FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Injuries have continued to mount for the Falcons.
Wide receiver Julio Jones, the team’s most consistent deep threat who has been emerging as one of the better receivers in the NFL, has a right foot injury that may end his season, coach Mike Smith said Tuesday.
Jones will be evaluated Wednesday by noted foot specialist Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C.
“Julio injured his foot last night (against the New York Jets),” Smith said. “He saw our doctors this morning. He is going to have a second opinion tomorrow over in Charlotte. The first reports were not encouraging, but we will wait to see what the second opinion comes back as.” Although the original diagnosis was bleak, Smith stopped short of ruling Jones out for the season.
“When we have something more definitive, you guys will be the first to know,” Smith said.
Losing Jones would be a devastating blow to the Falcons, who are off to a 1-4 start after reaching the NFC Championship game last season. The team was predicted by many to be a Super Bowl contender this season.
But injuries, a developing offensive line and penalties have kept them from fulfilling that promise this season.
Jones could become the eighth player added to the team’s injured reserve list. Also, the Falcons have used their “designated to return” tag on linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.
In addition to Jones (foot) and Weatherspoon (sprained foot), defensive end/linebacker Kroy Biermann (Achilles), fullback Bradie Ewing (shoulder), offensive tackle Mike Johnson (ankle), cornerback Saeed Lee (knee), tight end Adam Nissley (knee), quarterback Sean Renfree (upper body) and tight end Andrew Szczerba (undisclosed) are on injured reserve.
Also out with injuries are running back Steven Jackson (hamstring), linebacker Akeem Dent (sprained right foot) and left tackle Sam Baker (knee).
Jones, even while being double- and sometimes triple-teamed, has accounted for 35.3 percent of the team’s receiving yards and 26.9 percent of its catches.
The injury reportedly is on the same foot that Jones ran on with a stress fracture at the NFL combine in 2011. He later had surgery that was performed by Anderson.
The Falcons already were reeling at wide receiver. Pro Bowler Roddy White has struggled while trying to play on a high right ankle sprain. He has only 14 catches for 129 yards this season after posting six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
Harry Douglas has played more over the first five games. He has 16 catches for 219 yards and no touchdowns.
The Falcons could call on backup wide receivers Kevin Cone, who had a 12-yard catch against the Jets, and Drew Davis. Also, Darius Johnson and James Rodgers, the older brother of running back Jacquizz Rodgers, are on the practice squad.
“He’s going to be a hard guy to replace if we have to replace him,” Smith said.