One of the biggest issues that every single NFL team faces before the preseason and regular season begins is keeping their teams healthy before plunging into another gruelling 2013 campaign.
For the Atlanta Falcons, it has been an unfortunate day, as they will be adding linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and wide receiver Julio Jones on the absent list in their first preseason game this coming Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Falcons lost right tackle Mike Johnson during practice, as he injured his left leg and was escorted out of the facility by an ambulance. The extent of his injury is unknown, but will not be present this Thursday.
Now, the Falcons lost their second-leading tackler in Weatherspoon, who is also their signal caller on defense, as he suffered an open dislocated finger on his left hand and will be out indefinitely according to coach Mike Smith.
“Yesterday in practice, Sean Weatherspoon injured his left hand,” Smith said. “It was an open dislocation. We are going to keep him out and the time frame is going to be based on how quick the wound heals. It’s a matter of the wound healing.”
Weatherspoon is not only a key part to the Falcons defense this year, but he is their best linebacker since the days of Keith Brooking and a leader on the field.
The Falcons star receiver Jones will also be unavailable in their game against the Bengals, as he is suffering tightness in his hamstrings.
“Julio Jones has had tightness in his hamstrings and we will keep him out of the game on Thursday,” Smith said. “It is a precautionary move.”
While both injuries are minor and should be healthy at the beginning of the regular season, both are key players that will be crucial to the success of the Falcons in 2013.
The Falcons coaching staff will do everything they can to make sure their players are healthy and ready to go, especially with Weatherspoon and Jones.
As injuries start to stack up around the league, the Falcons aren’t taking any chances and will keep a close eye on their young stars.