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The Falcons got back three key injured players in OTAs this week

It’s good news for an Atlanta team that needs good health to be truly elite.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re looking for a little kindling for your raging optimism fire, you could do worse than learning that several injured Falcons are either on or ahead of schedule in their returns from injury.

Desmond Trufant, Derrick Shelby, and Kemal Ishmael all made it onto the practice field in one form or another today, while Julio Jones is running and will soon be fully operational. Only Adrian Clayborn, Taylor Gabriel, and D.J. Tialavea are sidelined alongside Julio, and none of those guys have #11’s mutant healing factor.

Trufant is one of the league’s best cornerbacks, and a truly vital piece of this Falcons defense. Shelby figures to be one of the core defensive ends working on the roster. Ishmael is a useful, versatile backup linebacker who should find plenty of playing time. All three of them are quality players, and having all three back is a major boost to a defense that figures to take a major step forward in 2017. This is, in other words, awfully good news.

We’re edging closer to a fully healthy roster, and while that can’t last forever, it certainly would be something to celebrate. If the Falcons want to repeat as NFC champions—and golly, do they!—then they’ll need every one of these players to contribute.