquizz and Snell did play, and did very well for us when they were in there. ... Those two were out there playing, and Steve is getting better from his injury. He wasn't out there."
Jackson took full ownership for a costly dropped touchdown on third-and-goal during the final seconds of the Falcons' 23-17 season-opening loss to the Saints, so not all has gone well for him in the red zone category.
As it stands now, Jackson is expected to miss the Patriots this week and likely the "Monday Night Football" matchup with the Jets (Oct. 7, ESPN). The Falcons then have a bye week, allowing Jackson more time to rest before an important NFC South game against the Buccaneers (Oct. 20).
Immediately after Jackson suffered the hamstring injury, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder that the 30-year-old veteran would miss three weeks. Jackson also missed a 2008 game against the Patriots while nursing a thigh injury.