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Falcons’ Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones Expected to Play

Inside Injuries January 5, 2018 7:34PM EDT

Wide Receivers

Julio Jones WR, Falcons: ankle and ribs injuries

Julio Jones missed practice on Tuesday with rib and ankle injuries, but he returned to a limited session on Wednesday. Jones confirmed he would be “ready to go” for Saturday’s Wild Card game, and the fact that he was removed from the final injury report on Thursday seems to confirm that. Jones is accustomed to playing through injuries, so this week is nothing new.

Taylor Gabriel WR, Falcons: hamstring injury

Devonta Freeman missed time with a knee injury this week, but is expected to play Sunday. AP Photo/Danny Karnik

Taylor Gabriel popped up on the injury report on Tuesday with a hamstring injury. He was limited in practice on Thursday but was then removed from the final injury report. There was never much concern about him missing the Wild Card Round. He has been a pretty inconsistent Fantasy option this season, but he’s made some big plays when the Falcons needed him. Hamstring strains are especially tough for wide receivers, especially explosive players like Gabriel, so look for him to struggle.

Kelvin Benjamin WR, Bills: torn meniscus

Once again, Kelvin Benjamin is likely to play when he shouldn’t. He has been healing from a torn meniscus since Week 11 and been playing on the injury for weeks. The Bills have been trying to limit his reps during the week in hopes that he’ll be okay by Sunday. This week is no different. He is a High Injury Risk, and it won’t take much to aggravate his knee injury.

Devin Funchess WR, Panthers: shoulder injury

Devin Funchess has been limited in practice for weeks, and this week was no different. His shoulder injury has become a lingering problem, but he is always out there on Sunday. He missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but was back out there on Friday. He’s officially listed as questionable, but the Panthers expect him to be out there on Sunday. Since going down with his shoulder injury over a month ago, he has struggled on the field. There is been a noticeable dip in his productivity. Until he takes more time off to rest, his shoulder won’t get healthy.

Marqise Lee WR, Jaguars: ankle sprain

Marqise Lee sprained his ankle in Week 15 and did not return to practice until this week. He is considered questionable for the Wild Card Round after getting in only one limited session on Friday. Lee is going to be a game-time decision.

Michael Thomas WR, Saints: hamstring injury

Michael Thomas has been limited by a hamstring injury in recent weeks and was once again limited in practice on Wednesday. Fortunately for Saints fans, Thomas was upgraded to a full participant on Thursday and is fully expected to play on Sunday against the Panthers. Hamstring injuries are easily aggravated, and he likely won’t shake it until he takes the time to rest.

Running Backs

Devonta Freeman RB, Falcons: knee injury

Devonta Freeman missed practice on Tuesday with a knee injury but was upgraded to a limited participant on Thursday. Then on Friday, Freeman was removed from the injury report altogether. Freeman dealt with a knee injury earlier in the season, so this could be an aggravation of a previous issue. Either way, he’s expected to be out there on Saturday.

LeSean McCoy RB, Bills: ankle sprain

LeSean McCoy sprained his ankle in Week 17 and is considered highly questionable for the Wild Card Round. He didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday but was upgraded to limited on Friday. The Bills seem to think that McCoy is going to be able to play through his sprained ankle, but he is a High Injury Risk. If McCoy is on the field, he’ll be a decoy at best. Our algorithm shows a four-week Optimal Recovery Time for his grade 2 ankle sprain, so he is far from being healthy again.

Jonathan Stewart RB, Panthers: back injury

Jonathan Stewart’s back tightened up on him just before Carolina’s regular season finale in Atlanta, forcing him to sit. It was never thought to be more than some stiffness. Stewart was limited in practice on Wednesday but was upgraded to a full participant on Thursday. He was taken off the final injury report on Friday and will play against the Saints on Sunday. Back injuries, even minor ones, are quick to return, so keep an eye on him throughout the game. If he is in and out more than usual, it could be a sign that it is acting up.

Tight Ends

Charles Clay TE, Bills: knee injury

Charles Clay was limited in practice this week with a knee injury that has lingered towards the end of the season. His Wild Card Weekend availability doesn’t seem to be in question, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. With McCoy either out or playing on one leg, the Bills will need all the offensive help they can get.

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