Falcons' Julio Jones runs well, downplays injury as minor
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) Atlanta Falcons star receiver Julio Jones insists the apparent foot injury that limited him from full participation in training camp again on Saturday is no big deal.
Jones took part in individual work but was held out of team drills for the second straight day. He was pulled out of the first practice on Thursday. Talking to reporters for the first time in training camp, Jones said the injury is ''definitely nothing to worry about.''
''Precautionary reasons,'' Jones said, adding ''but I'm good to go, 100 percent. Just taking it slow.''
Jones had his left shoe off and was seen rolling his foot over a ball on the sideline during team drills. He has had two surgeries on his right foot.
Jones and coach Dan Quinn have not revealed details of the injury. Quinn said a key Saturday was seeing Jones ''explode and push off it and make him feel comfortable doing that.''
''He looked great doing that, so we anticipate him getting back (for full practice) in the next three or four days,'' Quinn said.
''I'm not going to rush it, but I think it will be sooner than later,'' Quinn said. ''I'm not going to say it has to be by tomorrow or has to be by Tuesday, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't by tomorrow or Tuesday.''
The Falcons are off on Monday.
Jones, coming off his first All-Pro season, said he often deals with minor injuries.
''I'm just so explosive. I always get something that's tight or something,'' he said. ''It's good. I just keep getting treatment and stretching it out. ... But I'm good. It's nothing serious or anything like that that's going to prevent me from playing.''
Jones said he tried to convince Quinn he was ready for full clearance on Friday and Saturday.
''He'll be like: `Yeah, it's good. I know you can. You know, I don't doubt you at all. But we're just going to be on the safe side,''' Jones said, quoting Quinn.
The receiver said he understands the coach's caution.
''We're not trying to prove nothing to anyone right now,'' Jones said. ''It's a long training camp. And we've got the season coming up that we've got to get ready for.''
Perhaps only quarterback Matt Ryan is as important as Jones to the Falcons' hopes this season. Even a small injury to Jones at the start of camp is a big concern, especially after veteran receivers Roddy White and Devin Hester were released. The team signed Mohamed Sanu, but after Eric Weems, there isn't much experience elsewhere on the depth chart at the position.
Having Jones watch team drills has meant more snaps for such young receivers as Justin Hardy, who could start in three-receiver sets, Aldrick Robinson, Nick Williams and rookie Devin Fuller. The team signed former Duquesne receiver Chris King, who joined practice on Saturday.
NOTES: Saturday was the first day in pads, and it was no surprise some players didn't abide by Quinn's edict to avoid tackling to the ground. Quinn said he would offer more reminders on the topic of ''pushing it right to that limit where you've got to go full-speed but you've got to be under control, too.''
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