FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Falcons have been dealing with injuries to their defense all season long, but they are getting close to potentially getting a major piece back.
Pro Bowl linebacker Deion Jones, who was placed on injured reserve after the Falcons' loss to the Eagles in Week 1, could return as early as the Cowboys game on Nov. 18, per the NFL's requirement that a player sit out for a minimum of eight games after going on IR.
As of now, it appears Jones is on track in his recovery.
"The part of the process is on target, in terms of what the doctor's guidelines are," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said on Monday. "It's a little trickier in terms of the guidance, because there's a window you can use. You don't necessarily have to use all of it. As we're getting close to there, I'll give you an update. But at this point, he's onto an excellent trajectory of where we expected him to be at this point."
That window Quinn referenced is the 21-day practice window a player has as he's returning from injury. A player can begin practicing six weeks after going on IR, but once he begins practice a team has 21 days to activate him on its active roster.
When asked if the Falcons would look at beginning that 21-day window prior to the eight-game mark with Jones, Quinn said the teams is focused more on the game portion of the NFL's policy and not the practice portion.
"It's a 21-day window, but you don't have to use all 21," Quinn said. "You can start that 21-day at any point. The restriction is eight games, but you do not have to start your 21-day window. So you wouldn't want to start it with him not being able to go.
"You really just focus on the eight games, because the practice portion isn't as critical to the guidelines."