The Atlanta Falcons have ruled out running back Devonta Freeman, tight end Austin Hooper and linebacker Kemal Ishmael for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers. Additionally, cornerback Desmond Trufant will return, marking the first time since Week 5 that he’s been on the field.
Ishmael is a bit of a surprise, but Hooper and Freeman are expected to miss multiple weeks.
Dan Quinn rules out Devonta Freeman, Austin Hooper and Kemal Ishmael for Sunday's game against Carolina.— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) November 15, 2019
After suffering a foot sprain against the New Orleans Saints, running back Devonta Freeman will be absent Sunday when the Falcons take on the Panthers. This news isn’t shocking, considering NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Freeman is expected to miss about two weeks with the injury. In his place, Brian Hill is expected to get most of the usage in the backfield. While replacing Freeman against the Saints, Hill recorded 20 carries for 61 yards and a receiving touchdown.
Arguably the biggest loss to the Falcons is the absence of tight end Austin Hooper. Hooper has been playing at an elite level this season, statically ranking towards the top in every category for tight ends. He is currently dealing with an MCL sprain which Rapoport said Wednesday that Hooper is expected to be sidelined about four weeks. Head coach Dan Quinn later disputed the report, telling the media on Wednesday that the report was “not from our building,” but Hooper certainly seems like a candidate to miss multiple weeks either way.
Kemal Ishmael has been in the concussion protocol and didn’t practice this week. With Ishmael out, we may see Sharrod Neasman get his first real action at safety, or it might be Jamal Carter time again.
On a bright note however, cornerback Desmond Trufant is expected to return this week. Trufant hasn’t played since week 5 and has been dealing with a toe injury. It’ll be interesting to see how the Falcons roll out their cornerback group in Week 11.