Julio Jones Expected to Play Saturday
After returning to practice this week for the first time since re-aggravating a toe sprain, Julio Jones has been declared ready to go for Week 16 by Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. Quinn said, “I thought he looked great. The last two days, he’s been building to where he can go and do his thing. The thing we wanted to check was can he cut and do the things he likes to do at full speed.”
Jones has battled turf toe for much of the season but played through the injury. When the Falcons faced off against the Chiefs, he was seen on the sideline testing out his foot and then missed the next two games. The Falcons had no trouble on offense without him, but they were facing two of the league's worst defenses in the 49ers and the Rams.
At practice on Wednesday, Jones was listed as limited but participated in some drills at full speed and with his helmet on. This was an important step in testing out his toe. It would be great to see a full practice before Jones takes the field on Saturday but the fact that he's practiced the last three days in a row signifies that he is ready to play.
Turf toe makes it very difficult for a receiver to explode and cut without pain. It's also an injury that can range from mild to severe, but by playing through it can easily make it worse. With an eye on the playoffs, it made sense for the Falcons to bring him back slowly and cautiously. If Jones gets in a full practice with no setbacks or pain, there is no reason he can’t play Saturday night. It will be worth keeping an eye on how quickly he can get off of the line and his ability to change direction when running routes. The Inside Injuries algorithm has him in the elevated injury risky category and as a risky start, but that could improve with a full practice.
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