Falcons tight end Justin Peelle had surgery Tuesday for a sports hernia and will miss four-to-six weeks, head coach Mike Smith announced after practice Wednesday afternoon. In his place, Smith is looking for undrafted rookie tight end Michael Palmer to step up and fill the role as Tony Gonzalez's backup. Even before Peelle's injury, Palmer had seen his playing time on offense increase during the past few weeks
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Falcons head coach Mike Smith announced Wednesday that backup tight end Justin Peelle would be out four-to-six weeks after having sports hernia surgery Tuesday.
Peelle was limited in practice last week and got to the point where the surgery had to be done after Sunday's game against the Eagles, Smith said.
Undrafted rookie tight end Michael Palmer, out of Clemson, will take over as Peelle's replacement behind starting tight end Tony Gonzalez while Peelle is recovering. Palmer's playing time has grown as of late, with the young tight end catching his first pass two weeks ago against the Cleveland Browns. Palmer also caught a pass against Philadelphia and has two catches for 12 yards on the season.
Smith also announced that Sean Weatherspoon and Dunta Robinson did not practice Wednesday, as expected. Smith said during his Monday news conference that Weatherspoon has already been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Bengals to give him more time to recover from a knee injury suffered in Cleveland.
Robinson, who has received much attention for his hit on Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson, is under the NFL's concussion protocol and will need to be cleared by an independent doctor before returning to the field. Cornerback Christopher Owens is taking over Robinson's spot in his absence.
Smith also said running back and special teams player Devonta Freeman is out with a shoulder injury suffered against Philadelphia. Antone Smith is day-to-day and Mike Smith is unsure whether or not he will play against the Bengals.