Akeem Dent is dealing with an ongoing ankle issue that has appeared to plague him since early in the season. He first appeared on Atlanta's injury report with an ankle injury back in week five of the 2013 season. He was held out of practice that entire week, and remained limited in practice until early in week nine. By that time, however, Paul Worrilow's play had made an impact on Atlanta's coaching staff, which resulted in Dent losing his starting job and receiving limited playing time.
Dent's ankle issue resurfaced on the Falcons' injury report in week 13 of the 2013 season, but by then Dent had been reduced to very limited, if any, snaps in each game. In week 11, Worrilow was on the field at middle linebacker for 100% of the defensive plays, while Dent spent just one play on the field in that game.
It's reasonable to think that Dent's demotion was a result of both Worrilow's impressive play and Dent being hindered by a lingering ankle injury. Worrilow certainly did enough during the season to justify the expectation that he will again win the starting middle linebacker spot on Atlanta's roster, but a healthy Dent could earn back some playing time in rotation. Dent is entering his fourth season in the league, and is under contract this year with Atlanta for $725,000. His total cap hit is $860,725 for next season. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2015.
Here's wishing Akeem Dent a swift and full recovery.