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Austin Hooper, De’Vondre Campbell closer to returning?

Hooper and Campbell aren’t likely to be back until the playoffs, even so.

San Francisco 49ers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons are getting healthier heading into the final week of the season, which is fairly rare and bodes well for their chances in the postseason. Only one of them is likely to make it back on the field this weekend.

That would be De’Vondre Campbell. There’s no indication Campbell’s concussion is going to be any more of a lingering, short-term issue than any concussion is, though any concussion is bad news over the long haul, and we’ll hope this is the last major one of the rookie’s career, however optimistic that hope may be. Getting the dynamic (if inconsistent) young linebacker back will help a great deal against New Orleans, a team that has the second-best offense in the NFL.

Then there’s Austin Hooper. The rookie tight end thankfully appears to have dodged a serious injury, but is being eased back onto the field and shouldn’t be counted on until the playoffs. The Falcons got it done a week ago with the likes of Josh Perkins, Levine Toilolo, and DJ Tialavea, and they can certainly do so one more time against a defense that is demonstrably worse than Carolina’s. Having Hooper’s pass catching ability back on the field against a steady defense like New York’s, Green Bay’s, or even Seattle’s in the postseason could make a major difference, though, so the Falcons would be wise to rest him for one more week.

We’ll know more today and tomorrow as Quinn and company update the media on injury statuses, but it would probably be wise for the Falcons to take it slow with both to ensure they’re set for the postseason. If they can get Campbell back and feel confident about doing so, however, I’d welcome him back.