Falcons' Jones 'good to go' despite nagging ankle injury
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) Falcons star receiver Julio Jones said Thursday he is ''good to go'' for Sunday's game at Oakland as he tries to move past a nagging ankle injury.
Jones tweaked his left ankle injury in Sunday's 31-24 loss to Tampa Bay. He missed Atlanta's final preseason game after turning the ankle.
The health of Jones, a 2015 All-Pro, is crucial to the offense under any circumstance. Jones' status is especially crucial because No. 2 receiver Mohamed Sanu also was limited by an ankle injury for the second straight day.
Jones said tweaking the injury did not make him worry the ankle could become a long-term problem.
''It's nothing I think about,'' he said. ''You can't play slow. If I feel like I couldn't go, I wouldn't go if it's something that's going to hinder me throughout the season. I'll be OK.''
Coach Dan Quinn said he hopes both receivers receive full clearance on Friday after receiving ''half their normal reps'' on Thursday.
Sanu deferred to Quinn when asked about his status.
''Whatever he says, that's what I would go with,'' Sanu said.
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said he has to prepare for the possibility he won't have his top receivers against the Raiders.
''You never know how it's going to be on game day,'' Shanahan said following the practice. ''They're still banged up. They're fighting through it. I try not to worry about that stuff. I always assume they're going to be there but you definitely prepare for the worst-case scenario if that happens.''
Jones earned respect as one of the NFL's top receivers in 2015, when he led the league with 1,871 yards receiving, the second-highest total in NFL history. Jones and Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown shared the NFL lead with 136 catches.
That top-level production does not go unnoticed by defenses. As expected, Jones received extra attention from Tampa Bay's defense last week, when he had four catches for 66 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown.
Sanu, signed from the Bengals to be Atlanta's new No. 2 wide receiver, had five catches for 80 yards against Tampa Bay. He had a 59-yard catch and a 5-yard scoring catch in the first quarter.
Jones hopes defenses take note of the strong start from Sanu.
''They were doubling me last week early on,'' Jones said. ''Sanu made a few plays for us and started making them try to play us honest. Then they came back and started doubling me a little bit.''
Justin Hardy, who had one catch for no gain, was the only other receiver with a catch. Running backs Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman combined for nine receptions.
The Raiders gave up a league-high 419 yards passing with four touchdowns in their 35-34 opening win over New Orleans.
''They're gonna fix things just like we're gonna fix things,'' Jones said. ''We just have to be ready for everything. ... They struggled a little bit last week but that was the first game.''
NOTES: DE Brooks Reed (shoulder) and S Keanu Neal (right knee) worked on the side with trainers. Neal, the first-round pick who had arthroscopic surgery on the knee last month, could make his debut next week.
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